Boxcar madness! Like all of Robert Aldrich’s films (The Dirty Dozen, The Killing of Sister George, Whatever Happened To Baby Jane), the Emperor of the North Pole comes at you with a knife.
Shot in Southern Oregon, Emperor of the North Pole features a fight to the finish between Dirty Dozen alumni Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine. Add Keith Carradine, an uncredited Jack London short story and several steam powered locomotives, and what you’ve got is Hell In The Pacific on wheels, with a much larger cast, and lots of gore.
Marvin wants to get to Portland. Borgnine wants to stop him. For some viewers, Borgnine steals the show, (one IMDB comment crows, He’s like a violent gorilla in a conductor suit!) Anyone who has seen Lee Marvin in action knows the size of that achievement.
I hereby accept without challenge the traditional classification of Emperor of the North Pole, shot in Cottage Grove, as an Oregon film.