Hudson's Bay (film)

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Hudson's Bay
Hudson's Bay (film).jpg
Directed by Irving Pichel
Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck
Written by Lamar Trotti
Starring Paul Muni
Gene Tierney
Laird Cregar
Music by Alfred Newman
Cinematography George Barnes
J. Peverell Marley
Edited by Robert L. Simpson
Production
company
20th Century Fox
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • January 9, 1941 (1941-01-09)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$869,600 [1]
Box office$1,395,300 [1]

Hudson's Bay is a 1941 American historical drama film directed by Irving Pichel and starring Paul Muni, Gene Tierney, Laird Cregar and Vincent Price. Produced by 20th Century Fox, the film is about a pair of French-Canadian explorers whose findings lead to the formation of the Hudson's Bay Company.

Contents

In Canada, the film was heavily promoted by the Hudson's Bay Company through its retail stores. [2]

Plot

A trapper, Pierre Esprit Radisson, and his friend, nicknamed "Gooseberry," hope to open a trading post in the Hudson's Bay region of northeastern Canada in the year 1667.

They meet the jailed Lord Edward Crewe, a nobleman from England who has been banished from that country by King Charles II. They manage to free Edward, who funds their expedition, beginning in Montreal, designed to further free trade with the Indians and make Canada a more united land.

Barbara Hall is the sweetheart of Edward and her brother, Gerald, is thrust upon them after the explorers travel to England to seek the king's favor. Prince Rupert helps get Edward back in the king's good graces. Charles II is open to the idea of a trading post, provided he is personally brought 400,000 pelts.

Gerald creates trouble in Canada as soon as the new Fort Charles trading post is established. His actions incite violence among the Indian natives, who demand he be punished. Over the king's objections and to Barbara's horror, Radisson and his associates permit Gerald to be sentenced to death by a firing squad.

But once the gravity of her brother's misdeeds become clear to her, and with the flourishing of the Hudson's Bay trading post, Barbara forgives her love Edward while his partners Radisson and Gooseberry celebrate their success.

Cast

Reception

George MacDonald Fraser wrote in 1988, "Hudson's Bay paid the penalty for being ahead of its time; critics found it boring, and one described it as 'a cock-eyed history lesson' which, overall, it certainly is not." MacDonald goes on to say of Vincent Price in the role of the King, "Here was an actor who looked reasonably like Old Rowley, and combined the languid style with the athletic presence - one could imagine Price walking ten miles a day for the fun of it as King Charles did." [3]

Box office

The film earned a profit of $88,500. [1]

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Pierre-Esprit Radisson

Pierre-Esprit Radisson (1636/1640–1710) was a French fur trader and explorer in New France. He is often linked to his brother-in-law Médard des Groseilliers. The decision of Radisson and Groseilliers to enter the English service led to the formation of the Hudson's Bay Company. His career was particularly notable for its repeated transitions between serving Britain and France. There is no image of him other than that provided in his writings and those of the people who encountered him in New France, in Paris on the fringes of the court, on remote Hudson Bay, and in late Stuart London. Radisson has been seen by the historian Germaine Warkentin primarily as a reporter of the historical events he witnessed, and in their view was not always a reliable one because he was undoubtedly devious. Radisson should be considered in multiple contexts; for his achievement as a narrator of his own life, the range of his explorations, his experiences among the Indigenous peoples, and his social formation, both as a man of the early modern period for whom personal honour was an important value and as a working trader participating in the mercantile projects of the era. Radisson's life and writings have been interpreted from many different perspectives, such as that of French Canadians, who until the twentieth century accepted the verdict of his French contemporaries that he was a traitor to France.

Médard Chouart des Groseilliers (1618–1696) was a French explorer and fur trader in Canada. He is often paired with his brother-in-law Pierre-Esprit Radisson, who was about 20 years younger. The pair worked together in fur trading and exploration. Their decision to enter British service led to the foundation of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1670. This company established trading posts and extensive relations with the First Nations in western Canada. It was highly influential in making the region amenable to British colonization. Radisson, with Groseiliers, also mapped many of the Great Lakes and trading routes used by settlers.

1650s in Canada

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1660s in Canada

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Laird Cregar American actor (1913-1944)

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Moose Factory Place in Ontario, Canada

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Mattawa, Ontario Town in Ontario, Canada

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Radisson, Saskatchewan Town in Saskatchewan, Canada

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Sir James Hayes (1637–1694) was secretary to Prince Rupert and first Deputy-Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company.

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Mank, Gregory William (2018). Laird Cregar: A Hollywood Tragedy. McFarland.
  2. Google Books
  3. Fraser, George MacDonald (1988). The Hollywood History of the World. London: Michael Joseph Limited. pp. 115–116. ISBN   0-7181-2997-0.