Lewis Varick Frissell
|Died||March 15, 1931 (aged 28)|
|Years active||1925 - 1931|
Lewis Varick Frissell (1903 – March 15, 1931) was an American documentary filmmaker. His last film, The Viking , set in Newfoundland, involved the largest loss of life of the film production crew in film history. This film was also "the first film to record sound and dialogue on location".
Frissell came from a well-to-do family (his grandfather was founder and president of the Fifth Avenue Bank of New York), studied at Yale, and took a keen interest in film at an early age. He was mentored by renowned documentarian Robert Flaherty. In 1921, Frissell heard a lecture by Dr Wilfred Grenfell, which inspired him to visit the Labrador mission and to explore the northern wilderness. In 1922, Frissell volunteered to work for the International Grenfell Association, driving a dog team in the winter and working on the hospital boat Strathcona in the summer.
In 1925, Frissell and fellow Yale student Jim Hillier explored the Hamilton River and shot the first film ever of the great waterfall. They also searched for and discovered the Unknown River of Indian legend and called it the Grenfell River. Frissell wrote an account of his explorations and submitted it to The Geographical Journal for publication entitled Explorations in the Grand Falls Region of Labrador, which earned him membership in the Royal Geographical Society. Frissell completed his film of the Hamilton River and titled it The Lure of Labrador. After graduation from Yale in 1926, he embarked on another film, The Great Arctic Seal Hunt, which was compiled from film he had shot aboard the SS Beothic during the seal hunt.
Frissell formed his own company, the Newfoundland-Labrador Film Company, and obtained the backing of Paramount Pictures to make a feature film, tentatively titled White Thunder. Captain Bob Bartlett played the ship's captain in this film about the Newfoundland seal hunt. This was the first Hollywood style sound film ever made in Canada. Frissell filmed most of The Viking (named for a sealing ship) in Quidi Vidi in 1930.
For realistic footage, Frissell then took his crew to the Grand Banks and Labrador to film exciting action sequences. The film debuted at the Nickel Theatre at St. John's on March 5, 1931, where Frissell decided that his movie needed more real scenes from the sea ice. Within days, Frissell and his crew had boarded the SS Viking for its annual seal hunt; it got trapped in ice near the Horse Islands.
On March 15, 1931, a cache of dynamite being stored in case it was needed to break the ship free from the ice pans exploded, destroying the stern of the ship, killing 28 men, including Frissell. The ship subsequently sank, and Frissell's body and his pet Newfoundland dog, Cabot, were never found.
White Thunder, a National Film Board documentary on Frissell's life, directed by Newfoundlander Victoria King, was released in 2002.
Baffin Island, in the Canadian territory of Nunavut, is the largest island in Canada and the fifth-largest island in the world. Its area is 507,451 km2 (195,928 sq mi) and its population was 13,148 as of the 2016 Canadian Census. It is located in the region of 70° N and 75° W.
The Norse colonization of North America began in the late 10th century CE when Norsemen explored and settled areas of the North Atlantic including the northeastern fringes of North America. Remains of Norse buildings were found at L'Anse aux Meadows near the northern tip of Newfoundland in 1960. This discovery aided the reignition of archaeological exploration for the Norse in the North Atlantic.
Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, KCMG was a medical missionary to Newfoundland.
CCGS Henry Larsen is a Canadian Coast Guard Improved Pierre Radisson-class icebreaker serving in the Newfoundland and Labrador region and based in St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. Entering service in 1988, Henry Larsen is the fourth ship and of an improved design over the rest of the ships in her class. The ship operates in the Arctic Ocean during summer months.
Robert "Bob" Abram Bartlett was a Newfoundland-born American Arctic explorer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The SS Newfoundland was a sealing ship involved in a disaster known as the "1914 Newfoundland Sealing Disaster". Between March 31 and April 2, 1914, 132 sealers were stranded on the ice floes. During their two days and nights on the ice, 77 men died; another man later died from his injuries in a hospital in St. John's.
Seal hunting, or sealing, is the personal or commercial hunting of seals. Seal hunting is currently practiced in ten countries: United States, Canada, Namibia, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Finland and Sweden. Most of the world's seal hunting takes place in Canada and Greenland.
The Grenfell Mission was a philanthropic organization that provided medical and social services to people in rural communities of northern Newfoundland and Labrador. It was founded by Sir Wilfred Grenfell in 1892 as a branch of The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen based in Britain.
SS Sagona was a passenger and freight ferry used by the Newfoundland government ferry service on its northern coastal routes between the island of Newfoundland and the coast of Labrador in Canada. Sagona was primarily a sealing vessel until 1938 bringing a total of 165,599 seals from 1912 until 1938 under captains Job Knee, Jack Randell, Lewis Little and Jacob Kean.
SS Southern Cross was a steam-powered sealing vessel that operated primarily in Norway and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Horse Islands is the name of a resettled fishing community on one of the two islands that also bears its name, situated off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. Horse Islands was the scene of a terrific accident of a Hollywood movie gone awry.
SS Viking was a wooden-hulled sealing ship made famous by its role in the 1931 film The Viking. During her use in the seal hunt in Newfoundland, the ship was twice commissioned by the film crew. During production, an explosion destroyed the ship, resulting in the loss of the director, Varick Frissell and the cinematographer, Alexander Gustavus Penrod, in addition to the lives of 26 of the ships' crew and film crew.
Quidi Vidi is a neighbourhood in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. The village is adjacent to Quidi Vidi Lake. Quidi Vidi's harbour is known as "The Gut". Located in Quidi Vidi is the Quidi Vidi Battery Provincial Historic Site. The village is home to several small businesses.
Antoinette Frissell Bacon, known as Toni Frissell, was an American photographer, known for her fashion photography, World War II photographs, and portraits of famous Americans, Europeans, children, and women from all walks of life.
Louise Huntington was an American stage and screen actress appearing on Broadway in the 1920s and on screen in the 1930s.
The Viking, also known as White Thunder and Vikings of the Ice Field, is a 1931 Newfoundland/American adventure film about sealing directed by George Melford. This was "the first film to record sound and dialogue on location". It is best known for the explosion aboard the ship SS Viking during filming, in which many members of the crew, including producer Varick Frissell, were killed. It remains the incident with the largest loss of life in film history.
Newfoundland is a large island off the east coast of the North American mainland, and the most populous part of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It has 29 percent of the province's land area. The island is separated from the Labrador Peninsula by the Strait of Belle Isle and from Cape Breton Island by the Cabot Strait. It blocks the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River, creating the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the world's largest estuary. Newfoundland's nearest neighbour is the French overseas community of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.
Dillon Wallace (1863-1939) was an American lawyer, outdoorsman, author of non-fiction, fiction and magazine articles. His first book, The Lure of the Labrador Wild (1905) was a best-seller, as were many of his later books.
White Thunder may refer to:
Isaac Robert Randell was a mariner and politician in Newfoundland. He represented Trinity in the Newfoundland House of Assembly from 1923 to 1928.