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Adapted from a stage play and set in the frozen North, this early British talkie (it was released in the UK in May 1930) features Dorothy Gish as a girl who is saved from privation and death in Labrador by a gang of outlaws ruled by Charles Laughton. She is nursed back to health by a young doctor but all the men desire to possess her and draw lots. Laughton, as the leader, is more human than the others: he fakes the draw and plans to help her escape. She flees the camp in an open-boat during a blizzard while Laughton holds the desperadoes at bay until he dies and the gang is blown up by an explosion. Dorothy Gish acquits herself well in the leading role but most of the male players are sadly miscast. Laughton tries to temper his performance with humour but this destroys the virility of his role.
Several years later, with Laughton now famous as a Hollywood star, the 57-minute original movie was reduced to a cut-down version lasting 37 minutes and released in the States under the title "Wanted Men". When one of the other actors in the film heard this he vowed to save up and buy all the existing prints with the idea of making a bonfire of them!
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