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Never Cry Wolf

3 Ratings: 4.7
A movie directed by Carroll Ballard

   Carroll Ballard follows up his beloved THE BLACK STALLION with NEVER CRY WOLF, another inspiring adventure story that deals with the all-important concept of man versus nature. The film opens as the government dispatches Tyler (Charles Martin … see full wiki

Director: Carroll Ballard
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: January 1, 1983
MPAA Rating: PG
1 review about Never Cry Wolf

Never Cry Wolf - 1983

  • Jan 18, 2010
Pros: scenery and story

Cons: none for me

The Bottom Line:
"All by myself
Don't wanna be, all by myself anymore
All by myself
Don't wanna live, all by myself anymore"
~Eric Carmen

My second feel good movie lately was Never Cry Wolf, based on the 6 months Farley Mowat stayed in the Artic wilderness to observe wolves and determine if they were the cause of the recent decline in caribou. The movie was directed by Carroll Ballard with the screenplay by Curtis Hanson, adapted from Mowat’s book. It was nominated for 6 awards, winning them all. The rating on IMDB seems to waver around the PG range but I will mention there are a couple of shots of Mowat’s bare bum and brief genitalia sighting, including a rather extensive scene when he is chasing the caribou. It isn’t offensive, I simply wanted to advise you. It wasn’t particularly attractive either and the film really could have done without it.

The time was during the 80’s, although it has all the feel of an earlier time. Mowat, for reasons known only to God, volunteers for a 6-month stint to live in the arctic area to learn about wolves and their feeding habits. Mowat, in my opinion, arrived sorely unprepared for this expedition, as was evidenced on his first night on his own.

He was flown to the region, by a half-crazed pilot named Rosie, and dropped rather unceremoniously on a barren ice shelf. He was forced, before take-off, to drop most of his provisions so the beater of a plane could even take flight. He spent his first night huddled in one of the empty wooden crates, surrounded by worthless material he had no use for in this wilderness.

Mowat was rescued by a local, Ootek, who appears off and on throughout the movie, almost in a spiritual sense. Eventually he did set up camp and begin his odyssey with the wolves. Rosie makes an appearance again later in the movie but now is a successful pilot, catering to the rich and wannabes. He has a secure fleet of planes now, far removed from the duct tape and rubber bands of his original plane. And with success comes madness, or at least to Mowat’s eyes. One must take into consideration, though, he had been without human contact for an extended period of time so just about anyone would seem strange.

Charles Martin Smith bravely took on the role of Farley Mowat and did it with a flair I didn’t expect. Because he seems so mundane, so regular, he gives an sincerity and credibility to his character that someone with more recognition may not have been able to do. We spend almost the entire movie alone with him, so he has to be able to carry the burden and take us with him, which he does.

Brian Dennehy stepped in as the crazed pilot, Rosie, and Zachary and Martha Ittimangnaq played Ootek and his wife. Of course the star of the show was really the scenery and cinematographer Hiro Narita took advantage of every inch of Alaska, BC, and Yukon, Canada that he could.

The beginning of the film, the first half, although sometimes slow, was much better than the ending. Overall, however, I enjoyed the film and still wonder at the strange occupations people involve themselves in.  Farley Mowat is a naturalist and author, currently residing in Canada.



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