Bush Pilot (film)

Bush Pilot is a 1947 Canadian-American film directed by Sterling Campbell. The film, produced by Campbell's Dominion Productions, was noted for being one of the first full-length feature films outside Quebec in which a Canadian production company held the primary role.[4][5]

Bush Pilot
Directed bySterling Campbell
Larry Cromien (aerial sequences)
Produced byLarry Cromien (producer)
Jack Ogilvie (associate producer)
Written byGordon Burwash (additional dialogue)
Scott Darling (story)
StarringSee below
Music bySamuel Hersenhoren
CinematographyEdward Hyland
Edited byJack Ogilvie
Dominion Pictures
Distributed byScreen Guild Productions[1]
Release date
June 7, 1947
Running time
60 minutes
United States

Plot summary

Red North is a bush pilot in the village of Nouvelle, part of Canada's north. His half-brother, Paul Gerard decides to relocate his bush pilot business to the same lake, competing with Red's business and romantic interests.



The film was one the first narrative feature films produced in English by a Canadian film production company. The company was Dominion Productions Limited. Director Sterling Campbell was a partner in the company along with the film's producer Larry Cromien and star, Austin Willis and Geoffrey Wood.[6] The main backer was Wood, founder of G. H. Wood & Co., a sanitation supply company that bore the motto "Sanitation for the Nation." He invested $160,000 in the film.[7]

Bush Pilot was meant to be the first of six films.[8]

The movie was one of the first features to be shot in Toronto, Ontario, with studio work done at Queensway Studios. Outdoor and flight sequences filmed in the Muskoka region of Ontario, particularly Lake Rosseau.[4]


Although J. Arthur Rank owned Queensway Studios, he did not pick up the film for distribution in his cinema chains.[9]

The movie was not a box office success and Dominion films never made another film.[6]

""I got pretty enthusiastic about all that film nonsense," Wood recalled in 1987. "But I didn't know what was going on. I knew as much about the movies as those movie people knew about sanitation."[7]


Wood deposited a nitrate negative of the film with the National Archives in 1972.[7]

Although long out of print, the film was restored by the National Archives of Canada and The Movie Network in the 1990s,[4] and was screened on the Movie Network as a special Canada Day broadcast in 1998.[4]

According to the Globe and Mail, "despite the hoary stereotypes and predictable plot, Bush Pilot was, to its credit, far ahead of its time in its unashamed use of specifically Canadian references."[7]

The Toronto Star called it "a camp curio today, an unintended hoot."[10]


  1. Bush pilot. (1948, Monthly Film Bulletin, 15, 31. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1305806274
  2. https://archive.org/stream/variety168-1947-10#page/n189/mode/1up
  3. By, C. J. (1947, Feb 09). CANADA BUILDS OWN MOVIE INDUSTRY. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/107828014
  4. "Soaring into the stratosphere of nationalist melodrama". The Globe and Mail, July 1, 1998.
  5. By, D. M. (1947, Jul 26). Soviet history since first five-year plan. The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File) Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/516026948
  6. "Sterling Campbell". Northern Stars.
  7. Harris, C. (1998, Jul 01). Soaring into the stratosphere of nationalist melodrama FLIGHT OF FANCY / hoary stereotypes aside, the 1946 film bush pilot was ahead of its time in its use of specifically canadian references. The Globe and Mail Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/384519136
  8. CHALLERT, E. (1946, Jul 18). Canadian drive on; conway plays madman. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/165657756
  9. Special to The Christian,Science Monitor. (1947, Oct 06). Quebec companies expand film field. The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File) Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/516121652
  10. Early flight of canadian film. (1998, Jun 26). Toronto Star Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/437762396
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