Spawn of the North

Spawn of the North is a 1938 American adventure film about rival fishermen in Alaska starring George Raft and featuring Henry Fonda, Dorothy Lamour, Akim Tamiroff and John Barrymore. The picture was directed by Henry Hathaway.[1]

Spawn of the North
Directed byHenry Hathaway
Produced byAlbert Lewin
Written byJules Furthman
Talbot Jennings
StarringGeorge Raft
Henry Fonda
Dorothy Lamour
Music byDimitri Tiomkin
CinematographyCharles Lang
Edited byEllsworth Hoagland
Paramount Pictures
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • August 26, 1938 (1938-08-26) (United States)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States


Jim Kimmerlee owns a salmon cannery. He is pleased to see old friend Tyler Dawson, who has been away hunting seal. Also glad to see Tyler is his sweetheart, hotel owner Nicky Duval.

Thieves have been stealing from fishing traps. Jim is determined to put a stop to it, engaging in a feud with Red Skain, a Russian fisherman who is suspected in the thefts.

Di Turlon comes back to town after several years of big-city life. The adjustment to the fishing community is awkward at first, but Di comes around and becomes interested romantically in Jim.

As he and others go after Red and the thieves, Jim is dismayed to learn that Tyler has become one of Red's accomplices. Planning to catch the fish poachers in the act, Jim tries to spare Tyler by having Nicky sabotage his boat, but Tyler finds another vessel and joins Red at sea. Jim exchanges gunfire with the thieves, killing two and wounding Tyler.

After being found and helped by his friend after Red has abandoned him, Tyler decides there is one more thing he must do. Close to death, he takes a boat back out, confronts Red, then blows a loud boat whistle that causes an avalanche, resulting in both men's death. Jim speaks admiringly of his friend's sacrificial act.



The film was a big box office success and was later remade as Alaska Seas (1954).[2]

The special effects and production team who worked on Spawn of the North received an Academy Honorary Award at the 11th Academy Awards for their efforts. The award was given to the special effects artist Gordon Jennings, with assistance from Jan Domela, Dev Jennings, Irmin Roberts and Art Smith; the transparencies artist Farciot Edouart, with assistance from Loyal Griggs and the sound effects artist Loren L. Ryder, with assistance from Harry D. Mills, Louis Mesenkop and Walter Oberst.[3]


  1. The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:Spawn of the North
  2. Everett Aaker, The Films of George Raft, McFarland & Company, 2013 p 79
  3. "Special Award - 11th Academy Awards". Academy Awards Database. Retrieved 9 August 2015.

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