Where the North Begins is a 1923 American silent drama film produced and distributed by Warner Bros. This was the third film for up-and-coming canine actor Rin Tin Tin. The film survives today.
Warner Brothers decided to invest $100,000 in producing the screenplay as written by Rin Tin Tin’s owner and trainer, Lee Duncan. Director Chester M. Franklin shot the film’s exterior scenes in Canada but he stayed too long and shot too much footage, spending more than the budget. The negatives were processed in Hollywood and the Warner executives saw that the movie was wandering off script, with too much beautiful scenery and not enough plot development. Warner hired a second director, Millard Webb, to shoot the story in parallel with Franklin’s effort. Editor Lewis Milestone recalled that he noticed unworkable continuity mistakes between the two directors such as actor Walter McGrail shot in two different locations but at the same time in the script. Milestone tried to avoid editing what he saw as a doomed film, but producer Harry Rapf insisted he finish it. Milestone stipulated that writer Julien Josephson join him in the cutting room; the two men spent months watching and memorizing all the film footage, and they rewrote and assembled the film in a documentary fashion, letting the available film elements tell the story.
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