Scenes from Hudson’s Bay Company — The Movie
Originally printed in The Beaver December 1940, Vol.20, No.3, on pages 27-34.
A historical film from Hollywood's golden age — about fur trading? That's what is depicted in the 1941 Twentieth Century Fox film Hudson's Bay.
Radisson (Paul Muni) and Gooseberry (Laird Cregar) are two French-Canadian trappers looking for someone to back a fur-trading company they envision at Hudson Bay. They meet Lord Edward Crewe (John Sutton), an Englishman who agrees to finance the operation. After a run-in with a French governor who steals their furs, the trio head to England to secure the support of King Charles II (Vincent Price). After more drama and misadventure, King Charles gives the trappers his backing, and they live happily ever after.
The black and white film, made in Idaho and on Fox's sound stages, was Hollywood starlet Gene Tierney's second film and featured one of Vincent Price's earlier roles, before he became the horror film star he is most remembered for.
The film itself unfortunately didn't achieve greatness. In his 1941 review, Bosley Crowther of the New York Times slammed the movie. He called it “as static and ponderous as a bale of furs.” Yet it is clear from these stills that there is still delight to be had in an ambitious old-time Hollywood epic that samples from the Canadian past.
You can even read a recent IMDb movie review.