Where the North Begins 1923
thearical film poster
Where the North Begins
Directed by Chester M. Franklin
Produced by Harry Rapf
Screenplay by
Story by Lee Duncan
Millard Webb
Based on
Written by Chester Franklin (adaptation)
Fred Myton (adaptation)
Raymond L. Schrock (writer)
Julien Josephson (adaptation)
Starring Claire Adams
Rin Tin Tin
Walter McGrail
Narrated by
Music by
Editing by Lewis Milestone
Production company(s) Warner Bros.
Distributor Warner Bros.
Release date(s) July 1, 1923
Running time 6 reels
Language Silent (English intertitles)
Gross revenue
Preceded by
Followed by
External links

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.[1][2][3]



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.[4]

Warner executives previewed the finished film but indicated sweeping changes before it was to be released. Milestone resisted this; he felt it worked well as it was. Milestone suggested to Rapf that the film be previewed locally with a test audience. Accordingly, the film was shown while the Warner executives waited outside; the response was very positive. Duncan and Rin Tin Tin were present at the theater's entrance greeting theatergoers as they left. The Warner executives asked Duncan if he knew the audience members and he said yes, he lived in the neighborhood. The test screening was thus considered flawed because of the likelihood of a sympathetic audience. Another screening was arranged in another location, without Duncan and the dog. This second test was a great success and the film was put in distribution exactly as Milestone and Josephson had reworked it.[4]


  1. Progressive Silent Film List: Where the North Begins at
  2. The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1921-30 by The American Film Institute, c.1971
  3. 1957 MOVIES FROM AAP Warner Bros Features & Cartoons SALES BOOK DIRECTED AT TV
  4. 4.0 4.1 Script error

External links

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