Identify this movie about a government clerk sent to observe wolves.
July 7, 2006 5:30 PM   Subscribe

Identify this movie: Low level government clerk asks to be sent on assignment to observe wolves...

I saw this movie on TV when I was still in primary school, or at least I think I did. It's a story about a low level government clerk (guy with red curly slightly balding hair, beard and gold rimmed glasses) - not sure which department but I assume it was one related to wildlife - who requests (and is approved after some persuasion on his part) to be sent on assignment to an arctic area (again I assume it was Alaska, but it might be northern Canada if the film is Canadian) to observe wolves. I'm not sure if his motives for going are just to get out of his deks job or if he has an actual interest in wolve.

He arrives basically unprepared with little decent equipment and the department that sends him even sends with him his old typewriter and a crate full of yellow paper to type up reports (which he does). Basically it's about him interacting with the wolves and overcoming his situation and going on a personal transformation/journey kind of thing.

I also recall him building a gradual relationship with the matriarchal wolf of the pack that lives near him but that's a bit hazy...

One scene I do recall very vividly is he is walking over a frozen lake and hears a rumbling noise, stops, looks around but can't identify where it's coming from. Walks again and hears the rumbling again and stops again thinking it's the ice. He looks up and sees a jet leaving contrails in the sky as it crosses overhead and realising it's the source of the rumbling is about to take a step when the ice breaks and he falls through it.

I can't recall if he actually meets anyone else during the film or if it's just him and the wolves. I'm pretty sure it was made in the first half of the 80's or very late 70's at the earliest.

I'm also pretty sure he dies in the end.

Now I had an active imagination as a young one but I'm pretty sure I didn't imagine it. Anyone got any ideas what movie it is?
posted by PenDevil to Media & Arts (18 answers total)
Best answer: Sounds like Never Cry Wolf.
posted by bingo at 5:32 PM on July 7, 2006

Also, he doesn't die. It was a true story.
posted by bingo at 5:34 PM on July 7, 2006

Farley Mowat.
posted by gallois at 5:34 PM on July 7, 2006

Response by poster: AWESOME! I've been dying for years to know what it was. Thanks bingo!
posted by PenDevil at 5:35 PM on July 7, 2006

My favorite scene is the montage of Mr. Mowat experimenting with a mouse-based diet. The book (which is excellent) that the movie is based on actually has recipes for mouse.
posted by lekvar at 5:42 PM on July 7, 2006

Based on the book by the same name, which is great -- didn't know it was made into a movie, though, so glad you posted.
posted by salvia at 5:57 PM on July 7, 2006

You guys must be under 30. In the 80s it was on HBO like a thousand times. :)
posted by bingo at 6:23 PM on July 7, 2006

It's Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat, as noted above. However, about 10 years ago, we Canadians had our own Million Little Pieces saga when much of the book/film was revealed to be fictional.
Funny that, with it being a novel and all.
posted by acoutu at 6:34 PM on July 7, 2006

The movie is very well done adapation of the book.

"with him his old typewriter and a crate full of yellow paper to type up reports (which he does)" Don't forget the grain alcohol for preservation purposes.

PS: if you like this kind of stuff Farley Mowat has several books in the man working with nature genre, all of them excellent. Lost in the Barrens is especially good.
posted by Mitheral at 6:38 PM on July 7, 2006

Interesting, acoutu. Reading the book I was reminded of Ignatious from Confederacy of Dunces, with such pompous diction.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:02 PM on July 7, 2006

Wow acoutu great link... I learned something today! I didn't know about the fictional of the story at all, I remember reading the book and watching the movie in school (not all that long ago) but I had no idea about this controversy
posted by BlzOfGlry at 7:36 PM on July 7, 2006

Interesting, I remember watching this with my father when I was quite young. Thanks for the info!
posted by sprocket87 at 7:57 PM on July 7, 2006

OMG awesome, I've been wondering about this movie myself! I almost asked this askme "what's the movie about the guy in the tundra (?) who eats a mouse, and also a spider on a cracker, I think?"

I thought it would be too vague. Yaay AskMe.
posted by SassHat at 8:57 PM on July 7, 2006

acoutu wins the thread! No idea there was a controversy.
posted by frogan at 9:46 PM on July 7, 2006

You should read Lost in the Barrens, although it is a kids' book. (The sequel is Curse of the Viking Grave.)
posted by acoutu at 10:44 PM on July 7, 2006

The sheepdog who died in the comic strip "For Better or for Worse" was named for Mowat.
posted by brujita at 12:07 AM on July 8, 2006

Hey - At the point where he falls in the lake through the ice, do you get a shot from the bottom of the lake as he sinks? I have a mental image of just that, and always wondered what it was from - is it this??
posted by DrtyBlvd at 9:24 AM on July 8, 2006

Response by poster: DrtBlvd: That kinda gels with what I remember but my recollection of the details of the movie has demonstratably been a bit off.
posted by PenDevil at 1:53 PM on July 8, 2006

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