Alaska?


Kind of an odd thing about this movie is that a lot of people assume it's set in Alaska, even though at the very beginning it's established that both Boris (the shop keeper who narrates the story) and the tigers are from Siberia.

Could it be that during the Cold War a story set in Russia bothered people?
Kind of the same way Ricky Ricardo was turned into a Mexican after Fidel took over in Cuba?

..kind of wacky! Alaska is never even mentioned!

Maybe it's just that it's so rarely seen than memories begin to play tricks!

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On the VHS sleeve the setting is described as being Alaska.

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There's something funny about that, though. The opening scene of the movie is set at a zoo in (I think) San Francisco.

Older Boris is talking to this nice looking young woman about the Siberian Tiger they are looking at and she says "I wonder what he's thinking about" and Boris says "Mountains, forests and snow". Then she says "It's as if you know him", to which he replies "Well, we are from the same place", and she asks "Siberia?"

Plus all the place names in the films are Russian.

I'm sticking by my theory that a movie set in Russia wouldn't go over well in the 1970s, so they changed it at the last moment.

PS: It was filmed in Canada, just to further thicken the plot.

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I used to think maybe Alaska was a little excusable as a setting for "When the North Wind Blows" because after all Alaska was once a Russian colony and had heavy Russian cultural influences, but you see there is a problem:

the Tigers...

If you do a little research into Siberian Tigers it turns out they are an Asian species and where they are common at all (they are very rare everywhere these days..) is places like southern Siberia and northern China: thousands of miles away from Alaska. I've never been able to find any reference to them ever being in Alaska, no less during the late 19th/early 20th Century era the film is set in.

So, the movie could actually be set in Alaska, if you wanted it to portray Russian people living in an arctic setting, but if you want the facts straight you'd better leave out the tigers and maybe substitute Kodiak bears or wolves.

What got me thinking about this today is yesterday at the San Francisco Zoo, a 300 pound Siberian Tiger scaled an enclosure thought much too high for her to possibly climb and killed a visitor. The police shot and killed the tiger.

-sad all around.

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