CPR - a movie star!

The Great Barrier Movie Poster

In 1937 movie stars Richard Arlen (American), Lilli Palmer (German) and Antoinette Cellier (British) starred in a filmed-in-and-around-Revelstoke production called Silent Barriers. (The original title was The Great Barrier.) It's about the building of the CPR through the Rockies. There are a lot of familiar names portrayed: William Van Horne, Sir John A. Macdonald, Major Rogers, James Hill . . . the movie plays fast and loose with the facts, but it's fun to watch. Thanks to site visitor Gordon Rebelato for getting us a copy of this film, in which his father Ernie was an extra! We had a delightful chat with the older Mr. Rebelato about his experiences working for the CPR in Revelstoke, and how he earned a quite decent salary for the time of 75 cents an hour as an extra in that film. (I was in the mob scenes, he said, laughing.) The movie was enjoyable: fast and loud and exciting, and it was fun to see the actor playing William Van Horne, the president of the CPR, putting a furious fist to the jaw of a complaining worker. That never happened in real life but, hey, it was a movie!


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