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To Brave Alaska

Filmed in Alberta, Canada, by Pebble-hut Prods, in association with Paragon Entertainment, Pacific Motion Pictures Corp. and Jaffe/Braunstein Films. Executive producers, Jon Slan, Howard Braunstein, Christine Sacani; producer, Lynne Bespflug; director, Bruce Pittman; script, Carol Mendelsohn; A young bride and groom chase his dream -- mining for gold in the land of the cold -- and wind up buried to their necks (figuratively speaking, at least) in snow. "To Brave Alaska" follows real-life couple Denise Harris (Alyssa Milano) and Roger Lewis (Cameron Bancroft) to their rescue. While film has its positive aspects, curmudgeonly viewers may be left wondering how two such naive people made it out alive.

Filmed in Alberta, Canada, by Pebble-hut Prods, in association with Paragon Entertainment, Pacific Motion Pictures Corp. and Jaffe/Braunstein Films. Executive producers, Jon Slan, Howard Braunstein, Christine Sacani; producer, Lynne Bespflug; director, Bruce Pittman; script, Carol Mendelsohn; A young bride and groom chase his dream — mining for gold in the land of the cold — and wind up buried to their necks (figuratively speaking, at least) in snow. “To Brave Alaska” follows real-life couple Denise Harris (Alyssa Milano) and Roger Lewis (Cameron Bancroft) to their rescue. While film has its positive aspects, curmudgeonly viewers may be left wondering how two such naive people made it out alive.

He’s a cop; she’s a waitress. He answers an ad by businessman Wylie Bennett (Duncan Fraser), who’s looking for someone to work his gold mine, out in the wilderness.

Not too many weeks have passed when it occurs to the two that nobody is flying up to replenish their supplies — thank heaven that she’s packed plenty of hair-care products — and they head for the nearest settlement, 75 air miles (and an estimated five days) away.

He may be a former park ranger, but he’s no outdoorsman: He doesn’t realize that the radio they’re given has extremely limited range, and the two and their dog. Newman, set off into the wilderness without benefit of map or compass — and wind up wandering all over the place, stumbling into unexpected obstacles.

They soon run out of food and supplies on the road. Even though she’s a vegetarian, neither thinks to explore the edibility of the plentiful flora; and, evidently taken in by a deer’s deep brown eyes, the cop refuses to shoot game until well into the trek, when Denise insists that he do so. And then he misses.

Well into the film, audience realizes why (other than name value) Milano is top-billed: Her character develops a last-minute streak of bravery, while he goes to pieces. A search mission launched by Bill Decreeft (Winston Rekert), the pilot who flew them to Surprise Bay, eventually finds them: it turns out that Bennett hadn’t told him — or anybody else — to bring them food every month.

Picture ends with couple in one another’s arms; he upset at his sudden loss of macho, she proclaiming that she loves him anyway. Had prior action been shortened to first hour (which could have been very easily done), last 30 minutes could have been devoted to couple’s legal action against Bennett, if any; what happened to the gold they discovered just before fleeing the site; and why the two lovebirds’ lives have (as an end title indicates) “different directions.” For that matter, as long as scripter Carol Mendelsohn includes “some scenes created for dramatic purposes,” why couldn’t she have made her protagonists a bit smarter, and thereby more sympathetic?

Other than the consistently vapid behavior of lead characters, Mendelsohn’s script does its job with occasional flashes of wit, and Bruce Pittman’s direction is on the money. And whenever the action flags, there are acres upon acres of handsome “Alaskan” scenery (shot in Alberta, Canada, in part by aerial cameraman Robert Mehnert), well illuminated by d.p. Michael Storey.

To Brave Alaska

  • Production: ABC, SUN. NOV. 3, 9 P.M.
  • Crew: Camera, Michael Storey; editor, Ralph Brunjes; production designer, Chris August; art director, Walter Ockley; sound. Gordon Anderson; music, Lou Natale; casting, Shana Landsburg, Stuart Aikins. 2 HOURS
  • With: Cast: Alyssa Milano, Cameron Bancroft. Duncan Fraser, Winston Rekert, Paul Dignard, Jason Gaffney, Philip Granger, Barbara Tyson, Timothy Webber, Newman.
  • Music By: