Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire
Palmer's film is that rare concert doc that isn't for established fans only.
I have no doubt that Balto was a real sled dog, although I have certain doubts about whether he was able to achieve all of the feats depicted in "Balto," especially tying the dead driver to the sled before hauling him back to Nome. A dog can't tie a knot worth a darn.
I guess you cut a little slack for a movie like this, which is set in the cruel Alaskan winter of 1925, when a diphtheria epidemic broke out in Nome, and the local doctor ran out of antitoxins, and when neither planes nor trains could get through, dog teams were used to bring back the medicine and save lives.
That much we know is true because of the animated movie's live-action prologue and epilogue, showing a monument that was erected in New York's Central Park in honor of the "indomitable spirit" of the hero dogs. Why this expensive sculpture was located in a New York park rather than a Nome park probably could inspire another movie, perhaps one directed by Oliver Stone.
But I stray. Most of the movie is animation, telling the story of Balto (voice by Kevin Bacon), who is half-wolf and half-dog, and an outcast in Nome, because you can't quite trust a wolf. Balto is in love with a beautiful female dog named Jenna (Bridget Fonda), who belongs to a cute little girl named Rosy (Juliette Brewer). Balto is brave, loyal and honest, but gets into trouble because of the evil dog Steele (Jim Cummings), who frames him for stealing sausages.