Rin-Tin-Tin: Nature vs. Nurture and the Issue of Free Will
Raised by wolves, Rin-Tin-Tin comes into contact with people in the ill-defined far north of Canada. Will he submit to his training and go frolic with she-wolves, or become the loyal servant of man, help catch the baddies and make the Warner Brothers a truckload of money?
In a town where they've always known that if truth and legend conflict, you print the legend, Rin-Tin-Tin is an interesting movie star. There had been other dog stars, like Jean the Vitagraph Dog, or Keystone's Teddy, who starred in TEDDY AT THE THROTTLE, but Rinty was huge, leading to Sandow the Dog, Rin-Tin-Tin Jr., Lassie and dozens of others, an entire industry of animal stars.... or was it his publicity, in the wild era of 1920s ballyhoo? Would Warner Brothers have gone under except for the profit of his movies? Would we have lost the madness surrounding Al Jolson's performance in THE JAZZ SINGER? Would the entire face of popular culture be enormously different, or were the Olson Twins predestined? Weighty issues to discuss at 3AM in the dorm room when you don't want to cram for an exam, but it's just a movie, folks.
It's a moderately well-made movie, which is hardly surprising, given that Chester Franklin, directed and Lewis Milestone -- yes, that Lewis Milestone -- edited. Also, in this rather title-heavy production, Rinty is clearly the best actor. You can read his emotions, while the humans maintain expressions of guarded wariness. And the story is moderately interesting. I really don't know. I liked it. Maybe you will too. Worth a try if it comes your way.
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