In 1870s Florida, a rural family struggles to survive. A lonely twelve-year-old son, Jody (Wil Horneff), the lone surviving child, against his mother's better judgment eventually persuades ... See full summary »
After the American Civil War, a rebel soldier and his wife become pioneer farmers in Florida. Their son Jody is 11 years old; he gets along well with his warm and affectionate pa, but his ma is haunted by the death of her other children, so she's somber, even cold. The boy wants a pet: the dad is sympathetic, the mom obdurate. When a rattler bites pa, pa kills a doe to use its organs to draw out the poison. Jody begs to keep the doe's fawn as a pet. The parents agree, and the boy and the deer are soon inseparable. The fawn grows quickly, and as a yearling tramples tobacco shoots and eats the newly-sprouted corn. This is too much for ma, and Jody has to face harsh, adult realities. Written by
MGM had actually begun filming "The Yearling" in 1941 with Spencer Tracy, Anne Revere, and Atlanta native Gene Eckman (who never appeared in another film) in the starring roles, Roddy McDowall as Fodderwing, and Victor Fleming directing, but the production ran into innumerable problems, including Eckman growing too quickly during filming, his thick local accent (which conflicted with Tracy's vocal quality), swarms of mosquitoes, and conflicts between Fleming and producer Sidney Franklin. After King Vidor agreed to take over directing but then dropped out, the project was cancelled - at a loss of $500,000 - when the United States entered World War II. See more »
When the bear and dogs are fighting, some footage is shown twice, but from a different angle. See more »
[on the ocasion of the buryal of Fodderwing]
Oh Lord. Almighty God. It ain't for us ignorant mortals to say what's right and what's wrong. Was any one of us to be doin' of it, we'd not of bring this poor boy into the world a cripple, and his mind teched. We'd of bring him in straight and tall like his brothers, fitten to live and work and do. But in a way o' speakin', Lord, you done made it up to him. You give him a way with the wild creatures. You give him a sort of wisdom, made him knowin' and...
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All scenes involving animals in this picture were made under the supervision and with the cooperation of the American Humane Association See more »
This movie comes together and holds up even after nearly 60 years. This is a rural coming of age movie. Gregory Peck is perfect as the hard-working spare-looking father of a son who is on the brink of man-hood. He introduces him to women, fights, and necessary survival skills. There are difficult lessons. Peck is forced to shoot a doe in order to save his own life. He is a man in love with his child's growth process -- not forgetting what being a child is like, yet knowing that harsh lessons are necessary. Jane Wyman plays a wife who has hardened herself against being hurt by turning hard. Who can forget the scene showing the row of headstones. Claude Jarman is perfect as the yearling adolescent. His performance was so wonderful in this film that I think it is one ofthe reasons his career never reached superstar. He is able to depict the coltish behavior of the adolescent male perfectly. This movie remains a classic because the dialogue, the acting and the scenery all come together perfectly. Sometimes an actor becomes a star and then all one sees in the movie is the star's personality. This movie catches both Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman without their superstar persona. They are immersed in the roles; it's impossible to imagine any other performers in the roles; and it's one of the reasons the remake simply didn't do well.
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