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Claude Jarman Jr.
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Fred M. Wilcox
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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
Most of the "atmosphere" and outdoors animal scenes were shot five years previously, by a second-unit crew sent to Florida in 1941, when the project was first begun. The film was shut down soon after the footage was shot, but when it was restarted again in 1946, the 1941 footage was used. 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 »
Tender, touching and terrific...Peck, Wyman and Jarman, Jr. are splendid...
Spencer Tracy was originally supposed to have played the father in 'The Yearling' with Ann Revere as his wife and some footage was even shot on location in Florida and later scrapped. But then, four years later, MGM decided to start again with Gregory Peck as the kindly father, Jane Wyman as his embittered wife and Claude Jarman, Jr. as the naive Jody whose love for a pet fawn is the centerpiece of the story. It was worth the wait. They are all well cast in this tender, warm-hearted story from the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings novel of a family living near the Florida everglades.
The technicolor photography is as impressive as the use of background music, especially in the scene where Jody playfully comes across the abandoned fawn. Jarman's emotions and the soaring score combine to make one of the film's strongest and most appealing moments. Jane Wyman was so convincing as the hardened mother afraid of losing her only child, that when she took her daughter to see the film she wouldn't speak to her for two weeks afterwards--unable to forgive her mother for the final action she takes in the film!
Ideal family entertainment and a must-see for anyone who has missed seeing this film classic. Claude Jarman, Jr. deserved his Academy Award and, although he had never acted before, was chosen from 19,000 applicants to play Jody. Peck plays the father with dignity and restraint, his love for the boy apparent in every frame of the film. An unforgettable coming of age tale, tastefully produced and faithful to the original source.
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