The Yearling (1946)
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Absolutely haunting. I've only seen the film in its entire length twice, once as a child and again as an adult. Jodie having to shoot the deer, at the end, and the dream sequence of him running afterwards. . .well as a child it left me devastated. And I will confess, I had the same response again as an adult. Call me overly sensitive, but The Yearling, was just emotionally overwhelming and always will be for me.
I think the acting is superb, Gregory Peck giving one of his two incredible performances as a loving father, the other one, of course, in "To Kill a Mockingbird." If ever there is a film role model for fathers today, it can be found in these two films. Peck's love for his son, his desire to protect his world and let him be a boy for just a little bit longer, is beautifully portrayed.
Whenever this film is shown on television I will indeed watch the beginning up to when "Flag" is found, but then I do turn the channel before the end. My daughter is nearly twelve now, and I see the transition in her from child to adult and the film has influenced me, as a loving father, to hope she enjoys that childhood as long as possible before having to let go of it. And yes, we've seen the first half of the film together, we both get a teary eyed and then switch to something else.
I adore the soundtrack based on the work of Delius and highly recommend his "Florida Suite."
The cinematography award is well deserved, stunningly beautiful, again with a dream like quality to it.
As to some of the critics. Please. . .you have no concept of life in 19th century Florida after the Civil War. It was hard scrabble, and if a man was disabled, his family literally could starve, thus forcing Jodie to face his terrible decision regarding his pet. Our politically correct sensibilities of today had very little room in the 1870s, and yes this statement is from an animal lover but also an historian of the period. I'm almost amused by the critics who casually say, build a barn, or make a bigger fence. . .try it some time, using the tools of the period in the climate and eco-system of Florida. I think the scenes where Jodie and his "Ma" do attempt that in order to save Flag, are heart breaking and realistically portrayed.
So, if you haven't seen this one, do so, but even you tough guys, you better have a box of tissues handy. A warning though, if you have children who are sensitive to animals, think twice or preview it first, it can be very traumatic.
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.
From the opening scenes of this beautifully photographed movie I found myself caught-up in the intriguing post Civil War story of a boy and his pet faun and their fantastic adventures on a scruffy Florida Everglades farm. The film stars Gregory Peck, Jane Wyman and Claude Jarman in the lead roles, with some of Hollywood's best character actors in the supporting roles.
Peck gives an Oscar caliber performance as the warmhearted father who does his best to make a better life for his family, with absolutely no help from the elements, which surround them. Jane Wyman brilliantly plays Orry, the hardened mother and wife who is so embittered by past tragedies in her life that she is unable to show any love for her one surviving child for fear of losing him as well. And Claude Jarman plays Jodie, the wistful young boy who is just one summer away from adolescence and all the emotional growing pains that come with it.
This story is laced with excitement and adventure sure to please the kids, but each of the adventures is also a great lesson in life that will stay with them for years to come. The cinematography is spectacular and received a well-deserved Academy Award and the wildlife scenes are incredible as well. Just watching Jodie romp through the woods with his faun is a joyous site to behold. The way Orry finally begins letting herself love her son will bring tears to your eyes. This movie was one of the most emotional experiences of my young life and I believe I am a better person from the lessons learned here.
I highly recommend this film, it is one to be experienced with your entire family.
All I can say is this a masterpiece, from the writing to the cinematography to the score to the fine performances.
It is always a pleasure to watch the late great Gregory Peck. Like James Stewart, the man exudes class, integrity and kindness. They don't make actors nor films like this anymore.
This is a classic which works on many levels, which will function as a coming of age story for youngsters, and an introspective film for adults about the loss of innocence and the price of responsibility.
I so wish that the whiz kids at Disney and DreamWorks would stop wasting their time and effort on computer animated feel-good trash, and reach into their hearts and make a film this wonderful.