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This wonderful film is one of a handful that has the power to call me back
to my childhood days and wrap me in warm memories of my Mom, Dad and little
brother sitting around the television on Saturday night, watching the late
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.
This is one of the great lost films. I run into ridicule every time I tell people it's one of my favourite films, but what a great film it is. It's got more treacle than Lyles, very sentimental and heart rendering, but I love it for that. It's also got one of the movie worlds most immortal lines when Ma Forester says of her recently deceased physically handicapped son "I lost ma boy!...ma poor crookedly boy". What a movie, takes me back every time. The essence of the main characters is perfectly portrayed by the main leads of Gregory Peck and Jayne Wyman, but Claude Jarman Jnr as Jody has a special place in my childhood. He plays the head-strong boy to perfection, with great depth and warmth. The Yearling will always live on.
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
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.
Don't let the film's plot fool you, this is not just a story about a baby deer. This is a classic story of father and son and the relationship of love that they have. Peck and Jarman do a terrific job in portraying father and son. Many of the scenes are carried by their performances, especially close to the end. The scene where Peck is caught modeling one of his wife's dresses speaks to the entire film. The coming of age element with Jarman slowly becoming a man and Peck trying to teach his son what he needs to know to become that man is present. Some of the movie is comical and touching, but overall the message of the story is the love traded by father and son. You have to see this movie at least once. If you are a fan, you have no choice but to see it again.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Possible spoiler. . .but guess everyone knows the ending.
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.
Rightfully considered to be one of the premier family films of all time, this is a handsome adaptation of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings book about a Florida farm family surviving day-to-day hardships. Superbly directed by Clarence Brown, who brings the same "children's book" ambiance to the project as he did with "National Velvet". Well-acted and stunningly photographed on location (by Leonard Smith and Charles Rosher, who won Oscars). Young Claude Jarman, Jr. becomes attached to a troublesome baby deer, and his teary devotion is quite heart-rending. Some of the dialogue is fearsome, and, yes, it's a corny picture in an old-fashioned vein, however it is certainly worth-seeing, even for cynics. *** from ****
Just caught this today on the CBC Afternoon Matinee. Amazingly, this is
first time I have seen the film, having read the book in grade school.
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.
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.
I first viewed the 94 version of this movie and loved it so much that I had to see the original. A couple years have passed and I viewed this version in it's entirety and loved every moment! I then tried to watch the 94 version a couple hours later and found that it upset me. I will not say why now (because this comment is about this movie). Just bugs me that Hollywood today believes that people don't care about family life!!! I want to make a statement about this movie, and that is that it is FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie so impressed me when I saw it in the '50s on TV, I immediately chose the book by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings for my first obligatory book report of my junior year in high school. It was also the first video I bought when I got a VCR. Now in my late sixties I can remember the name Claude Jarman, Jr. as the boy that I had identified with even though he was so different from me. I had watched it because it featured Gregory Peck as the father and I liked him, but it was Jarman's movie all the way. I was curious, too, to see Jane Wyman as all I knew about her was an unintentionally funny movie marquee I saw that proclaimed "Jane Wyman in The Blue Veil and selected shorts". This movie introduced me to Chill Wills. I found the killing of the fawn shattering even though I understood the necessity (equally devastating in the book). My father, mother, sister and I sat in front of the TV with tears rolling down our faces. I recommend both the video and the book.
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