Bill's separated from his litter, making friends with the wild creatures until he's found and adopted by young Kathie. An accident separates him from her, and he's drafted into K-9 duty in ... See full summary »
Set in the rural south of the United States, a bereaved war widow learns to to put aside her bitterness and grief as she grows to love a young orphan boy and the dog that belonged to her ... See full summary »
Claude Jarman Jr.
A Lassie movie. After years of prospecting, Jonathan finally strikes gold. He returns to town only to discover that his partner has since died and left Tommy fatherless. He decides to leave Shep (played by Lassie) with Tommy to cheer him up. Meanwhile, Jonathan's new partner, Lin, isn't interested in sharing the gold, and lures Jonathan to his death. Lassie immediately deduces what's happened, so Lin poisons Lassie. Lassie barely pulls through and pursues Lin to a climactic confrontation where, due to an off-screen accident with some liquid nitrogen, Lin's gun jams. Written by
Leo L. Schwab <email@example.com>
... and I watched it yesterday already knowing the very low IMDb ratings. But seriously, everything Marion Davies ever did gets an 8/10 on this site and this gets 3/10??? I don't think so.
You can tell that this was not one of MGM's A List productions. No Liz Taylor, Edmund Gwenn, or Donald Crisp. Plus the story has been transferred to the pioneer days of the American west. The biggest recognizable star in the film besides Lassie herself (actually himself, since Lassie was played by Pal, a male dog) is Paul Kelly as an old prospector and Shep's (Lassie's) owner, and Mr. Kelly is practically unrecognizable. He's only 52 at this point, but he's donned up in whiskers and makeup that make him look like a thin version of Santa Claus. His hands clearly show he is not as old as the role he is playing.
This Lassie story is a bit different, besides just the move from Scotland. Lassie usually plays the passive lovable dog waiting for the good-hearted yet hard-headed Scots that are to decide her fate to come to their senses. Here Lassie has a more Clint Eastwood-like aggressive posture towards the man who killed her master for his gold and attempted to poison her and goes full fang on the guy at every opportunity producing a very ironic and just ending. By the way who names a female dog "Shep" anyways??? Paul Kelly is good as the prospector and master of Shep/Lassie except it is clear that he doesn't trust his partner, begging the question, why did he make this obviously nefarious fellow a partner in the first place? Bruce Cowling is absolutely awful as the villainous partner. He has a demeanor that would be better suited to a B scifi film of the 50's rather than this action adventure film. He is always looking up and around with a horrified expression on his face as though he expects an alien spacecraft to land at any moment. Gary Gray gives a good but not great juvenile performance as the murdered prospector's grandson - I didn't find him whiny at all. Native Americans are hammily and stereotypically portrayed, but at least they show them as seeming to be the only people for 100 miles around who know anything about veterinary medicine, even if one good stereotype doesn't wipe out the negative ones.
If you like or love the other Lassie films I'd say give this one a try. It's not boring and most of the film is focused on Lassie.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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