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The Call of the Wild
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The Call of the Wild More at IMDbPro »

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22 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

A sad and uplifting Jack London adaptation that is not to be missed. You can rarely go wrong with 'Chuck'.

Author: Freddy Levit from Melbourne, Australia
12 April 2006

I don't know about other people, although looking at the score this website has given this film I can only ponder, but when it comes to international team work in making a film, I often love the results. In fact, I loved this movie and thought it was extraordinary. Oh and the emotion, it blew me away. 'Call Of The Wild' is a very emotional story of a German Sheppard's forced journey from 19th Century California to the Goldrush of the Alaskan wilderness and the meeting with its new owner with which it becomes closer to than with anyone or anything else. A very simple story indeed, but the legendary Jack London knew how to tell a great high adventure tale on an epic scale and he obviously fancied dogs very much as is shown with his minute details about his subjects. I believe that Ken Annakin (the director of this film) realized London's vision to perfection and translated it brilliantly to the screen.

The sheer realism that Jack London told his stories with takes you to another world and it takes your breath away with their uplifting finales. Ken Annakin had done a wonderful job with directing "Call Of The Wild". The dog in the film is an actor itself as it plays such an integral part of the film. Not even half way into it, it is almost certain that you will fall in love with the dog. Its emotions and gestures are all natural, and it's easy to relate to the dog's journey. Five minutes into the film, I was hooked. The dog had such a commanding presence that not even Charlton Heston could get in its way. And then there is Charlton Heston, a man of such phenomenal, legendary influence on film history. Yet even with his power, fame and success he is one of the few actors in the world who's fame doesn't distract from the film. It's his strong presence and every-man, human and subtle performances that set him apart from many actors on the same level of fame. He is always the same 'Chuck', but he is more like we are and that's why we loved his films so much. So, when you see him inevitably getting closer and attached to the dog, it feels so convincing and real, it drains you of all emotions.

Call me crazy, but when the credits at the end were rolling I felt like crying. Here you are, in the middle of god's nowhere in the heart of the Alaskan wilderness; two mammals - a dog and a man - who have no families and nothing to come home to find one another and become the closest, most reliant friends as it is a key player in their survival of the unforgiving hardships of the Goldrush and the wilderness in between them and the Gold. The scenes where 'Chuck' finds the dog after not seeing him for a long time are so uplifting and you can see the happiness and joy in Heston's eyes. However, nothing beats the finale when the dog and the man are departed for the last time in tragedy. It's so sad and it makes you think about how big their journey together was and how close they were to one another. Yet, the film still finishes on a positive note with the dog and his offspring symbolizing "life goes on".

What really set the mood for the film more than the harsh wilderness and the hardships that the two faced throughout, was the unusual, alienating music written and composed by Carlo Rustichelli, which at first seems out of place and very weird, but soon becomes the film's underlying haunting atmosphere and power. In a way, the music paints a picture of struggle and isolation better than anything I've ever heard in my life. By the end of the film, I didn't want anything else, it was perfect. And of course, the music wouldn't have been any good without the wonderful cinematography that gave a clear realization of how vast the landscape is.

Ken Annakin's "Call Of The Wild" is easily a worthy addition to the adventure lover's film collection. You will feel like you have been on an epic journey. It captures the importance of dogs in those times - for dogs were at times worth more than Gold as they were the only things that could get you around the deep snows of Alaska. Rarely have I seen such a realistic and graphically harsh portrayal of the Goldrush years and the men with their dogs and sleds that fought, searched and died for the Gold. And in the fore-front there is a most captivating story about love and friendship between two different species.

Adventure fans, go no further than this great escapist master work. Yes, there is wooden acting in some parts, but the core of the film doesn't fail one bit. The film is a definite product of the 70s and adds a lot of nostalgia, only adding to the atmosphere. I absolutely surrendered to the film's beauty and power and I can confidently call it a classic. They don't make em' like this anymore!

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15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

European version of the notorious novel about the dog adventures and his masters

Author: ma-cortes
11 December 2006

Charlton Heston as John plays a prospector along with Raimund Harmstorf . They are at the right time and in the right location to live numerous adventures . The picture chronicles the ¨Gold Rush¨ days of Alaska from Klondike territory and in the Dawson City center . Heston finds and befriends a German shepherd dog called ¨Buck¨ which saves and protects to John and his partner . The dog rescues them from dangers and leads throughout snowy landscapes . But Buck is robbed and is taken by various masters , being forced to pull a snow sled.

The movie is based on Jack London novel -in part autobiographic but in his real life was prospector- , narrating the story about the gold discovery , people came to find the precious mineral through the freeze ways and corruption , violence and ambition that came with them . Authentic stars film are the animals as there appear : Huskys , pack of wolves and of course the magnificent German shepherd named Buck . The best of the movie are the marvelous , spectacular snowy outdoors , being stunningly photographed by John Cabrera in places as Finland , Norway and Spain . Atmospheric , evocative score by the Italian composer Carlo Rustichelli . The picture is one of various renditions based on Jack London novels along with ¨ The White Fang ¨ , creating the sub-genre about the Alaska adventures . The film is a European co-production by Harry Alan Towers with actors of several nations ( German as Raimund Harmstorf ; French as Michele Mercier ; English as Maria Rohm ; Spanish as Juan Luis Galiardo , Sancho Gracia and Italian as George Eastman or Luigi Montefiori). Charlton Heston said about this one resulted to be his worst film but I think is entertaining and watchable although mediocre for its poor direction and weak plot which hamper this familiar story .

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14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

A Shadow in the Snow

Author: sol from Brooklyn NY USA
27 December 2004

***SPOILERS*** At the beginning of the movie we see this handsome and powerful German Shepherd leading a wolf pack as they run down and kill a caribou for their supper. Later looking under the icy river the dog sees his master frozen to death beneath it; The dog's name is Buck the master is John Thornton, Charlton Heston.

The story of Buck and how he became the leader of a wolf pack in the Yukon territory starts some time back in the sunny climate of Santa Clara Calif. It's 1897 and gold was discovered around the Klondike River in the Yukon and Alaskan territory's up north and dogs like Buck were worth their weight in gold as sled dogs in that country's deep snows and freezing weather. Dognaped by Judge Miller's, Alfredo Mayo, gardener Manuel for a price of $75.00 Buck was well on his way from being a sweet and loving pet to becoming a strong and ferocious wild animal.

Beaten and broken for weeks by a number of different owners of sled-dog teams Buck was almost dead when he was bought and put into the service of John Thorrnton and his partner Pete's, Ralmund Harmstorf, dog team. With John & Pete's kind and tender handling of him Buck became the lead sled dog and the most powerful and at the same time feared dog in the Yukon territory. Buck led the dog team in covering the treacherous 600 mile journey from Skaguay to Dawson as the lead sled-dog for John & Pete in record time when no other dog team and it's owners would dare to try it.

In the movie Buck is stolen a number of times from John, and was once almost shot and killed by the local bootlegger, but Buck always managed to escape and return home to John & Pete. It's later that the dog begins to yarn for his home in the wild. The reason Buck didn't go back to the woods, where he developed a strong friendship with the local Timber Wolves in the area, was his love for and loyalty to the persons who saved his life John & Pete.

Torn between his two kind and caring human masters and his wolf family Buck can't quite bring himself to break away from civilization to live in the wild. Later one night a band of local Indians attack the cabin where both John & Pete were staying in and ended up killing both of them. Buck and his wolf pack tried to come to their rescue but were too late to save them as we saw in the beginning of the movie.

With the two persons who Buck had a mutual bond with now gone Buck can now return to his distant descendants, the wild wolves, in the dark and cold woods of the Klondike. Buck, in th end, ended up answering to something that he understood and that was ingrained in his consciousness from the thousands of generations of canines over millions of years that he eventually evolved from: The Call of the Wild.

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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

More realistic, less sentimental than older Hollywood version.

Author: rixrex from United States
20 June 2005

This is definitely a European-style film from the period, the 70s. Everything about it speaks loudly with the European influence, the music, the cinematography, the editing. It's much like what you'd see in countless Euro horror films from the time, but this time it's a dramatic and rather realistic take on the old American classic. When seen, it doesn't take much to imagine the shooting conditions, and how did they all, cast and crew, put up with the misery of the terrible cold and snow? Heston isn't miscast here like some say, he's just very much different from what might be expected, but he does an admirable job. Some of his best film work was during this time, not the studio blockbusters he was known for prior to this. It is good that the story doesn't opt for the Hollywood "happy ending" but, without spoiling it for those who haven't seen this, it is a much more realistic ending.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

A man and his dog fight through hostile Alaska's 19th century gold rush.

Author: stalinsrepublic from United States
18 October 2005

I saw this movie when I was about 11 years old. I didn't expect anything from it and was very happily surprised. Obviously low budget, this is offset by the authentic looking town, beautiful locations, Hestons great acting and Jack Londons timeless classic. It for me is one of my favorites, and I would recommend it to anyone. Even though the dialogue seems to be dubbed here and there I didn't have a problem with it. How Buck ends up in Alaska and is saved by Heston sets the tone for their unique friendship! Heston must decide which path to take, as Buck must decide as well! This is definitely a story of fate and of personal choices ending with a desperate and dramatic climax! I read some of the other reviews ans it seems most people don't like this film. I don't care, I was able to overlook the dubbing and the other flaws mentioned simply because this movie looks like the Yukon in the latter half of the 19th century. The story is touching and excuse me, but i like it. When you have Heston it makes up for a lot............

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Good Version

Author: Michael_Elliott from Louisville, KY
26 April 2008

Call of the Wild, The (1972)

*** (out of 4)

A house dog is stolen from its owner and sold to a group of men who abuse him and eventually sell him as a sled dog. The sled owner (Charlton Heston) soon grows attached to the dog and we see their adventures in Alaska, which includes hunting for gold. This version of the famous story isn't as good as the 1935 version with Clark Gable and Loretta Young but this one does remain entertaining throughout. There are some major problems with the film that keeps it from being great but even through there are problems there's still a wonderfully touching movie here. What doesn't work is that the film really appears to have originally been three hours and then edited down to its 100-minute running time. I say this because there seems to be some rough editing and there are various parts of the film that seem rushed. This becomes rather annoying but the real star here is the dog. The dog used in the film does a remarkable job and really makes his role a real character and not just an animal doing tricks. Heston gives a pretty good performance and his actions with the dog are a lot of fun to watch but there are moments when the actor goes over the top and brings a few laughs, which certainly wasn't intended. Michele Mercier is good as Heston's lover and George Eastman makes for a great villain. The film was shot in Finland, which leads to some terrific visuals and the movie remains entertaining all the way through. The love story between Heston and his dog is beautifully captured but some should be warned that there are a lot of scenes of animal abuse, which will certainly bother some.

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Makes you want to get a dog

Author: jessfink ( from NYC
5 November 2000

Well, this is a typical 1970's-era film, with lots of suspicious animal action which makes you feel glad that films today are shot under the auspices of the ASPCA and the Humane Society. Shot under horrifyingly rough conditions, with Norway standing in for the Yukon, the film takes few liberties with Jack London's classic novel, but the bizarre casting of Charlton Heston as John Thornton makes the viewer want to scratch their head. Jaggedly edited and with a greater budget for snow than special effects, the viewer is implored to suspend belief as animal after animal is torn apart and shown drenched with fake blood, looking bewildered. Obviously, as befitting a movie of this era, the hordes of unwashed gold prospectors are as grungy a bunch as ever filmed, but the few women who surface are as impeccably dressed and made up as any model in a Vanity Fair shoot. Lots of bad sound and snow on the lens, but a nice job at portraying one man and one dog who love one another fiercely. Peculiar film, lots of cute dogs, lots of atrocious acting, and lots and lots and lots of snow.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Good Movie for Dog Lovers and Heston Fans alike.

Author: adrianeverett74 from United States
4 July 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Jack London's The Call of the Wild is a perennial educational classic which is used in public schools today across the United States. Charlton Heston's character John Thornton at first is a real hard head in the beginning as a man bound and determined to find "Old Yellow Moon" which is a gold mine fortune deep in Yukon Indian Territory. His hateful attitude towards Buck at first is intolerable but as the relationship between man and dog builds Thornton's hardheadedness gives way to love and devotion.

The copyright to this movie keeps falling in and out every video labels hands just about every year or so. The transfer is horrendous as it has no doubt been transferred from a first generation video tape print over and over again to it's current DVD print. Personally I wish The Weinstien Brothers Bob and Harvey would buy out the copyright to this movie and all of it's film elements and get this movie fully restored on their Miriam Collection DVD Label in a 1 or 2 disc Special Edition featuring any extras that might actually exist somewhere in some film vault waiting to be discovered.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Worth watching..

Author: xWhiteFang from United Kingdom
1 January 2007

For a dog-lover, it is a moving and heart-touching story. For any other viewer, it is an old movie that features a bunch of sled dogs and Alaska. You really must read the book by Jack London before seeing the film. It follows the plot but it does confuse matters.

The dog stunts do look very real and do tend do worry you. Fortunatly, you are assured before the movie begins that no animals were harmed in the making of the film. It was good quality for the time period with well-trained animals and nice camera shots. The soundtrack could have been improved but works for the general atmosphere. I was also disappointed by Buck's appearance. He was a German Shepherd mix as described in the book but was presented as a Newfoundland in the film. Curly was also the wrong breed. None of this honestly mattered once the film got started.

It is no match for Disney's White Fang but Call of the Wild does come as its infamous partner.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Faithful adaption of Jack London classic

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
24 November 2012

As the only name we American viewers will recognize in the cast, Charlton Heston does very well in the lead role of John Thornton rugged prospector in the Klondike Gold Rush. There are two leads of course, the other being Buck the lead sled dog that Heston puts more store in than most people.

It's not a misanthropic position by any means. As anyone who lives in the frozen north on any continent, a good sled dog is still the best transportation around. One that is loyal and smart like Buck is worth more than the gold he might carry out of a strike.

The only other version I saw of this story is the one that starred Clark Gable and Loretta Young in the Thirties, That one took considerable liberties with the story. This version is faithful to Jack London's novella which came out when folks were still panning for gold in this area in 1902.

You'll not know any other names from the cast except possibly French actress Michele Mercier who plays a saloon owner in Dawson City and who would like Heston to settle down with her. But The Call Of The Wild is as strong in him as it is in Buck The Dog who discovers his second cousin the wolf and yearns for their open existence. Though the dog develops an affection for his human the same way Heston has for the dog.

Heston is rugged and fine in the lead role. The non-recognition of the other players works out because it lends an air of authenticity to the film. Ken Annakin's direction is on target and the location cinematography done in the Lapland country of Norway and Finland is magnificent.

Heston wasn't crazy about the film, I imagine it was one rugged location shoot for him. Still his fans should like it and I can tell you he's done worse films than The Call Of The Wild.

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