Courage of Lassie

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Courage of Lassie
01 Courage of Lassie.jpg
VHS cover
Directed by Fred M. Wilcox
Produced by Robert Sisk
Written by Lionel Houser
Starring Pal (credited as "Lassie")
Elizabeth Taylor
Frank Morgan
Harry Davenport
Selena Royle
Tom Drake
George Cleveland
Music by Scott Bradley
Bronislau Kaper
Cinematography Leonard Smith
Edited by Conrad A. Nervig
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) November 8, 1946
Running time 92 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,530,000[1]
Box office $4,100,000[1]

Courage of Lassie is a 1946 Technicolor MGM feature film starring Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Morgan, and dog actor Pal in a story about a collie named Bill and his young companion, Kathie Merrick. When Bill is separated from Kathie following a vehicular accident, he is trained as a war dog, performs heroically, and, after many tribulations, is eventually reunited with his beloved Kathie. Though the film is called Courage of Lassie, Eric Knight's fictional canine character Lassie does not appear in the film.

Courage of Lassie is the third of seven MGM films featuring a canine star called Lassie, who, in actuality, was a male collie named Pal. Using the stage name Lassie, Pal appeared as the titular character in the first film, Lassie Come Home and as Laddie in its sequel, Son of Lassie.[2] Courage of Lassie has been released to VHS and DVD.

Plot[edit]

A collie pup is separated from his mother and grows to young adulthood in the forest. After being swept away in a torrent and then shot by a young hunter, he is found by Kathie Merrick (Elizabeth Taylor) and carried to her home. With the help of a kindly shepherd, Mr. MacBain (Frank Morgan), she tends him back to health, names him Bill, and teaches him to herd sheep.

One day, unknown to Kathie, Bill is hit by a truck and taken to an animal hospital. Kathie risks her life futilely searching for him on the island where they first met. Bill remains unclaimed in the hospital for two months and is sent to a War Dog Training Center, where he is referred to as "Duke". After training, he is shipped out with the troops to the Aleutian Islands Campaign. Duke performs heroically on the battlefield, but the stress and a wound cause him to become aggressive. Sent back to the War Dog Training Center to recover, he escapes, attacking livestock and threatening people as he finds his way to back to Kathie.

Merrick neighbors insist he be put down because of his attacks and Bill is impounded. A hearing is held and Mr. MacBain acts as Bill's lawyer. He discovers an Army tattoo in Bill's ear; a quick investigation reveals Bill is a war hero. All then realize that the dog who served on the battlefield was not himself after his war experiences and he will need time to adjust to civilian life. Bill is freed and joyfully reunited with Kathie.

Main cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film was shot on location in Railroad Creek by Lake Chelan near Holden.[3]

Courage of Lassie was fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Taylor's second "Lassie" film as she had appeared in Lassie Come Home in the minor role of the Duke of Rudling's granddaughter, Priscilla.[2] Taylor received the first top billing of her career with Courage of Lassie.[4] George Cleveland, the "Old Man" in the opening scenes of Courage of Lassie would become the star of the 1954 television series Lassie.[2]

Reception[edit]

The film was popular and earned $2,505,000 in the US and Canada and $1,595,000 elsewhere, making MGM a profit of $968,000.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ a b c Collins, Ace. Lassie: a Dog's Life. Penguin Books, 1993.
  3. ^ Linda Carlson (2003), Company Towns of the Pacific Northwest, ISBN 978-0-295-98332-5 
  4. ^ TV Guide Courage of Lassie

External links[edit]