Good-bye, My Lady (film)

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Good-bye, My Lady
The Boy and the Laughing Dog
Good-bye My Lady 1955 poster.jpg
1956 Theatrical Poster
Directed by William A. Wellman
Produced by John Wayne
Screenplay by Albert Sidney Fleischman
Based on Good-bye, My Lady
1954 novel 
by James H. Street
Starring Walter Brennan
Brandon deWilde
William Hopper
Phil Harris
Sidney Poitier
Louise Beavers
My Lady of the Congo
Music by Laurindo Almeida
George Fields
Cinematography William Clothier
Edited by Fred MacDowell
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates May 11, 1956
Running time 94 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Good-bye, My Lady is a 1956 American film adaptation of the novel Good-bye, My Lady (1954) by James H. Street. The book had been inspired by Street's original 1941 story which appeared in The Saturday Evening Post. Street was going to be the principal advisor on the film when he suddenly died of a heart attack.[1]

The film was produced by John Wayne's Batjac Productions. Directed by William A. Wellman, it starred Walter Brennan and Brandon deWilde, with Sidney Poitier and Phil Harris in supporting roles.

Music composed and played by Laurindo Almeida (guitar) and George Fields (Harmonica). Song: "When Your Boy Becomes a Man". Music by Don Powell and lyrics by Moris Erby.

A boy learns what it means to be a man by befriending and training a stray Basenji dog and then is forced to surrender her to its rightful owner. Both readers of the story and film-goers found the boy's eventual loss of the dog unexpected.[2]

Chosen for the film was My Lady of the Congo, a six-month-old Basenji puppy of Miss Veronica Tudor-Williams of Molesey, England. My Lady was flown to Hollywood to be followed later by four young dogs as doubles, including her little brother My Lord of the Congo and Flageolet of the Congo, subsequently an International Champion. As it was, My Lady wound up doing most of the scenes. When not filming with then 13-year-old deWilde, the dog spent all her time with him and a real attachment developed between them. Unknown to theater-goers that saw boy and dog parted in the film was the fact that the written agreement that supplied the animal stated that My Lady would become the personal property of Brandon deWilde upon completion of filming.[3]

The rare breed of dog was heretofore unknown to most Americans. Affected by either the story, the novel or the movie, many people were inclined to become Basenji owners at this time.[4]

Brennan and deWilde would unite again for the cameras in 1965 for Disney in Those Calloways. That same year deWilde would play producer John Wayne's son in In Harm's Way.

Plot[edit]

A young orphan boy Skeeter (Brandon deWilde) is being raised in a swamp cabin by his poor and toothless Uncle Jesse Jackson (Walter Brennan). One night a mysterious noise is heard. They later discover that the noise was caused by a strange breed of dog (My Lady of the Congo) unknown to them. Rather than a bark the dog has a yodel or laugh. The animal has keen senses and they decide to train her for bird hunting. In time Skeeter learns that an ad had been placed for a female Basenji which had been lost in their swamp months earlier. Skeeter arranges for a telegram to be sent, and a representative (William Hopper) of the dog's rightful owner appears to take it back. Skeeter is forced to "come of age" and surrender the animal. With the $100 reward money given, he is able to purchase Jesse the false teeth that he needs, and is able to put a down payment on a hunting rifle.

Cast[edit]

Actor Role
Walter Brennan Uncle Jesse Jackson
Brandon deWilde Claude Jackson (Skeeter)
William Hopper Walden Grover
Phil Harris Cash Evans
Sidney Poitier Gates Watson
Louise Beavers Bonnie Drew
My Lady of the Congo Lady (a.k.a. Isis), (a basenji dog)

Home media[edit]

Good-bye, My Lady was originally released on VHS in the United States by Warner Home Video, on December 13, 1993. On December 10, 2010, Warner Archive Collection released Good-bye, My Lady as a manufactured on-demand remastered wide-screen DVD-R release.

In an interview for Turner Classic Movies Gretchen Wayne, the daughter-in-law of John Wayne and the current president of Batjac Productions, was asked about a DVD. "I'm not sure who owns Good-bye, My Lady -- it might be Warner Brothers. It's a charming story and it should be released," she said.[5]

References[edit]

External links[edit]