Son of Lassie

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Son of Lassie
Son of Lassie - 1945 - Poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by S. Sylvan Simon
Produced by Samuel Marx
Written by Jeanne Bartlett
Starring Pal (credited as Lassie)
Peter Lawford
Donald Crisp
June Lockhart
Nigel Bruce
Music by Herbert Stothart
Cinematography Charles Edgar Schoenbaum
Edited by Ben Lewis
Production
  company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s)
  • April 20, 1945 (1945-04-20)
Running time 100 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Son of Lassie is a 1945 feature film produced by MGM based on characters created by Eric Knight, and starring Peter Lawford, Donald Crisp, June Lockhart and Pal (credited as Lassie). A sequel to Lassie Come Home, the film focuses on the now adult Joe Carraclough after he joins the Royal Air Force during the World War II and is shot down over Nazi-occupied Norway along with stowaway, Lassie's son "Laddie" – played by Pal. It was released theatrically on April 20, 1945.

Plot[edit]

In Yorkshire, England, at the estate of the Duke of Rudling, the British Army converted the grounds into a training camp for war dogs. The camp is placed under the supervision of Sam Carraclough, the kennel caretaker, who immediately begins the process of selecting the best dogs for training, including Laddie, the young pup of the champion collie, Lassie. Joe Carraclough, now an adult, joins the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Second World War. Departing for training school, he is forced to leave behind his dog Lassie and her pup, Laddie.

Laddie, being considered as a "war dog", follows Joe to training school and then stows away on his master's bomber, just as it takes off on a dangerous mission over Nazi-occupied Norway. The two are forced to parachute when hit by enemy fire. Laddie seeks help for his injured master and while they are separated with Joe being captured, the dog is pursued by enemy soldiers, first being sheltered by young Norwegian children and then by a freedom-fighter who is killed. Laddie reaches the prisoner-of-war camp where his master had been taken.

The German guards use Laddie to seek out his master who had escaped. In his search for Joe who is forced into a labor detail on a coastal gun emplacement, Laddie is reunited with his master and thereafter, the two race for their lives to reach friendly lines as the Nazis pursue them. Finally free, both Joe and Laddie make their way back to the Rudling estate to reunite with Lassie, Sam Carraclough, Joe's father and Priscilla, the Duke of Rudling's granddaughter.

Main cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Produced under the working title, Laddie, Son of Lassie, the film originally had Elsa Lanchester playing the role of the adult Priscilla. Shortly after filming began, June Lockhart took over the role.[1] It was the first movie filmed using the Technicolor Monobook method.[2]

Principal filming took place from May to November 1944,[citation needed] in various locations throughout western Canada, including Vancouver Island and Christopher Point in British Columbia, Banff National Park in Alberta, as well as Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Los Angeles in the United States.[1][3][page needed]

The wartime airfield scenes were shot at the air base at Patricia Bay which is now Victoria International Airport.[4] The aircraft used included Curtiss P-40 Warhawk fighters, Bristol Bolingbroke and Lockheed Ventura bombers of the Royal Canadian Air Force.[5]

According to the Hollywood Reporter, John Charles Reed sued MGM in October 1947 for plagiarism, claiming the film script was based on his 1943 story "Candy". The jury disagreed and the suit was dismissed.[1]

The movie reportedly popularized the name "Lad" for male dogs.[6] Pal, the original male collie who played Lassie in Lassie Come Home (1943) played Laddie. A 20-year old June Lockhart, whose screen career had consisted of bit parts, had a more meaningful connection to the iconic Lassie story when in 1958, she took on the role of Ruth Martin, who adopts orphan Timmy (Jon Provost) in the long-running (CBS, 1954–1971) TV series "Lassie".

Release[edit]

Son of Lassie was released to theaters on April 20, 1945. A VHS home video release came on September 1, 1998.[7] It was first released to Region 1 DVD by Warner Home Video on August 24, 2004.[8] It was re-released on November 7, 2006 in a three-movie, 2-disc set along Lassie Come Home and Courage of Lassie.[9]

Reception[edit]

Region 1 DVD cover

Bosley Crowther in the New York Times of June 11, 1945, felt the sequel to Lassie Come Home fell short of "being a worthy heir to the champion" and further noted, "The resulting film, which, while it undoubtedly will be a delight for dog lovers, evolves mainly as a lengthy, contrived and only occasionally suspenseful melodrama handsomely dressed in the lovely polychromes of Technicolor." He praised the main players and concluded, "it is the winsome Laddie and Lassie who romp away with the acting laurels of this pretty but incredible picture."[10]

Variety characterized the principal actors as "excellent" but the film was "sticky sentiment, and flamboyant adventures, carry[ing] sufficient interest to move it along." [11]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b c "Son of Lassie Notes." TCM Movie Database: Turner Classic Movies, Retrieved: September 18, 2009.
  2. ^ Haines 2003, p. 28.
  3. ^ Collins, Ace. Lassie: A Dog's Life, The First Fifty Years. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. ISBN 978-0-14-023183-0.
  4. ^ "History." British Columbia Aviation Museum. Retrieved: March 5, 2011.
  5. ^ Farmer 1984, p. 226.
  6. ^ Junker 2005, p. 108.
  7. ^ "Son of Lassie."[VHS] (1945) Amazon.com. Retrieved: September 18, 2009.
  8. ^ "New on DVD." USA Today, August 27, 2004, p. 04e. ISSN 07347456.
  9. ^ "Lassie Come Home/Son of Lassie/Courage of Lassie (1946)." Amazon.com. Retrieved: September 18, 2009.
  10. ^ Crowther, Bosley. "It's in the Bag (1945)." The New York Times, June 11, 1945.
  11. ^ "Review: Son of Lassie." Variety, 1945. Retrieved: March 5, 2011.
Bibliography

External links[edit]