The Yearling (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Clarence Brown|
|Produced by||Sidney Franklin|
|Screenplay by||Paul Osborn|
|Based on||The Yearling
by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Claude Jarman, Jr.
|Music by||Herbert Stothart arrangement of Frederick Delius's music|
|Cinematography||Arthur E. Arling
|Editing by||Harold F. Kress|
|Running time||128 minutes|
|Box office||over $7 million|
The Yearling is a 1946 Technicolor family film drama made by MGM. It was directed by Clarence Brown and produced by Sidney Franklin. The screenplay was by Paul Osborn and John Lee Mahin (uncredited), adapted from the novel of the same name by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. It tells the story of a boy who adopts a fawn as a pet and stars Gregory Peck, Jane Wyman, Claude Jarman, Jr., Chill Wills and Forrest Tucker.
The Yearling won Academy Awards for Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Color (Cedric Gibbons, Paul Groesse, Edwin B. Willis) and Best Cinematography, Color and was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Gregory Peck), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Jane Wyman), Best Director, Best Film Editing and Best Picture. Jarman, who gets the most screen time, was awarded a special "Juvenile Oscar".
Another adaptation of Rawlings' novel was produced for television and first aired on CBS in 1994. This version starred Peter Strauss, Jean Smart and Wil Horneff as Penny, Ory, and Jody Baxter, respectively.
Ezra "Penny" Baxter (Gregory Peck), once a Confederate soldier, and his wife Ora (Jane Wyman), are pioneer farmers near Lake George, Florida in 1878, thirteen years after the American Civil War ended. Their son, Jody (Claude Jarman, Jr.), a boy in his pre-teen years, is their only surviving child. Jody has a wonderful relationship with his warm and loving pa. Ora, however, is still haunted by the deaths of the three other children of the family: she is very somber and hard-hearted and is afraid that Jody will end up dying if she shows her parental love to him. Jody finds her somewhat unloving and unreasonable.
With all of his siblings dead and buried, Jody longs for a pet to play with and care for. Penny is sympathetic and understanding, but Ora is disgusted. One day, when a rattle snake bites Penny, they kill a doe and use its organs to draw out the poison. Jody asks to adopt the doe's orphaned fawn. Penny permits it, but warns Jody that the fawn will have to be set free when it grows up.
Jody goes to ask his frail friend Fodder-Wing to name the fawn only to find he has just died. However, Fodder-Wing's older brother tells Jody that Fodderwing had said that if he had a fawn he would name him Flag—for the critter's waving white tail.
Soon, Jody and Flag are inseparable. One year later, Flag has grown up and becomes a total nuisance to the household and farm; he eats newly-grown corn, destroys fences, and tramples on tobacco crops. Penny orders Jody to take the deer out into the woods and kill it with a rifle. Jody takes the deer out, but does not have the courage to kill it. Instead, he orders the deer to go away and never return. But Flag comes back to their property. Finally, Ora (whom Jody believes had always hated his pet) takes the gun and shoots it, but only wounds the deer. Penny orders Jody to put the deer out of its misery. Rather than let his pet deer be in agonizing pain, he follows his father's orders.
The loss of Jody's beloved pet deer proves too much for him to handle: Overwhelmed with anger and despair, he runs away from home. Three days later, he is rescued by a friendly boat captain and returns home. He and Penny quickly make up. Penny tells him that Ora had been out searching for him. Just before Jody goes to bed, Ora returns and sees that he is back. She becomes filled with happiness and emotion, knowing that her huge fear of losing her last child is now over. She happily runs into Jody's room and showers him with more affection than she ever gave him. She is no longer afraid to show her parental love to him.
- Gregory Peck as Ezra "Penny" Baxter
- Jane Wyman as Ora Baxter
- Claude Jarman, Jr. as Jody
- Chill Wills as Buck Forrester
- Clem Bevans as Pa Forrester
- Margaret Wycherly as Ma Forrester
- Henry Travers as Mr. Boyles
- Forrest Tucker as Lem Forrester
- Donn Gift as Fodderwing
The movie was filmed on location in the Juniper Prairie Wilderness. A hiking trail in the area, "The Yearling Trail," is named after the story, and gives access to sites where the family lived whose stories inspired the novel.
The film earned $5,250,000 in rentals in the US and Canada.
- H. Mark Glancy, 'MGM Film Grosses, 1924-28: The Eddie Mannix Ledger', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 12 No. 2 1992 p127-144 at p140
- "NY Times: The Yearling". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-19.
- "The Yearling (1947) - Full Synopsis". TCM.com. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
- "All Time Domestic Champs", Variety, 6 January 1960 p 34
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Yearling (film).|
- The Yearling at the Internet Movie Database
- The Yearling (film) at allmovie
- The Yearling (film) at the TCM Movie Database