Greyfriars Bobby (film)
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|Directed by||Don Chaffey|
|Produced by||Hugh Attwooll, Walt Disney|
|Written by||Robert Westerby
Eleanor Atkinson (novel)
|Music by||Francis Chagrin|
|Edited by||Peter Tanner|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Distribution|
|July 17, 1961|
Greyfriars Bobby is a 1961 Walt Disney Productions feature film starring Donald Crisp and Laurence Naismith in a story about two Scottish men who compete for the affection of a Skye Terrier named Bobby. The screenplay by Robert Westerby was based upon the 1912 novel Greyfriars Bobby by Eleanor Atkinson which was based, in turn, upon an incident in 19th century Edinburgh involving a dog that came to be known as Greyfriars Bobby. It was the second film based upon Atkinson's novel, the first being Challenge to Lassie in which Crisp also starred. The film was directed by Don Chaffey and shot in England and Scotland. The film has been released to DVD.
Plot and cast
A little Skye Terrier named Bobby is the pet of a Scottish farmer and his wife (Gordon Jackson and Rosalie Crutchley) but the dog loves an old shepherd hired on the farm called Auld Jock (Alex Mackenzie). When money grows scarce on the farm, Auld Jock is fired. He travels to Edinburgh, and Bobby follows him. Auld Jock dies in poverty in an inn and is buried in Greyfriar's Kirkyard. Bobby returns to Auld Jock's grave every night to sleep.
Against the wishes of his wife (Kay Walsh), the graveyard caretaker James Brown (Donald Crisp) tries to shoo Bobby away, but Bobby always finds his way back to the grave. Bobby endears himself to all, especially the neighborhood children. Brown and a restaurant owner, Mr. Traill (Laurence Naismith), compete for the affections of the dog. Brown alleges Traill should pay Bobby's licence fee, which he refuses on principle, not being Bobby's master.
Mr. Traill is summoned to the court for a hearing, where he pleads not guilty. Mr. Brown is also present in the court, but he tells Mr. Traill he is sick, and can't get out of bed. Mr. Traill is told to come back the next day, with Bobby as well.
Bobby's fate rests with the Lord Provost of Edinburgh (Andrew Cruickshank) and, without a license and someone to take responsibility for Bobby, he may be destroyed. The children of Edinburgh contribute their pennies for Bobby's license. Bobby is declared a Freeman of the City and adopted by the populace of Edinburgh. Cast includes Duncan Macrae as Constable Maclean, Freda Jackson as Old Woman Caretaker, Moultrie Kelsall as The Magistrate, Jameson Clark as Constable, and Vincent Winter as Tammy.
Variety commented, "Greyfriars Bobby sets out to melt the heart and does it skillfully. Central character is a little Skye terrier, and this engaging little animal is quite irresistible...Patiently and brilliantly trained, Bobby wraps up the stellar honors for himself and the humans, knowing they don't stand a chance, wisely are content to play chorus. Nevertheless, there are some very effective pieces of thesping, largely by Scottish actors. Laurence Naismith gives a strong, likeable performance as the kindly eating-house owner who takes Bobby under his wing..."
Comic book adaption
There is a statue in Edinburgh, Scotland, to honor Bobby's loyalty.