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So Dear to My Heart

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So Dear to My Heart
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHarold D. Schuster
Hamilton Luske
Screenplay byJohn Tucker Battle
Adaptation by
Based onMidnight and Jeremiah
by Sterling North
Produced byWalt Disney
Perce Pearce
CinematographyWinton C. Hoch
Edited by
Lloyd L. Richardson
Music byPaul Smith
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release dates
  • November 29, 1948 (Chicago)
  • January 19, 1949 (Indianapolis)[1]
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1.5 million[2]
Box office$3.7 million (U.S. rental) + $575,000 (foreign rental)[3][4]

So Dear to My Heart is a 1948 American live-action/animated comedy-drama film produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. Its world premiere was in Chicago, Illinois, on November 29, 1948. Like 1946's Song of the South, the film combines animation and live action. It is based on the 1943 Sterling North book Midnight and Jeremiah. The book was revised by North to parallel the film's storyline amendments and then re-issued under the same title as the film.

The film was a personal favorite of Walt Disney, since it re-created on film one of the most memorable times of his life, growing up on a small farm in the American Midwest at the turn of the twentieth century. Walt said: "So Dear was especially close to me. Why, that's the life my brother and I grew up with as kids out in Missouri". Walt had intended that this would be the first all live-action Disney feature film, but his distributor, RKO, convinced him that when audiences saw the word "Disney", they expected animation. Thus they split the difference.[5]

So Dear to My Heart was the final film appearance of Harry Carey.



Set in Indiana in 1903, the film tells the tale of Jeremiah Kincaid (Bobby Driscoll) and his determination to raise a black-wool lamb that was once rejected by its mother. Jeremiah names the lamb Danny for the famed race horse Dan Patch (who is also portrayed in the film). Jeremiah's dream of showing Danny at the Pike County Fair must overcome the obstinate objections of his loving yet tough grandmother Granny (Beulah Bondi). Jeremiah's confidant Uncle Hiram (Burl Ives) is the boy's steady ally. Inspired by the animated figures and stories, the boy perseveres.[6]


  • Bobby Driscoll as Jeremiah "Jerry" Kincaid
  • Luana Patten as Tildy
  • Burl Ives as Uncle Hiram Douglas
  • Beulah Bondi as Granny Kincaid
  • Harry Carey as Head Judge at County Fair
  • Raymond Bond as Pete Grundy, Storekeeper
  • Walter Soderling as Grampa Meeker
  • Matt Willis as Mr. Burns, Horse Trainer
  • Spelman B. Collins as Judge
  • Bob Haymes as Singer Bob Haymes


  • John Beal as Adult Jeremiah/Narrator
  • Ken Carson as The Owl
  • Bob Stanton as Danny
  • Marion Darlington as Whistling Sound Effects
  • Clarence Nash as Vocal Sound Effects
  • The Rhythmaires as Vocal Ensemble/Bluebirds

Awards and honors


The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song for Burl Ives's version of the 17th-century English folk song "Lavender Blue", but lost to "Baby, It's Cold Outside" from Neptune's Daughter.

Bobby Driscoll received a special Juvenile Award from the Academy, honoring him as "the outstanding juvenile actor of 1949".[7] In addition to So Dear to My Heart, he had garnered critical acclaim for his dramatic performance in the RKO melodrama The Window.

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in this list:



The train depot in the film was later relocated to Ward Kimball's Grizzly Flats Railroad in his backyard. After the railroad closed, John Lasseter relocated it to the Justi Creek Railway.

Critical response


Film critic Bosley Crowther wrote on The New York Times that "a little aphoristic fantasy (…) has the imagination and special charm which the film, in general, lacks. For, with all its innocence and simplicity, which are commendable on the modern screen, So Dear to My Heart is not distinguished by its story or cinematic style. It is just a pleasant fiction for the kiddies who fancy lively pets and for the oldsters who like to vision childhood in an illusory, kerosene-lamp glow."[9]



The film returned rentals to RKO by 1951 of $2,775,000 with $2,200,000 being generated in the U.S. and Canada.[3]

The film was re-released in 1964 and earned an estimated $1.5 million in rentals in the U.S. and Canada.[4]

So Dear to My Heart was released on home video in 1986. It was then re-released in 1992 and released on video in 1994 as part of the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection. The film was originally planned for a US DVD release as part of the Walt Disney Gold Classic Collection, but was cancelled, with no particular reason given. Six years after seeing a region 2 DVD release, it was released in the US on DVD in July 2008 as a Disney Movie Club Exclusive.

In Italy, So Dear to My Heart was released on home video in 1997.[10] It was re-released on DVD format in 2003.[11]



In the DVD's bonus material, it is stated that the formerly Frontierland Station is an exact replica of the railroad station built for So Dear To My Heart and remains in Disneyland today, although it now belongs to New Orleans Square. The original prop ended up in the hands of Disney Animator Ward Kimball, which he used for his Grizzly Flats Railroad. The station would later be acquired by former Pixar film director John Lasseter, moving them to his private Justi Creek Railway.[12][13]

See also



  1. ^ "Disney Premiere Here to Be Hollywood Style". The Indianapolis News. January 7, 1949. p. 21. Retrieved August 14, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ "109-Million Investment by H'Wood in Current Technicolor Features". Variety. February 18, 1948. p. 7.
  3. ^ a b "Richard B. Jewell's RKO film grosses, 1929–51: The C. J. Trevlin Ledger: A comment". Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Volume 14, Issue 1, 1994. Domestic earnings $2.2 million; Foreign earnings $575,000.
  4. ^ a b "Big Rental Pictures of 1964", Variety, January 6, 1965, p. 39. 1964 revenue anticipation: $1.5 million
  5. ^ Korkis, Jim. "Behind the Scenes: So Dear to My Heart". The Walt Disney Family Museum.
  6. ^ Lockhart, Jane. "Looking at Movies: So Dear to My Heart". The Rotarian. February 1949, p.36.
  7. ^ "22nd Academy Awards". Oscars.org. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  8. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  9. ^ Crowther, Bosley (January 31, 1949). "'So Dear to My Heart', a Disney Feature-Length Production, New Bill at the Palace". The New York Times.
  10. ^ "Tanto Caro al Mio Cuore - VHS Disney Video Novembre 1997". June 15, 2021.
  11. ^ "Tanto Caro al Mio Cuore - DVD Buena Vista 2003". September 8, 2020.
  12. ^ Amendola (2015), p. 133.
  13. ^ Maddaus, Gene (June 8, 2018). "John Lasseter Will Exit Disney at the End of the Year". Variety. Archived from the original on January 29, 2019. Retrieved February 2, 2019.