LASSIE COME HOME (1943) B/W 90m dir: Fred M. Wilcox
w/Roddy McDowall, Donald Crisp, Edmund Gwenn, Dame May Whitty, Nigel Bruce, Elsa Lanchester, Elizabeth Taylor, J. Pat O'Malley, Ben Webster, Alec Craig
Story of an impoverished family which sells a prize collie is warm, sentimental, and beautifully done.
From The Movie Guide: "This low-budget effort wasn't expected to do much at the box office, but moviegoers fell in love with the title collie, and many sequels, a radio program, and a long-running TV show followed. ...
"This Lassie, actually a male dog named Pal, was bought for $10 by trainer Rudd Weatherwax, who had worked for MGM training animals for PECK'S BAD BOY and THE CHAMP. The studio wanted a female dog and Weatherwax was chosen to find a good one, but when shooting began the female shed heavily and was replaced by Pal. Contrary to popular belief, this was not Taylor's first film. She had been signed to a brief contract by Universal and appeared in THERE'S ONE BORN EVERY MINUTE the year before. Even more than costar Roddy McDowall, the seductive Taylor has that uncanny quality some child actors possess of looking and sometimes acting quite like an adult, even at a pre-adolescent age. The presence of these kids, and that of the well-trained pooch, quite upstage the endearing and highly professional actors surrounding them. Still, this film is a fairly well-balanced effort, and if you're in the mood for an evening of obvious sentiment, this boy-and-his-dog film works quite well."