JT Film Review

1 – Son of Lassie (1945)

v71434iczpx

Son of Lassie REVIEW

4/5 stars

Director – S. Sylvan Simon

Cast – Peter Lawford, Donald Crisp, June Lockhart, Nigel Bruce

——————–

“Son of Lassie?” I can hear you think. “What the hell?” I can hear you say. But there it is. Son of Lassie. But please, don’t let the title (which makes the movie sound like a corny, ridiculously contrived “sequel-for-the-point-of-a-sequel”) scare you off. While the title is in hindsight not the best, this movie is great family fare.

This sequel to 1943’s Lassie Come Home is just as good as the original (an under-seen classic), but it does differ enough to make it interesting. As in all the best sequels, it is darker than the first. While the obstacles in the first one amounted to at most thugs with sticks, this film throws Lassie and owner Joe Carraclough (now THERE’S a last name to be proud of) against none other than the Nazi’s themselves. And not absurd caricatures of Nazi’s either (which is unexpected, as this was made in the dying years of WW II) but decent portrayals of Nazi’s.

Yes, Nazi’s. That’s typical of this film. It is at heart a dog movie, it’s a warm family movie, but it shoots higher than average films of its ilk. The bad guys are Nazi’s who Joe tries to avoid after he is forced to parachute from a burning reconnaissance plane into the heart of Norway. (Yes, Norway.) Throughout the movie we meet English POW’s, and Norwegian resistance fighters. We watch a peaceful mountain village get the crap bombed out of it, and, what is molassie441re astonishing, we see the aftermath. People crushed under rock carts, etc. (In a Lassie movie? Yes, in a Lassie movie.) This movie treats it’s WW II subject matter JUST as seriously as The Great Escape for example, maybe even more so. The crowning touch is that the theme played throughout is an adaptation of Edvard Greig’s (a Norwegian) most famous piece, the Piano Concerto in A Minor, a great piece which suits the scenery and the action wonderfully.

One sequence in particular deserves special mention, and that is the final chase sequence. Joe and Lassie are running away from a prisoner work camp with a couple dozen of German soldiers in pursuit. They run pell-mell through beautiful Norwegian hills, rocks, and trees (actually filmed in Northern Canada). They hide under rocks, Joe smashes a soldiers head in and returns fire at the Germans. They run and run, until they find themselves on a large wooden bridge with Nazi’s at both ends. With nowhere else to go, Joe grabs Lassie in his arms and jumps the approx. 30 feet down to the raging water below. He falls down small waterfalls and battles rapids, all the way to a friendly fisherman’s house. It is a spectacular scene, guaranteed to leave you breathless (if you’re a kid) or at the very least interested (if you’re a cynical adult).

OVERALL

This is a great movie that happens to be aimed for the family demographic. It can, I believe, be watched and enjoyed by pretty much anyone. Definitely recommended.

——————–

TRAILER

“Son of Lassie” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

—————————————-

Advertisements

April 15, 2009 - Posted by | 4 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Family, Year - 1940-1949 | , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: