EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|HILLS OF HOME (director: Fred M. Wilcox; screenwriters: William Ludwig/suggested by the Ian MacLaren sketches "Doctor of the Old School"; cinematographer: Charles Schoenbaum; editor: Ralph Winters; music: Herbert Stothart; cast: Edmund Gwenn (Dr. William MacLure), Donald Crisp (Drumsheugh), Tom Drake (Tammas Milton), Janet Leigh (Margit Mitchell), Rhys Williams (Mr. Milton), Reginald Owen (Hopps), Alan Napier (Sir George), Edmond Breon (Jaimie Soutar), Pal (Lassie); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Robert Sisk; MGM; 1948)|
|"Great Lassie pic."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Great Lassie pic, one of the best in the series thanks to the moving performance by Edmund Gwenn as the saintly doctor in the Scottish highland town of Glen Urtach, a remote glen, who selflessly cares for his rural patients. The female Lassie was played by Pal, the talented male collie who was owned and trained by Rudd Weatherwax. Director Fred M. Wilcox ("Lassie Come Home"/"The Secret Garden"/ "Forbidden Planet"), even though noted as a sub-par director, does a fine job here as a storyteller. Writer William Ludwig bases the rosy screenplay on the Ian MacLaren sketches "Doctor of the Old School."
Dr. William MacLure (Edmund
Gwenn), the only doctor in the
glen, is tricked into buying
Lassie, a collie afraid of water, for unpaid bills by the farmer Mr. Milton (Rhys Williams). The spry elderly bachelor doctor tries to
teach her to swim, and decides to bring the collie with him on his
doctor calls for companionship, as a messenger and to carry his
Mr. Milton is upset when he
learns that his only son Tammas (Tom Drake) is apprenticed to MacLure, and drags him home to be a farmer.
When a fearful Lassie refuses
to cross a river, MacLure realizes that Lassie's
water phobia is too much for him to overcome and sells him on the cheap
to an animal act trainer at the local fair, only to buy him back when
he sees how cruel Lassie is treated.
traveling through a
snow storm to visit a dying patient named Saunders, MacLure
must cross a storm-damaged bridge and he somehow gets Lassie to cross
After treating Saunders, who
was giving up for dead, MacLure
shows that he's as good doctor as the city ones, except he doesn't have
MacLure discovers that Tammas has fallen ill
with appendicitis, he treats him with chloroform he gets from a doctor in London and saves the lad's life with an emergency operation
that wouldn't have worked if the old anesthetic of whiskey was used. He then tricks the lad's
reluctant dad to let his son go to Edinburgh to study medicine.
a doctor call at night, MacLure is in danger while lying unconscious in
the snow. Lassie suddenly overcomes her water phobia to cross a raging
river to get help.
end, Tammas marries hometown sweetheart Margit Mitchell (Janet
Leigh) and returns in the spring after four years of medical school to
become the new doctor, as MacLure died over the winter. The old doctor was
lauded by all the folks in the glen, who fondly remember him for his
dedication and concern for everyone in the Scottish hills. Donald
Crisp has a nice part as one of MacLure's
The heart-warming pic makes for excellent
REVIEWED ON 10/15/2010 GRADE: A-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ