My Friend Flicka (1943)

89-90 mins | Drama | 23 April 1943

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HISTORY

Mary O'Hara's popular book first appeared in condensed versions in the Jan-Feb 1941 issue of Story Magazine and in the Aug 1941 issue of Red Book Magazine . A Nov 1941 LAEx news item announced that My Friend Flicka had been purchased specifically as a vehicle for Roddy McDowall in recognition of the critical acclaim he received for his role in How Green Was My Valley . According to Dec 1941 HR news items, Eugene Forde was originally set to direct the picture, and Michael Wilson had been engaged to work on the screenplay. Information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, indicates that Wilson did not contribute to the finished script, however. A memo in the legal records reveals that Susan Levine was considered for the role of "Hildy." Child actress Diana Hale was borrowed from Warner Bros. for the production, which was filmed on location in Cedar City, UT.
       The film became the center of a major conflict between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), two unions which claimed to have jurisdiction over the employment of photographers working on locations outside of California, according to a series of 1942 HR news items. The situation was further complicated by various regulations enforced by the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), an honorary guild, which maintained a strong alliance with IBEW. Director of photography Edward Cronjager began production on the film, but his removal from the project was demanded by IATSE, to which he ... More Less

Mary O'Hara's popular book first appeared in condensed versions in the Jan-Feb 1941 issue of Story Magazine and in the Aug 1941 issue of Red Book Magazine . A Nov 1941 LAEx news item announced that My Friend Flicka had been purchased specifically as a vehicle for Roddy McDowall in recognition of the critical acclaim he received for his role in How Green Was My Valley . According to Dec 1941 HR news items, Eugene Forde was originally set to direct the picture, and Michael Wilson had been engaged to work on the screenplay. Information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, indicates that Wilson did not contribute to the finished script, however. A memo in the legal records reveals that Susan Levine was considered for the role of "Hildy." Child actress Diana Hale was borrowed from Warner Bros. for the production, which was filmed on location in Cedar City, UT.
       The film became the center of a major conflict between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), two unions which claimed to have jurisdiction over the employment of photographers working on locations outside of California, according to a series of 1942 HR news items. The situation was further complicated by various regulations enforced by the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), an honorary guild, which maintained a strong alliance with IBEW. Director of photography Edward Cronjager began production on the film, but his removal from the project was demanded by IATSE, to which he did not belong. Cronjager was replaced by Virgil Miller, who resigned from IATSE in response to ASC and IBEW protests. Miller was in turn replaced by Dewey Wrigley after IATSE again complained to the studio. Wrigley, who belonged to IATSE, was suspended from the ASC after he accepted the My Friend Flicka job, which meant that he would not be able to work in California upon the company's return from its location site. Both IBEW and IATSE threatened Twentieth Century-Fox with strikes if they were not recognized as possessing sole jurisdiction over first cameramen. For its part, the studio declared that it would hold any hindering organization responsible for the $7,500 per day costs if production was delayed. Upon the company's return to Los Angeles from Utah, the ASC did permit Wrigley to continue working on the picture.
       McDowall and Rita Johnson appeard with George Brent in a 7 Jun 1943 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast of the story. On 4 Nov 1948, Claude Jarmon starred in The Hallmark Playhouse 's radio broadcast of the story. O'Hara wrote two sequels to My Friend Flicka , both of which were filmed by Twentieth Century-Fox. In 1945, McDowall, Johnson, Preston Foster, James Bell and Diana Hale reprised their roles for Thunderhead, Son of Flicka , which was directed by Louis King. In 1948, Robert Arthur, Lloyd Nolan and Geraldine Wall took over the roles of the McLaughlins for Green Grass of Wyoming , which was again directed by King. For its first television production venture, Twentieth Century-Fox made a series based on O'Hara's characters, entitled My Friend Flicka , which ran from 1956 to 1958, first on the CBS network and then the NBC network. The series featured Johnny Washbrook, Anita Louise and Gene Evans as the McLaughlin family. Another adaptation of O'Hara's book, directed by Michael Mayer and entitled Flicka , was released by Twentieth Century Fox in Oct 2006. The 2006 film starred Alison Lohman, Tim McGraw and Maria Bello. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
7 Apr 43
pp. 3-4.
Film Daily
8 Apr 43
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Nov 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Dec 41
p. 3, 7
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jun 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jul 42
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jul 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jul 42
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jul 42
p. 1, 4
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 42
p. 1, 7
Hollywood Reporter
4 Aug 42
p. 1, 6
Hollywood Reporter
5 Aug 42
p. 1, 6
Hollywood Reporter
6 Aug 42
p. 1, 4
Hollywood Reporter
7 Aug 42
p. 1, 6
Hollywood Reporter
10 Aug 42
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Aug 42
p. 1, 22
Hollywood Reporter
17 Aug 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Aug 42
p. 1, 11
Hollywood Reporter
21 Aug 42
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Aug 42
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Sep 42
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Sep 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Oct 42
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Oct 1942.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Oct 42
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Nov 42
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Dec 42
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Mar 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Apr 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Apr 43
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jun 43
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jan 45
p. 1.
Los Angeles Examiner
14 Nov 1941.
---
Motion Picture Herald
10 Apr 1943.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
17 Oct 42
p. 962.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
10 Apr 43
p. 1249.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
29 May 43
p. 1341.
New York Times
27 May 43
p. 21.
Variety
7 Apr 43
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
PRODUCTION MISC
Equine supv
Asst equine supv
Horse trainer
Prod mgr
Constr foreman
Constr
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor dir
Assoc
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara (New York, 1941).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
23 April 1943
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Salt Lake City, UT: 7 April 1943
Production Date:
mid July--8 October 1942
retakes began 3 November 1942
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
23 April 1943
Copyright Number:
LP12022
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
89-90
Length(in feet):
7,970
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
8660
SYNOPSIS

Rob McLaughlin, an unsentimental, disciplined ex-Army man, struggles to make a success of his Wyoming horse ranch. Despite reassurances from his wife Nell, Rob worries that Ken, their ten-year-old son, will never outgrow his dreamy, clumsy nature and become a good student and productive worker. Ken is obsessed with having a colt of his own, but after the boy carelessly causes the horses to stampede as they are being rounded up, Rob angrily rejects Ken's request. Later, Rob frets over the ranch's mounting bills and worries that the herd will be ruined by the "loco" strain introduced by a wild albino stallion. Nell interrupts Rob and pleads with him to give Ken a colt, saying that he needs the opportunity to prove himself and learn responsibility. Rob reluctantly acquiesces, and the next day, Ken chooses the beautiful year-old filly of Rocket, one of the albino strain. Rob voices his disapproval, telling Ken that the filly will be "loco" like her mother, but Ken insists that Rocket's swiftness, and the good sense of Banner, the filly's father, have produced a fine horse. Ken names the filly Flicka, which ranch hand Gus tells him is Swedish for "little girl," and eagerly anticipates winning her friendship. On the day that Flicka and Rocket are to be rounded up, the McLaughlins are visited by neighbor Charley Sargent, who breeds racehorses. Charley is amazed by Rocket's speed and offers to buy her for $500 if Rob can deliver her to his ranch. When Rocket is loaded in the truck, however, she rears in terror and is killed when her head hits the ranch's overhead sign. ... +


Rob McLaughlin, an unsentimental, disciplined ex-Army man, struggles to make a success of his Wyoming horse ranch. Despite reassurances from his wife Nell, Rob worries that Ken, their ten-year-old son, will never outgrow his dreamy, clumsy nature and become a good student and productive worker. Ken is obsessed with having a colt of his own, but after the boy carelessly causes the horses to stampede as they are being rounded up, Rob angrily rejects Ken's request. Later, Rob frets over the ranch's mounting bills and worries that the herd will be ruined by the "loco" strain introduced by a wild albino stallion. Nell interrupts Rob and pleads with him to give Ken a colt, saying that he needs the opportunity to prove himself and learn responsibility. Rob reluctantly acquiesces, and the next day, Ken chooses the beautiful year-old filly of Rocket, one of the albino strain. Rob voices his disapproval, telling Ken that the filly will be "loco" like her mother, but Ken insists that Rocket's swiftness, and the good sense of Banner, the filly's father, have produced a fine horse. Ken names the filly Flicka, which ranch hand Gus tells him is Swedish for "little girl," and eagerly anticipates winning her friendship. On the day that Flicka and Rocket are to be rounded up, the McLaughlins are visited by neighbor Charley Sargent, who breeds racehorses. Charley is amazed by Rocket's speed and offers to buy her for $500 if Rob can deliver her to his ranch. When Rocket is loaded in the truck, however, she rears in terror and is killed when her head hits the ranch's overhead sign. Furious and heartsick, Rob calls horse broker Williams and arranges to sell all of the albino breed, but Ken still refuses to part with Flicka. When Flicka is brought to the corral, however, she also reacts wildly and cuts herself badly on a barbed-wire fence. Ken again refuses to believe that Flicka is as untamable as Rocket and gently tends to the filly while she heals. As time passes, Ken wins Flicka's confidence and is surprised at how readily she allows him to put a halter on her. One of Flicka's cuts becomes infected, however, and she grows so ill that Rob tells Ken that she must be shot to end her suffering. Rob asks Gus to shoot Flicka when Ken is not present, but Ken sees Gus leave for the pasture and begs him to wait until morning. Ken then sneaks down to Flicka's pasture and spends the night holding her as she lies in the lake. In the morning, the cool water has reduced Flicka's fever, but now Ken is seriously ill. Although Rob still wants to shoot Flicka, Nell asks him to wait, and he goes to check on the young horse. Rob shoots at a maurading mountain lion, and when Ken hears the shot, he assumes that Flicka is dead. Unable to kill Flicka, Rob sits with her throughout the night, and it is her warning nicker that alerts him to the reappearance of the mountain lion. Rob kills the beast and in the morning, takes Ken to the pasture to see Flicka. As the boy happily runs to his horse, Rob admits that Flicka has taught Ken responsibility and inspired him to have more patience and faith. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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