Courage of Lassie (1946)

92-93 mins | Drama | 8 August 1946

Director:

Fred M. Wilcox

Writer:

Lionel Houser

Producer:

Robert Sisk

Cinematographer:

Leonard Smith

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Paul Youngblood

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

Working titles for this film were Hold High the Torch and Blue Sierra . The film was copyrighted as Blue Sierra and was reviewed as such by Var . The onscreen credits contain the following written acknowledgment: "We tender our appreciation to the office of the Quartermaster General, Army of the United States, for cooperation in parts of this production." Despite its title, the picture contains no reference to a dog character named Lassie, although the character of "Bill" is played by Lassie. Sep 1944 HR production charts list actor Edmund Gwenn in the cast, but he did not appear in the final film. HR production charts also list actor Paul Langton in the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. According to a Jun 1944 HR news item, the film was originally to star Margaret O'Brien and Lionel Barrymore. For additional information on other films featuring Lassie, please consult the Series Index and see the entry below for Lassie Come Home ... More Less

Working titles for this film were Hold High the Torch and Blue Sierra . The film was copyrighted as Blue Sierra and was reviewed as such by Var . The onscreen credits contain the following written acknowledgment: "We tender our appreciation to the office of the Quartermaster General, Army of the United States, for cooperation in parts of this production." Despite its title, the picture contains no reference to a dog character named Lassie, although the character of "Bill" is played by Lassie. Sep 1944 HR production charts list actor Edmund Gwenn in the cast, but he did not appear in the final film. HR production charts also list actor Paul Langton in the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. According to a Jun 1944 HR news item, the film was originally to star Margaret O'Brien and Lionel Barrymore. For additional information on other films featuring Lassie, please consult the Series Index and see the entry below for Lassie Come Home . More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
11 May 1946.
---
Daily Variety
7 May 46
p. 3.
Film Daily
10 May 46
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jun 44
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Aug 44
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Sep 44
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Sep 44
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Nov 44
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
7 May 46
p. 3, 19
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
9 Dec 44
p. 2216.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
6 Apr 46
p. 2926.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
11 May 46
p. 2985.
New York Times
25 Jul 46
p. 18.
Variety
8 May 46
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Co-dir of animal seq
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost supv
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
Unit mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Mus mixer
Mus mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Matte paintings
Matte paintings, cam
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Research dir
Research asst
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
Assoc
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Titles:
Hold High the Torch
Blue Sierra
Release Date:
8 August 1946
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 24 July 1946
Production Date:
late August 1944--early January 1945
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
25 April 1946
Copyright Number:
LP291
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
92-93
Length(in feet):
8,323
Country:
United States
PCA No:
10595
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

After being separated from his mother, a newborn collie puppy roams the wilderness near a mountain lake looking for food and shelter. The puppy quickly learns to survive the many dangers inherent in nature, including the menacing threat of a mountain lion and the scenting power of a skunk. When a wolf chases him into a fast-moving river, the puppy manages to float to safety on top of a log. One day, the collie happens upon Kathie Merrick, a young girl, sunbathing on the lake shore, and runs off with her clothes. Kathie chases after the puppy and catches up to him at a watering hole. The puppy continues to run, but is stopped when two of Kathie's friends, out on a hunting expedition, accidentally shoot him. When Kathie finds the wounded puppy, she takes him to her sheep rancher friend, Harry MacBain, who dresses the dog's wounds and insures his quick recovery. Kathie tries to convince her mother to train the puppy to become a sheep herder for their ranch, but Mrs. Merrick believes that the dog is a show dog, not a work dog, and sees little value in training it. After naming the dog Bill, Kathie takes him back to Harry, who sees Bill's sheep-herding potential and agrees to train him. Time passes, and Bill grows into adulthood as an effective sheep herder and a loyal companion to Kathie. One day, during a winter snowstorm, some of the Merricks' lambs escape, and Kathie and Bill set out to find them. While walking along a dangerous precipice, Kathie stumbles and falls, but Bill pulls her back up with his teeth. The ... +


After being separated from his mother, a newborn collie puppy roams the wilderness near a mountain lake looking for food and shelter. The puppy quickly learns to survive the many dangers inherent in nature, including the menacing threat of a mountain lion and the scenting power of a skunk. When a wolf chases him into a fast-moving river, the puppy manages to float to safety on top of a log. One day, the collie happens upon Kathie Merrick, a young girl, sunbathing on the lake shore, and runs off with her clothes. Kathie chases after the puppy and catches up to him at a watering hole. The puppy continues to run, but is stopped when two of Kathie's friends, out on a hunting expedition, accidentally shoot him. When Kathie finds the wounded puppy, she takes him to her sheep rancher friend, Harry MacBain, who dresses the dog's wounds and insures his quick recovery. Kathie tries to convince her mother to train the puppy to become a sheep herder for their ranch, but Mrs. Merrick believes that the dog is a show dog, not a work dog, and sees little value in training it. After naming the dog Bill, Kathie takes him back to Harry, who sees Bill's sheep-herding potential and agrees to train him. Time passes, and Bill grows into adulthood as an effective sheep herder and a loyal companion to Kathie. One day, during a winter snowstorm, some of the Merricks' lambs escape, and Kathie and Bill set out to find them. While walking along a dangerous precipice, Kathie stumbles and falls, but Bill pulls her back up with his teeth. The two return home with the wayward lambs, and Mrs. Merrick realizes that Bill would indeed make a fine sheep herding dog. A short time later, Bill narrowly escapes death when a truck driver accidentally hits him on a mountain road. While Bill is taken to the nearest town for help, Kathie searches for her dog in a rowboat. The boat capsizes during a windstorm, but Kathie is rescued by Harry, who had seen the boat tip over from a distance. Several days pass, and while Bill recovers at Dr. Coleman's pet hospital, Kathie loses hope of ever finding him. Coleman, unable to determine Bill's owner, sends him to the Army's War Dog Training Center, where he is renamed Duke by his new master, Sergeant Smitty, and trained to become an army dog on the combat field. When Smitty is shipped overseas to fight the Japanese in the Aleutian Islands, Bill accompanies him. Bill distinguishes himself in battle, but the sound of gunfire eventually proves too traumatic for him and he becomes shell-shocked. Smitty sends Bill home on a train, but Bill escapes into the wilderness en route. His combat experience has made Bill more aggressive, and his predatory instincts drive him to kill some chickens belonging to a rancher. The ranchers chase after Bill, who eventually makes his way back to familiar territory and into Kathie's arms. With Kathie's love, Bill eventually loses his ferocity and returns to his normal state. A court order, however, has been issued to destroy the dog, and a hearing is set to determine the dog's fate. Things look bad for Bill until his Army tattoo is discovered and he is identified as a missing war hero dog. Through Harry's impassioned pleas, the judge grants Bill's freedom and allows the dog to be returned to Kathie. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.