Challenge to Lassie (1949)

76 mins | Comedy-drama | 16 December 1949

Director:

Richard Thorpe

Writer:

William Ludwig

Producer:

Robert Sisk

Cinematographer:

Charles Schoenbaum

Editor:

George White

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Eddie Imazu

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The onscreen credits noted that this film was an M-G-M "Silver Anniversary picture." The following statement appeared at the end of the viewed film: "All scenes involving animals in this picture were made under the supervision and with the cooperation of the American Humane Association." Working titles for this film were Highland Lassie and Greyfriars Bobby . Another film based on Atkinson's novel is the 1961 Disney film Greyfriars Bobby directed by Don Chaffey and starring Donald Crisp (as the caretaker) and Laurence Naismith (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70 ; F6.1963). Some outdoor sequences were filmed in Eureka, CA. For more information on the "Lassie" series, consult the Series Index and see the entry below for Lassie, Come Home ... More Less

The onscreen credits noted that this film was an M-G-M "Silver Anniversary picture." The following statement appeared at the end of the viewed film: "All scenes involving animals in this picture were made under the supervision and with the cooperation of the American Humane Association." Working titles for this film were Highland Lassie and Greyfriars Bobby . Another film based on Atkinson's novel is the 1961 Disney film Greyfriars Bobby directed by Don Chaffey and starring Donald Crisp (as the caretaker) and Laurence Naismith (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70 ; F6.1963). Some outdoor sequences were filmed in Eureka, CA. For more information on the "Lassie" series, consult the Series Index and see the entry below for Lassie, Come Home . More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
29 Oct 1949.
---
Daily Variety
27 Oct 49
p. 3.
Film Daily
31 Oct 49
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Dec 48
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Dec 48
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Dec 48
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jan 49
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Oct 49
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
22 Oct 49
p. 58-59.
New York Times
7 Apr 50
p. 22.
Variety
2 Nov 49
p. 11.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Edmond Breon
And
Harry Martin
Pat O'Moore
Richard Glynn
Eric F. Noonan
Robert Hale
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Assoc
COSTUMES
Men's cost
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec supv
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hair styles designed by
Makeup created by
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor color consultant
Technicolor color consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Greyfriars Bobby by Eleanor Atkinson (New York, 1912).
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Titles:
Highland Lassie
Greyfriars Bobby
Release Date:
16 December 1949
Production Date:
12 December 1948--late January 1949
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
25 October 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2595
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
76
Length(in feet):
6,815
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
13744
SYNOPSIS

In an Edinburgh, Scotland courthouse, in the year 1860, an appeals court trial is underway to determine the fate of a collie named Lassie. As John Traill, the dog's master, pleads his case before the judge, he recalls the time, one year earlier, when he first met Lassie: One day, during an Edinburgh street market fair, John's friend, Jock Gray, discovers the young stray Lassie and, recognizing in her the characteristics of a champion collie, decides to keep the dog until she is claimed by her owner. As Lassie grows to maturity, Jock trains her to help him with his sheep-herding chores. Although Lassie learns fast and proves to be an invaluable friend to Jock, Jock is troubled by the thought that her owner may be looking for her, so he decides to leave Lassie with his boss, MacFarland. Lassie is unhappy in her new home and follows Jock to John's inn, where she scratches at the door until she is let in. John then persuades Jock to take Lassie with him on his journey to the northern part of the country, but tragedy strikes when Jock and Lassie are attacked in an alley by two thieves. Lassie keeps the attackers away, but Jock is injured badly and dies the next day. Instinctively, the orphaned Lassie keeps a watch over Jock's grave in Greyfriars churchyard, and when the caretaker ejects her, she finds her way back to John's inn. Unable to continue caring for the dog, John returns Lassie to MacFarland, but she escapes from his barn once again. Lassie's journey back to the graveyard is a long and treacherous one, but ... +


In an Edinburgh, Scotland courthouse, in the year 1860, an appeals court trial is underway to determine the fate of a collie named Lassie. As John Traill, the dog's master, pleads his case before the judge, he recalls the time, one year earlier, when he first met Lassie: One day, during an Edinburgh street market fair, John's friend, Jock Gray, discovers the young stray Lassie and, recognizing in her the characteristics of a champion collie, decides to keep the dog until she is claimed by her owner. As Lassie grows to maturity, Jock trains her to help him with his sheep-herding chores. Although Lassie learns fast and proves to be an invaluable friend to Jock, Jock is troubled by the thought that her owner may be looking for her, so he decides to leave Lassie with his boss, MacFarland. Lassie is unhappy in her new home and follows Jock to John's inn, where she scratches at the door until she is let in. John then persuades Jock to take Lassie with him on his journey to the northern part of the country, but tragedy strikes when Jock and Lassie are attacked in an alley by two thieves. Lassie keeps the attackers away, but Jock is injured badly and dies the next day. Instinctively, the orphaned Lassie keeps a watch over Jock's grave in Greyfriars churchyard, and when the caretaker ejects her, she finds her way back to John's inn. Unable to continue caring for the dog, John returns Lassie to MacFarland, but she escapes from his barn once again. Lassie's journey back to the graveyard is a long and treacherous one, but she eventually arrives there safely. At the graveyard, Lassie finds herself in trouble with the law as the new, strict police sergeant, Sergeant Davie, threatens to enact a law requiring the destruction of stray dogs not claimed by their legal owners. John goes to court, willing to pay Lassie's license fine to spare her life, but the judge refuses to accept the payment because John cannot prove that he is Lassie's rightful owner. John loses his case, but while preparations are made for an appeal, Lassie escapes from Davie's guard and takes refuge in the soldiers' quarters of a nearby army fortress. The dog is adopted by the soldiers and later makes a daring escape from the walled fortress and returns to the graveyard. John concludes his testimony about how he came to know Lassie, and as the apparently unswayed appeals judge is about to deliver his verdict, the courtroom is stormed by children bearing a sum of money collected to pay for Lassie's license. Things still look bad for Lassie, though, and when a bugle is sounded in the distance, she runs out of the courtroom, which is seen as an indication that she is a wild dog. To prove that she not wild, John leads the judge to Jock's gravesite, where he knows Lassie has gone. Persuaded that Lassie merely responded instinctively to a sound she associated with her owner, the judge agrees to spare Lassie's life by making her a free citizen of Edinburgh, a status exempting her from licensing laws. Furthermore, the judge takes pleasure in assigning Sergeant Davie the task of personally answering questions by passersby relating to Lassie's fame. +

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.