The Journey of Natty Gann (1985)

PG | 100 mins | Adventure | 11 October 1985

Director:

Jeremy Kagan

Producer:

Mike Lobell

Cinematographer:

Dick Bush

Production Designer:

Paul Sylbert
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HISTORY

According to the 20 Jun 1984 Var, the Walt Disney Pictures production, then titled Natty Gann, was set to begin filming in western Canada in Aug 1984.
       The 4 Jul 1984 Var reported that over 300 teenagers were seen by casting director, Janet Hirsenson, for the role of “Natty.” However, production notes in AMPAS library files claimed 2,000 hopefuls were seen before fourteen-year-old newcomer, Meredith Salenger, was chosen.
       Producer Mike Lobell hired several Academy Award-winning crewmembers for the $8 million picture, including production designer Paul Sylbert, costume designer Albert Wolsky, and cinematographer Richard Bush, according to the 24 Aug 1984 HR.
       Principal photography began 25 Aug 1984 at the Yaletown-Vancouver Studio Center complex, and was scheduled to continue for twelve weeks in British Columbia, Canada, as reported by the 5 Sep 1984 Var. The script was the first original screenplay by Jeanne Rosenberg, who previously co-wrote The Black Stallion (1979, see entry) according to the 24 Aug 1984 HR.
       Noting the title change to The Journey of Natty Gann, the 8 Oct 1985 HR reported that producer Mike Lobell had a challenging time getting the small picture made, with its unknown cast and original story. Walt Disney initially agreed to a limited $7.5 million budget with half-fees for Lobell and director Jeremy Kagan. During postproduction, Disney underwent a management upheaval when Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg took charge. The new executives were impressed by the rough cut, and agreed to a major promotional campaign. The studio signed actress Salenger to a one-year ... More Less

According to the 20 Jun 1984 Var, the Walt Disney Pictures production, then titled Natty Gann, was set to begin filming in western Canada in Aug 1984.
       The 4 Jul 1984 Var reported that over 300 teenagers were seen by casting director, Janet Hirsenson, for the role of “Natty.” However, production notes in AMPAS library files claimed 2,000 hopefuls were seen before fourteen-year-old newcomer, Meredith Salenger, was chosen.
       Producer Mike Lobell hired several Academy Award-winning crewmembers for the $8 million picture, including production designer Paul Sylbert, costume designer Albert Wolsky, and cinematographer Richard Bush, according to the 24 Aug 1984 HR.
       Principal photography began 25 Aug 1984 at the Yaletown-Vancouver Studio Center complex, and was scheduled to continue for twelve weeks in British Columbia, Canada, as reported by the 5 Sep 1984 Var. The script was the first original screenplay by Jeanne Rosenberg, who previously co-wrote The Black Stallion (1979, see entry) according to the 24 Aug 1984 HR.
       Noting the title change to The Journey of Natty Gann, the 8 Oct 1985 HR reported that producer Mike Lobell had a challenging time getting the small picture made, with its unknown cast and original story. Walt Disney initially agreed to a limited $7.5 million budget with half-fees for Lobell and director Jeremy Kagan. During postproduction, Disney underwent a management upheaval when Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg took charge. The new executives were impressed by the rough cut, and agreed to a major promotional campaign. The studio signed actress Salenger to a one-year feature and television deal.
       According to the 24 Oct 1985 DV, Disney’s distribution campaign was based on word of mouth from the film festival circuit, followed by a limited six city release. The picture opened on 27 Sep 1985 with 200 prints, but soon expanded to 278 theaters and grossed $3,194,595. The 3 Jan 1986 HR reported a New York City release was set for 17 Jan 1986. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
24 Oct 1985
p. 1, 13.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Aug 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Sep 1985
p. 3, 21.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Oct 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jan 1986.
---
Los Angeles Times
11 Oct 1985
p. 1, 19.
New York Times
17 Jan 1986
p. 8.
Variety
20 Jun 1984.
---
Variety
4 Jul 1984.
---
Variety
5 Sep 1984.
---
Variety
18 Sep 1985
p. 18, 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Walt Disney Pictures presents
A Lobell-Bergman Production
A Jeremy Kagan Film
Produced in association with Silver Screen Partners II
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Co-assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Key grip
Gaffer
Best boy
Dolly grip
2d cam op
2d cam op
Still photog
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Art dept buyer
Asst to Mr. Sylbert
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Const coord
Art dresser
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward master
Ward asst
Cost dept supv
MUSIC
Mus scoring mixer
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd mixer
Boom op
Re-rec mixer
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff man
Spec eff man
Main and end titles des by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist and prosthetics
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Prod coord
Prod coord
Asst to Mr. Lobell
Secy to Mr. Lobell
Prod asst
Prod asst
First aid
Addl casting
Extra casting
Casting assoc
Unit pub
Jed owned and trained by
Asst trainer
Asst trainer
Coyote wrangler
Wrangler
Transportation coord
Driver capt
STAND INS
Stunt double for "Natty"
Stunt double for "Harry"
Stunt coord
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Natty Gann
Release Date:
11 October 1985
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 11 October 1985
New York opening: 17 January 1986
Production Date:
25 August--17 November 1984 in Vancouver and Calgary
Copyright Claimant:
Walt Disney Productions
Copyright Date:
30 September 1985
Copyright Number:
PA261201
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
100
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
Canada, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27824
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1935, a group of unemployed men in Chicago, Illinois, meet to discuss fair wages. Sol Gann leads the rally, and brings his daughter, Natty, along. When Natty’s friend Frankie calls her father a “commie,” she punches him in the face and the two engage in a fistfight. As her father tends to her wounds, Natty asks what a “commie” is. Later, Sol waits in an unemployment line, while Natty spends time with her friends, and finds a puppy in an alley. Sol is offered a job at a lumber mill in Washington, on the condition that he leaves that evening and is given only one bus ticket. Initially, he turns down the job, refusing to leave his fourteen-year-old daughter behind. However, the threat of continued unemployment makes him accept. Sol frantically searches for Natty before his bus leaves, but he cannot find her. He arranges for his landlady, Connie, to look after her, and promises to send bus fare for Natty in a few weeks. Natty returns with the puppy, and Connie gives her a letter from her father. Inside, she finds a locket that belonged to her deceased mother. In time, Natty witnesses Frankie and his family being evicted by police. The townsfolk riot, and when Natty gets involved, she is apprehended by police. Connie becomes angry when she is ordered to appear in court for Natty’s misdeeds, and locks the girl in her room, then reports her as an abandoned child to the authorities. Overhearing the telephone call, Natty sneaks out the window and leaves the puppy with her friend Sherman. ... +


In 1935, a group of unemployed men in Chicago, Illinois, meet to discuss fair wages. Sol Gann leads the rally, and brings his daughter, Natty, along. When Natty’s friend Frankie calls her father a “commie,” she punches him in the face and the two engage in a fistfight. As her father tends to her wounds, Natty asks what a “commie” is. Later, Sol waits in an unemployment line, while Natty spends time with her friends, and finds a puppy in an alley. Sol is offered a job at a lumber mill in Washington, on the condition that he leaves that evening and is given only one bus ticket. Initially, he turns down the job, refusing to leave his fourteen-year-old daughter behind. However, the threat of continued unemployment makes him accept. Sol frantically searches for Natty before his bus leaves, but he cannot find her. He arranges for his landlady, Connie, to look after her, and promises to send bus fare for Natty in a few weeks. Natty returns with the puppy, and Connie gives her a letter from her father. Inside, she finds a locket that belonged to her deceased mother. In time, Natty witnesses Frankie and his family being evicted by police. The townsfolk riot, and when Natty gets involved, she is apprehended by police. Connie becomes angry when she is ordered to appear in court for Natty’s misdeeds, and locks the girl in her room, then reports her as an abandoned child to the authorities. Overhearing the telephone call, Natty sneaks out the window and leaves the puppy with her friend Sherman. She jumps onto a moving train headed west, to find her father. Meanwhile, Sol writes Natty a letter with the money for bus fare. On the train, Natty meets a young man named Harry, and follows his lead as he jumps from the train to avoid being arrested. Natty finds herself alone in an unfamiliar town, and wanders into a dogfight, where she watches the violence in horror. She helps the winning dog, which is actually a wolf, to escape, and is punched by an unknown man. She returns to sleep in a train car at the depot, and finds the menacing wolf hiding there. Natty quickly moves to an empty car, but leaves a scrap of food behind. Elsewhere, Sol telephones Natty and learns that she has run away. When Natty’s train becomes derailed and catches fire, she follows the wolf into the nearby woods. She continues her journey on foot, as the wolf secretly follows. Sensing her hunger, the wolf lays a dead rabbit at her feet, and returns to hiding. Natty finds shelter in a cave during a rainstorm, and refuses to leave when the wolf enters. She later awakens curled up beside the wolf. Later, she follows the wolf as it leads her to a home, where she is welcomed by a farmer and his wife, and offered shelter. The wolf keeps watch over Natty from the woods, and when it sees a pack of coyotes attack the farmer’s chickens, it attacks them. As the farmer shoots his rifle at the fighting animals, Natty saves the wolf, and flees with it into the woods. Elsewhere, Sol learns that Natty’s wallet was found under a train in Colorado. Arriving in a town, Natty meets a group of young vagrants who offer to help her. Protected by the wolf, she follows the boys to their shelter, where they tell her the rules of their “family." Together, they attempt to steal a bull from a farm, and Natty bravely steps into the pen alone. The wolf helps her herd it into the boys’ truck. As the farmer pursues, Natty is left behind and arrested, and placed in a jail-like orphanage. As the wolf watches her from outside the gate, it is captured and taken away. When Natty protests, she is locked in a closet. Elsewhere, Sol travels to the wreckage site to search for his daughter, refusing to believe that she is dead. Natty escapes through a vent and searches for the blacksmith whose truck carried the wolf away. The blacksmith, Charlie Linfield, is kind to Natty, returns the wolf, and offers her a ride out of town. At a train station, Charlie gives her food and some money for a train ticket. When Natty overhears the ticket agent reporting her whereabouts over the telephone, she assumes he is turning her over to the authorities, and she flees. Meanwhile, the disheartened Sol returns to work as a logger, and asks for the dangerous position of being a tree topper, known as “widows’ work." Natty accepts a ride with a man in a truck, and when he makes a pass at her, the wolf, riding in the back, breaks through the rear window and attacks him. In a squatter’s village, Natty steals food but is stopped by Harry, the vagrant she met on the train in Chicago. He offers to share his beans with her. When the wolf is agitated, Natty warns that something is wrong, and they flee as protesters burn the village. Harry and Natty jump on a moving train, and the wolf leaps on at the final moment. Harry tells Natty he is seeking work out West, and shares that his father was trampled to death in an unemployment line. After arriving in Seattle, Harry is hired for a job in California, and asks Natty to go with him. She wants to join him, but insists on finding her father first, even though Harry warns that her father abandoned her. They part ways at a bus station, and Natty kisses him goodbye. Later, Natty goes to a lumber mill in search of her father, and learns he may be at a base camp. She is warned not to go there, but sneaks a ride in the back of a truck. Elsewhere, Sol volunteers for a dangerous job handling dynamite. At the camp, she searches for her father, and writes a letter to Harry. The wolf hears other wolves howling and runs into the woods, stopping briefly to say goodbye to Natty, who encourages the animal’s departure. A woman at the camp discovers her father’s whereabouts and presents Natty with a letter from her father that was marked “return to sender.” Inside, Natty finds a train ticket and a heartfelt apology for leaving her so abruptly. The woman sends Natty by truck further into the mountains where her father is stationed. When the truck breaks down, Natty runs the rest of the way. After an explosion, Natty sees her unharmed father drive past in the back of a truck. She calls out to him, but he does not hear, and she collapses in tears. However, she turns around to find her father, and they run to each other and embrace. +

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

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