In honor of National Pet Day, we are reprinting this post celebrating that most beloved of pop culture pets, Lassie!
Based on the novel of the same name by Eric Knight, Lassie Come Home first hit theaters on October 7, 1943. It was an immediate sensation for MGM, and the studio followed it up with six sequels over the following decade. What you may not have known is that the dog who played Lassie in this first effort, Pal, was actually a male. That bit of trivia aside, the film still possesses movie magic for anyone who has ever loved an animal or a feel good story. Lassie Come Home follows the Carracloughs, a poor British family in Depression-era Yorkshire as they are heartbreakingly forced to sell their dog Lassie to a wealthy duke (Nigel Bruce) in order to make ends meet. Taken to distant Scotland to start a life with her new family, the courageous canine braves violent storms and the pursuit of dog catchers to make her way home to be with her cherished companion, Joe (Roddy McDowall).
What’s that? I’m not crying, you’re crying.
The film’s charming tale of a boy and his beloved pet went won to be nominated for several Academy Awards, and its lead became a doggone superstar. (Also not hurting matters was the movie’s best in show supporting cast, including Donald Crisp, Elsa Lanchester, and Elizabeth Taylor). Lassie Come Home is available on DVD via the Warner Archive Collection, meaning that you and your family can fall in love with it…either all over again or for the very first time.