HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Shazam!
Follow Me
Leto
Fugitive Girls
Missing Link
Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, The
Pet Sematary
Oh... Rosalinda!!
Dumbo
Kaleidoscope
Night Is Short, Walk On Girl
Knight of Shadows: Between Yin and Yang, The
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
Klute
Meow
Killer Crocodile
Nutcracker Prince, The
Secret World of Og, The
Benjamin
Fifth Cord, The
Man Could Get Killed, A
Cyborg 009: Kaiju War
Heavy Trip
Nightmare Weekend
Blue Ice
Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday, The
Incident, The
Hell's Angels
Heaven and Earth
Flatliners
Us
mid90s
Holiday
Lovin' Molly
Manhunt in the City
Click: The Calendar Girl Killer
Teen Witch
Devil's Brigade, The
Luck & Logic
Duel of the Masters
   
 
Newest Articles
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
Things Have Changed: Films You'd Be Insane to Make Now
The Hole in the Ground: Director Lee Cronin Interview
She's Missing: Director Alexandra McGuinness Interview
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
   
 
  Magic of Lassie, The Bow-Wow Down Before HerBuy this film here.
Year: 1978
Director: Don Chaffey
Stars: James Stewart, Mickey Rooney, Stephanie Zimbalist, Michael Sharrett, Alice Faye, Gene Evans, Mike Mazurki, Robert Lussier, Lane Davies, William Flatley, James V. Reynolds, Rayford Barnes, W.D. Goodman, Hank Metheney, Buck Young, David Himes
Genre: Drama, Adventure
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Lassie is a collie who lives on a vineyard estate owned by Clovis Mitchell (James Stewart), with his two grandchildren Chris (Michael Sharrett) and Kelly (Stephanie Zimbalist). They all love the dog, but perhaps young Chris is most attached to it, which makes what occurs next all the more traumatic for the boy. Lassie spots him first, the wealthy businessman Jamison (Pernell Roberts) who is surveying the land with a view to taking it over to grow his own grapes on it. He makes Clovis an offer, but the old man will hear nothing of it, yet Jamison does not take rejection lightly and sets his sights on owning Lassie instead...

The movie dog of the seventies wasn't Lassie at all, he was Benji, the cute mutt who could do all the tricks his predecessor could but was in possession of a certain rebellious attraction that the former world-beating star couldn't hope to live up to. So when it was decided to bring her back - her being played as usual by a he, apparently because male collies' coats photograph better - the producers settled on a non-Benji angle. No, this time the famed pooch was not any ordinary dog, but a doggie deity as the religious angle was shamelessly played up to what was generally recognised at the time as pretty daft.

The magic of the title does not mean Lassie is sawn in half and put back together or escapes from a straitjacket while in a tank of water - although you wouldn't put it past her - no, this is a more spiritual magic that we're dealing with here, with Clovis informng us that she is a gift from God when Jamison produces the papers to claim her. As a representative of the Almighty on Earth, our hairy heroine has been placed here to inspire us into thoughtless devotion to her wondrousness, so when the baddie spirits her away to his gated mansion she can only think of one thing: escape. You cannot lock up Lassie is what we learn here and the soundtrack tells us in song that she is going to be free no matter what.

Yes, this is actually a kind of musical, with tunes written by The Sherman Brothers which explains why when James Stewart is rasping the opening ditty it sounds as if he's about to inform us that it's a jolly holiday with Mary. For some reason the emphasis is on stars older than the story of Lassie herself, so we have Stewart losing his dignity in comically overplayed tearjerking scenes, and in a road movie style the likes of Mickey Rooney as a wrestling agent and Mike Mazurki as his client, the world's oldest wrestler (who bizarrely dons a Harpo Marx wig) show up along Lassie's journey. As if that were not enough, little Chris goes on the run as well, hoping to find the errant hound.

This in spite of the fact that if he'd seen any Lassie movie he'd know that all he need do is wait at home and she would show up there eventually. On Chris's excursion he meets Alice Faye, playing a singing waitress although too many cigarettes have lent her vocals the similar croaking tones of Stewart's. To underline the spiritual connection, the kid has a psychic link to Lassie so there are a surplus of shots of the dog dashing across the countryside overlaid with his tearstained features; to say this is laying it on a bit thick would be an understatement. Meanwhile his sister Zimbalist gets nothing to do, with even her romantic subplot a minor distraction as it's the dog most will be wanting to follow, assuming you have been recruited into her canine cult. Marvel as Lassie plays the banjo (really), saves a kitten and attacks people she doesn't like in a manner that suggests a tranquiliser dart would be the best way to bring her to heel. Then understand why there wasn't another of these for almost twenty years.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2065 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Don Chaffey  (1917 - 1990)

British director best known for directing fantasy favourites Jason and the Argonauts and One Million Years B.C, both of which featured groundbreaking Ray Harryhausen effects. Chaffey also directed Hammer’s Viking Queen, but much of his work was in television, both in the UK (The Prisoner, Man In a Suitcase) and, later, the US (Charlie’s Angels, CHiPs, Airwolf). Also made kids’ favourites Greyfriars Bobby and Pete's Dragon for Disney.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Darren Jones
   

 

Last Updated: