Christmas Movies II

film 18 of 25


Film Review by Dean Duncan Jul 6, 2015

Eric Knight’s original novel is dear and nice and nearly a classic. Liz Taylor appears in the original film version. There are a number of well-meaning sequels. None of any of these come close to this whopping thing. The synopsis suggests simple, sentimental kids’ story, which is true. But this is the simplicity of saga, this is sentiment, not sentimentality, this is kids are of the kingdom of heaven. True, Gregor Fisher’s turn doesn’t quite measure up to the Glaswegian glories of Rab C. Nesbit. There—the only flaw I can think of.

The humans, in town, take us through the assumptions behind the class system, as well as the way it functions. Rotten privilege, resilient workers, some melodrama reinforcing the message, but also room made for some nice, necessary cross-class detente. Dramatically affecting, and educational too. As for Lassie, she shows us the Mythical Journey, the Elements, the perfidy of man and the Kindness of Strangers. Could you see this ending coming a mile away? Well, maybe that’s the same as your confidence in an impending, millennial day. It’s not obvious, it’s inevitable. Lassie is beautifully writ and designed and shot and especially acted. Particularly by the dog. (And Peter Dinklage.) Overall, altogether, boom!! Don’t see it, or dismiss it, and you don’t get to complain about no appropriate movies for families ever again.