Old Yeller

Old Yeller

4.0 2
Director: Robert Stevenson

Cast: Dorothy McGuire, Fess Parker, Tommy Kirk

     
 

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One of Disney's best-loved live action films is the timeless Old Yeller. Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, this is a very nice-looking image that sports dark black levels and richly textured colors. While parts of the picture tend to appear washed or far too soft, overall Disney has done a very commendable job with this transfer. The audio is presented

Overview

One of Disney's best-loved live action films is the timeless Old Yeller. Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, this is a very nice-looking image that sports dark black levels and richly textured colors. While parts of the picture tend to appear washed or far too soft, overall Disney has done a very commendable job with this transfer. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English. While it is certainly nice to get such a classic film in 5.1 Surround, overall the newly mixed soundtrack doesn't add much to the final film. The directional effects are kept to the front and rear channels with only a scant few effects coming from the rear speakers. Also included on this disc are English and Spanish subtitles. Old Yeller is part of Disney's "Vault Disney" two-disc collections, and thus sports a fine array of extra features. Starting off the disc is a chatty commentary track by actors Tommy Kirk, Kevin Corcoran, and Fess Parker, as well as animal expert Bob Weatherwax, which features multiple production stories and anecdotes from the making of the film. A Pluto cartoon titled Bone Trouble (which played before the feature in theaters) should please fans looking to re-create the original theatrical experience. On disc two, there is a production archive which features intriguing news stories on an Old Yeller memorial as well as: a production gallery, trailers, TV spots, production stills, cast and crew biographies, production documents, screenplay excerpts, radio spots, a fun sound studio feature, a foley demo, and a story album for smaller children. A 52-minute TV episode is featured titled "The Best Doggone Dog in the World," and is an entertaining piece of Disney history. Also included on disc two is a small featurette titled "Ranch of the Golden Oak"; a 36-minute reminiscence of Old Yeller titled "Remembering a Classic," with interviews by various cast and crew members; a 15-minute conversation with actor Tommy Kirk; a quick look at some 1957 Disney movies; and a goofy montage about the numerous dogs featured in different Disney films.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Amy Robinson
One of the great boy-and-his-dog yarns, this Disney classic has moved generations of children and adults to tears with its legendary conclusion. The story, based on a novel by Fredrick B. Gipson, concerns a frontier lad (Tommy Kirk) who develops a kinship with a stray mutt as he attempts to carry out his absent father's responsibilities. The horror of rabies and the vulnerability of a mother and two young boys living alone on a remote homestead lend a hint of darkness to this otherwise buoyant coming-of-age tale. Veteran performers Fess Parker and Dorothy McGuire acquit themselves nicely as the loving parents (particularly the delicate McGuire), but the kids carry the film. Future teen idol Kirk was at his most endearing here, cute without being cloying, and convincing as a child forced to accept an adult role for which he is not sure he's ready. And, of course, there is Old Yeller himself. One of the screen's most charismatic canines, he cocks his head and fights bears in a manner that will forever win the hearts of young viewers.
Barnes & Noble - Donald Liebenson
"Who cried at the end of 'Old Yeller?' " Bill Murray memorably asked the troops in Stripes. Everyone cries at the end of Old Yeller, but the tears are earned honestly in this quintessential boy-and-his dog adventure based on Fred Gipson's coming-of-age novel. Set in 1860s Texas, the film stars Tommy Kirk as Travis, a 15-year-old left in charge of the homestead while his father (Fess Parker of Davy Crockett fame) is away on a cattle drive. Into Travis's life strays Yeller, the "best doggone dog in the West," who becomes a faithful friend and family protector. Disc One of this definitive, two-disc "Vault Disney" edition contains a pristine, restored version of the film presented in the wide-screen format, as well as the Pluto cartoon "Bone Trouble." Cast members Kirk, Parker, and Kevin Corcoran -- who portrays Travis's rowdy younger brother -- provide audio commentary. Disc Two contains a wealth of archival goodies that make this DVD a breed apart. Baby boomers will especially enjoy walking down memory lane with Kirk, who reminisces about making such films as Swiss Family Robinson, The Absent-Minded Professor, and The Shaggy Dog. There are also segments about the making of Old Yeller; a visit to the "Ranch of the Golden Oak," where Old Yeller was filmed; and a montage of Disney Dogs. The "Vault Disney" collection also includes Pollyanna, Swiss Family Robinson, and The Parent Trap.. With awesome special features and a classic story, this revitalized film is sure to win over a new breed of fans.
All Movie Guide
Old Yeller is one of the best-loved live-action features ever made by the Walt Disney Company. Unabashedly weepy, the film is genuine enough to have become a family classic. Director Robert Stevenson coaxes some fine performances from his cast and does an admirable job recreating farm life in the mid-1800s. The film inspired a number of copycats, and its influence can still be felt in almost any movie that prominently features an animal. Disney began to move away from animation after the success of 1950's Treasure Island; Yeller was one of many live-action hits directed by Stevenson, including Kidnapped, The Absent-Minded Professor, and, most notably, Mary Poppins. Yeller spawned an inferior sequel, Savage Sam, featuring much of the same cast but a different director.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/07/2002
UPC:
0786936143843
Original Release:
1957
Rating:
G
Source:
Walt Disney Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[THX-Supervised Mastering, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
1:24:00

Special Features

Audio commentary with Tommy Kirk, Fess Parker, Bob Weatherwax, and Kevin Corcoran; Original theatrical animated short, "Bone Trouble"; "Old Yeller: Remembering a Classic"; Conversations with Tommy Kirk; "Dogs!"; "Ranch of the Golden Oak"; Production archives; 1957 Disney Studio album

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Dorothy McGuire Katie Coates
Fess Parker Jim Coates
Tommy Kirk Travis Coates
Kevin Corcoran Arliss Coates
Chuck Connors Burn Sanderson
Jeff York Bud Searcy
Beverly Washburn Lisbeth Searcy
Spike Old Yeller

Technical Credits
Robert Stevenson Director
William Anderson Associate Producer
Charles P. Boyle Cinematographer
Gertrude Casey Costumes/Costume Designer
Carroll Clark Art Director
Jerome Courtland Songwriter
Walt Disney Producer
Gil George Songwriter
Fred Gipson Screenwriter
Stanley E. Johnson Editor
Chuck Keehne Costumes/Costume Designer
Emile Kuri Set Decoration/Design
Fred MacLean Set Decoration/Design
Pat McNalley Makeup
William Tunberg Screenwriter
Clifford Vaughan Musical Direction/Supervision
Oliver Wallace Score Composer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Old Yeller
1. Opening Credits / "Old Yeller" [2:26]
2. Cash Money [4:18]
3. That Old Stray [3:22]
4. "Looks Like We've Got Us a Dog" [7:25]
5. Old Yeller and The Bear [7:02]
6. Mr. Searcy and Elizabeth Visit [10:14]
7. A New Calf [4:51]
8. Mr. Sanderson's Dog [7:31]
9. Hot Tracks [2:35]
10. On the Mend [:32]
11. A Mad Wolf [7:09]
12. "He Was My Dog" [5:36]
13. It's Not a Thing You Can Forget [6:25]
14. Young Yeller [5:54]

Customer Reviews

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Old Yeller 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Old Yeller' is the heart-wrenching family drama about two brothers, Travis (Tommy Kirk) and Arliss Coates (Kevin Corcoran) and their faithful golden retriever - Yeller. When the boys¿ father, Jim (Fess Parker) leaves on an expedition, mother Katie (Dorothy McGuire) becomes the head of the household. This is one of Disney¿s first attempts at capturing the great outdoors and vitality of the old frontier plains and it is one of their enduring live action masterpieces. Arliss is always getting into trouble ¿ engaging wild bears and skunks and other critter in the brush, only to be saved in the nick of time by Yeller. However, when Yeller contracts rabies it is left up to Travis to do the humane thing and put his best friend out of misery. Upon its initial release the film did phenomenal box office. And there are still those who get a lump in their throats and a tear in their eye when this heartbreaking family drama and coming of age flick is mentioned in mixed company. Unfortunately for DVD-philes, this isn't Disney's best despite being advertised as part of their new 2-disc ¿Vault Disney¿ series. In fact, visually it's not even close to what a film like 'Old Yeller' truly deserves. For starters, the print used to master this DVD is very softly focused while still managing to be riddled with edge enhancement, aliasing and shimmering of fine details. There's a lot of pixelization throughout that really breaks up fine detail. Color is poorly balanced, betraying the lushness of many of the outdoor scenes, with greens, in grass and trees shifting color from brownish beige to muddy beige and then back again. Flesh tones are never natural but appear too, too orange. Fine detail is generally lost in the darker scenes. The audio has been remixed to stereo but is very, very strident and forward sounding. At times it¿s painful on the ears and really doesn't hold in comparison to the fidelity of the period. Disney does gets top marks for their supplemental materials. We get documentaries, isolated scores, vintage advertising and short subjects, a gallery of stills, trailers and television spots and interviews with the surviving cast members. What more could anybody ask for? A better print of the film, sadly!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The is one of the best and sadest movies I have ever watched!