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Yearling
     

The Yearling

3.7 8
Director: Clarence Brown,

Cast: Clarence Brown, Gregory Peck, Jane Wyman, Claude Jarman Jr.

 
Based on the novel by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, The Yearling is set in post-Civil War Florida. Claude Jarman Jr. plays Jody Baxter, the lonely son of just-getting-by farmers Pa and Ma Baxter (Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman). With all of his siblings dead and buried, Jody yearns to have a pet of some sort. When Pa is forced by circumstances to kill a doe, the

Overview

Based on the novel by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, The Yearling is set in post-Civil War Florida. Claude Jarman Jr. plays Jody Baxter, the lonely son of just-getting-by farmers Pa and Ma Baxter (Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman). With all of his siblings dead and buried, Jody yearns to have a pet of some sort. When Pa is forced by circumstances to kill a doe, the animal's fawn-the yearling of the title-is adopted by Jody. The boy's love for the animal does not alter the fact that the fawn is eating all of the Baxters' crops. Sadly, Pa tells Jody that he must kill the yearling before all their crops are destroyed. Jody can't bring himself to do this, so he sets the animal free in the wilds. Time and again, however, the yearling returns to the farm. Finally, Ma Baxter, who'd been against having the fawn on the property in the first place, shoots and wounds the animal. Now, Jody has no choice: rather than see his beloved yearling writhe in agony, he kills it. Though this results in a rift between himself and his family, Jody at last realizes that, by taking the responsiblity of saving the farm at the expense of his own feelings, he has also taken the first step towards manhood. He himself is a "yearling" no more. MGM had intended to film The Yearling in 1941 with a different cast and director, but a series of personality clashes delayed production for five years. Watching the inspired performances of Gregory Peck, Jane Wyman and Claude Jarman Jr., it is nearly impossible to imagine the film with its originally intended cast of Spencer Tracy, Anne Revere and the unknown Gene Eckman. The studio had also intended to lens the film on location in Florida, but in the end it proved more practical and expedient to shoot in the studio and its environs. Oscars went to the Technicolor photography of Charles Rosher, Leonard Smith and Arthur Arling, and to the art direction/set decoration work of Cedric Gibbons, Paul Groesse and Edwin B. Willis. Originally released at 128 minutes, the film was reissued in a butchered 94 minute version; steer clear of this one and opt for the still-available original.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Dan Jardine
The Yearling, based on the award-winning novel by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, is a touching coming-of-age drama set in late nineteenth century rural Florida that explores difficult emotional issues within the context of a struggling frontier family's life. The naturalistic imagery, which underpins the growing drama of the storyline beautifully, is captured in magnificent Technicolor by Academy Award winning cinematographers Arthur Arling, Charles Rosher and Leonard Smith. The internal and external loyalties and relationships that pull and push young Jody (Claude Jarman Jr., who won an Academy Award) provide the story with its powerful conflicts. As we make allegiance with the sensitive child (and the faun) against his impoverished parents, our growing realization of the hopelessness of the situation and the ultimate importance of familial ties make for wrenching moments of self-awareness. Gregory Peck as the father is his typically sympathetic self, while Jane Wyman is coolly efficient and believable as Jody's mother. Director Clarence Brown knows how to push the audience's emotional buttons (it isn't all that hard, drawing on Rawlings' heartbreaking novel as his source), and the film teeters on the brink of sentimentality at times, but the honesty of the performances and the beauty of the photography procure a place for The Yearling in cinematic history. Nominated for seven Academy Awards, the film was winner of three.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/24/2014
UPC:
0888574055882
Original Release:
1946
Rating:
G
Source:
Warner Archives
Sales rank:
3,847

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gregory Peck Pa Baxter
Jane Wyman Ma Baxter
Claude Jarman Jody Baxter
Chill Wills Buck Forrester
June Lockhart Twink Weatherby
Forrest Tucker Lem Forrester
Donn Gift Fodderwing
Margaret Wycherly Ma Forrester
Arthur Hohl Arch
George Mann Pack
Clem Bevans Pa Forrester
Joan Wells Eulalie
Matt Willis Gabby
Jeff York Oliver
Jane Green Mrs. Saunders
Robert Porterfield Mate
Frank Eldredge Deckhand
Victor Kilian Captain
Houseley Stevenson Mr. Ranger
Henry Travers Mr. Boyles
Dan White Millwheel

Technical Credits
Clarence Brown Director
Arthur E. Arling Cinematographer
Sidney Franklin Producer
Chester M. Franklin Special Effects
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Paul Groesse Art Director
Harold Kress Editor
Warren Newcombe Special Effects
Paul Osborn Screenwriter
Charles Rosher Cinematographer
Leonard Smith Cinematographer
Herbert Stothart Score Composer
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design

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The Yearling 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best movies I have ever seen.  The acting was phenomenal, and the movie itself was captivating.  The scenery and cinematography were spectacular.  There are scenes of wildlife in this movie that will never be seen again in the wild.  The movie is just so special.  It seems to capture the wonders of a young boy growing up in the backwoods of America.  I watch this movie every time it comes on TV. 
Guest More than 1 year ago
The film, as well as the novel, were always childhood favorites of mine. (The film preserves another of Gregory Peck's wonderful performances.) It also has personal sentimental value, since it takes place in Marion County, Florida, where I was born. One comment on a prior reviewer's remarks, however: some scenes in the '40s version were filmed on location in Florida. My father was there when some of the outdoor scenes were shot, and he told stories about it for years. (In fact, MGM used Silver Springs, Fla. to shoot many of their underwater acrobatic scenes in the their ''Tarzan'' movies.)