Customer Review

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Successful drama yet also thought-provoking, December 29, 2003
This review is from: Challenge to Lassie [VHS] (VHS Tape)
We watched Challenge to Lassie on VHS 54 years after its release, and having also recently seen the latest Matrix and Lord of the Rings films.

What a contrast! There is something utterly charming about this simple, hour-and-15-minute film from another era without a single wasted moment or fancy SFX or eternal subplots

Lassie as a puppie is adorable (full disclosure: my husband and I have two shelties, one a gigantic near-twin of Lassie, with his honey coat and white blaze and flapping ears). As an adult, she acts quite like our shelties, who tug us by the wrist, whimper and bark and paw our knees to communicate. Sheepdog owners will recognize a lot of their intelligent companions in the 1949 movie version Lassie. This Lassie doesn't have the comically overblown talent of the TV version, so aptly parodized by Mad magazine (wherein Lassie fills out the tax returns for the ranch). She is instead quite clever in a way realistic to the various Scottish herding dogs.

Her master Jock is scrupulously honest; and Lassie a paragon of devotion.

"Challenge" also contains a little morality play demonstrating the legal principle that bad cases make bad law. After Jock's murder, a panel of Edinburgh judges want to put down the ownerless dog because technically no one can buy her the required collar and tag. Much like the Biblical mockery of the Pharisees as heartless technocrats, tenement children arrive to point out the absurdity of the court.

This is a little jewel of a movie -- as the earlier reviewer states it is good family entertainment but to a pair of adult viewers it also held its own as a quality film.
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