Lassie Come Home

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Lassie Come Home
Lassie Come Home (1943 poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Fred M. Wilcox
Screenplay by Hugo Butler
Based on Lassie Come-Home
1940 novel
by Eric Knight
Produced by Samuel Marx
Dore Schary
Starring Pal (credited as "Lassie")
Roddy McDowall
Donald Crisp
Dame May Whitty
Edmund Gwenn
Nigel Bruce
Elsa Lanchester
Elizabeth Taylor
Cinematography Leonard Smith
Edited by Ben Lewis
Music by Daniele Amfitheatrof
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • October 7, 1943 (1943-10-07)
Running time
89/90 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$666,000 [1]
Box office$4,517,000 [2] [1]

Lassie Come Home is a 1943 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Technicolor feature film starring Roddy McDowall and canine actor Pal, in a story about the profound bond between Yorkshire boy Joe Carraclough and his rough collie, Lassie. [3] The film was directed by Fred M. Wilcox from a screenplay by Hugo Butler based upon the 1940 novel Lassie Come-Home by Eric Knight. The film was the first in a series of seven MGM films starring "Lassie."


The original film saw a sequel, Son of Lassie in 1945 with five other films following at intervals through the 1940s. A British remake of the 1943 movie was released in 2005 as Lassie to moderate success. The film has been released to VHS and DVD.

In 1993, Lassie Come Home was included in the annual selection of 25 motion pictures added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and recommended for preservation. [4] [5]


Set in Depression-era Yorkshire, England, Mr and Mrs Carraclough are hit by hard times and forced to sell their collie, Lassie, to the rich Duke of Rudling, who has always admired her. Young Joe Carraclough grows despondent at the loss of his companion.

Lassie will have nothing to do with the Duke, however, and finds ways to escape her kennels and return to Joe. The Duke finally carries Lassie to his home hundreds of miles distant in Scotland. There, his granddaughter Priscilla senses the dog's unhappiness and arranges her escape.

Lassie then sets off for a long trek to her Yorkshire home. She faces many perils along the way, dog catchers and a violent storm, but also meets kind people who offer her aid and comfort. At the end, when Joe has given up hope of ever seeing his dog again, the weary Lassie returns to her favorite resting place in the schoolyard at home. There, Lassie is joyfully reunited with the boy she loves.



Theatrical advertisement from 1943 Lassie Come Home - Theatre ad - 16 December, 1943.png
Theatrical advertisement from 1943

The film was shot in Washington state and Monterey, California, while the rapids scene was shot on the San Joaquin River. [6] It also features scenes from the former Janss Conejo Ranch in Wildwood Regional Park in Thousand Oaks, California. Additional photography occurred in Big Bear Lake. [7]

During the film's production, MGM executives previewing the dailies were said to be so moved that they ordered more scenes to be added to "this wonderful motion picture." [8]

Some sources say that, initially, a female collie was selected for the title role, but was replaced when the dog began to shed excessively during shooting of the film in the summer. [9] The trainer, Rudd Weatherwax, then substituted the male collie, Pal, in the role of "Lassie". Pal had been hired to perform the rapids stunt and, being male, looked more impressive in the part. [10] Still other accounts, such as a 1943 New York Times article written while the film was in production, say that Pal was cast by director Fred Wilcox after first being rejected, because no other dog performed satisfactorily with the "near human attributes" he sought for the canine title role. [11] Weatherwax would later receive all rights to the Lassie name and trademark in lieu of back pay owed him by MGM. [12]


In 2010, Film Score Monthly released the complete scores of the seven Lassie feature films released by MGM between 1943 and 1955 as well as Elmer Bernstein’s score for It's a Dog's Life (1955) in the CD collection Lassie Come Home: The Canine Cinema Collection, limited to 1000 copies. Due to the era when these scores were recorded, nearly half of the music masters have been lost so the scores had to be reconstructed and restored from the best available sources, mainly the Music and Effects tracks as well as monaural ¼″ tapes. [13]

The score for Lassie Come Home was composed by Daniele Amfitheatrof.

Track listing for Lassie Come Home (Disc 1)

  1. Main Title*/The Story of a Dog* – 2:23
  2. Time Sense—Second Version*/Have a Good Time/Waking Up Joe*/Lassie is Sold – 6:30
  3. Lassie is Sold, Part 2 – 1:07
  4. Joe is Heartbroken*/Priscilla Meets Lassie – 2:40
  5. Time Sense—Second Version*/First Escape (beginning)* – 1:33
  6. Hynes Arrives/Time Sense—Second Version*/Second Escape – 2:09
  7. Day Dreaming – 1:30
  8. Bid Her Stay*/Honest is Honest/Lassie Goes to Scotland*/Lassie in Scotland – 4:45
  9. Lassie is Chained* – 0:51
  10. Hynes Walks Lassie – 0:59
  11. Time Sense—Second Version*/Lassie Runs Away*/The Storm/Over the Mountains*/The Lake & Time Sense #3/Lassie vs. Satan*/The Dog Fight (Amfitheatrof–Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco)*/Lassie vs. Satan, Part 2*/A Surprise for Joe*/Crossing the River* – 13:09
  12. Dan and Dally*/Lassie Recovers/Joe Can't Sleep*/Time Sense—Second Version* – 4:40
  13. Lassie is Not Happy/Time Sense—Second Version*/Goodbye, Girl*/Meeting Palmer/Lassie Refuses Food*/Lassie Follows Palmer – 6:28
  14. Lassie Wants to Go That Way/Lassie is a Lady/Next Morning – 3:11
  15. Toots Gives a Performance*/The Dogs Play*/Thousand Kronen (Bronislau Kaper)*/Last Fight*/Toots is Dead/It's Goodbye, Then*/The Dog Catchers*/Out of Work/Lassie Comes Home*/Duke Arrives* & This is No Dog of Mine*/Time Sense—Second Version*/Lassie Finds Joe & End Title* – 23:19

Bonus tracks

  1. Dog Fight (Amfitheatrof–Castelnuovo-Tedesco) – 0:44
  2. The Accident – 0:44
  3. Pump and Chicken House (Lennie Hayton) – 0:49

Bonus track for Lassie Come Home (Disc 4)

  1. First Escape (complete)*† – 3:07

*Contains Sound Effects

†Contains Dialogue

Total Time: 80:79


The movie was a big hit. According to MGM records it earned $2,613,000 in the US and Canada and $1,904,000 overseas, resulting in a profit of $2,249,000. [1] [2]

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Color and later the character of Lassie received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6368 Hollywood Blvd. In 1993, Lassie Come Home was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Bosley Crowther in The New York Times of October 8, 1943 uniformly praised the performers and production, noting that the film "tells the story of a boy and a dog, tells it with such poignance and simple beauty that only the hardest heart can fail to be moved." [14]

Almost 50 years after the film's release, Parade discussed its lasting cultural impact, quoting the Saturday Evening Post which said the film launched Pal on "the most spectacular canine career in film history". Lassie Come Home was also cited as a cultural icon in Jane and Michael Stern's 1992 book, Encyclopedia of Pop Culture. [9]

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

References to Lassie Come Home in other media

Home media

The film was released on VHS by MGM Home Entertainment in 1990. The film was released on DVD by Warner Home Video and Warner Archive Collection from 2004 onwards.


A German remake was released in 2020 [16]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lassie</span> Fictional female collie dog

Lassie is a fictional female Rough Collie dog and is featured in a 1938 short story by Eric Knight that was later expanded to a 1940 full-length novel, Lassie Come-Home. Knight's portrayal of Lassie bears some features in common with another fictional female collie of the same name, featured in the British writer Elizabeth Gaskell's 1859 short story "The Half Brothers". In "The Half Brothers", Lassie is loved only by her young master and guides the adults back to where two boys are lost in a snowstorm.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Collie</span> Type of herding dog

Collies form a distinctive type of herding dogs, including many related landraces and standardized breeds. The type originated in Scotland and Northern England. Collies are medium-sized, fairly lightly-built dogs, with pointed snouts. Many types have a distinctive white color over the shoulders. Collies are very active and agile, and most types of collies have a very strong herding instinct. Collie breeds have spread through many parts of the world, and have diversified into many varieties, sometimes mixed with other dog types.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rudd Weatherwax</span> American actor (1907–1985)

Ruddell Bird "Rudd" Weatherwax was an American actor, animal trainer, and breeder. He and his brother Frank are best remembered for training dogs for motion pictures and television. Their collie, Pal, became the original Lassie, handled by Rudd for the 1943 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film Lassie Come Home. He also handled the dogs for the Lassie television series which ran from 1954 to 1974, and trained Spike for the 1957 feature film Old Yeller. After his death, his son, Robert, took over the training of the animals.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pal (dog)</span> Rough Collie dog

Pal is a male Rough Collie performer and the first in a line of such dogs to portray the fictional female collie Lassie in film, on radio, and on television. In 1992, The Saturday Evening Post said Pal had "the most spectacular canine career in film history".

Frank Thrall Weatherwax was an American actor and animal trainer. He is best remembered with his brother Rudd Weatherwax for their famous collie, Pal, the dog who became famous as Lassie in the 1943 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film Lassie Come Home. He also trained the dog, Lightning, for the 1935 movie A Dog of Flanders.

<i>Lassie</i> (1954 TV series) 1954 TV series

Lassie is an American television series that follows the adventures of a female Rough Collie dog named Lassie and her companions, both human and animal. The show was the creation of producer Robert Maxwell and animal trainer Rudd Weatherwax and was televised from September 12, 1954, to March 25, 1973. The eighth longest-running scripted U.S. primetime television series, the show ran for 17 seasons on CBS before entering first-run syndication for its final two seasons. Initially filmed in black and white, the show transitioned to color in 1965.

Daniele Alexandrovich Amfitheatrof was a Russian, American, and Italian composer and conductor.

<i>Lassie</i> (2005 film) 2005 film by Charles Sturridge

Lassie is a 2005 adventure comedy-drama film based on Eric Knight's 1940 novel Lassie Come-Home about the profound bond between Joe Carraclough and his rough collie, Lassie. The film was directed, written, and co-produced by Charles Sturridge and is a production of Samuel Goldwyn Films. The film stars Jonathan Mason and was distributed by Roadside Attractions and released in the UK on 16 December 2005. Filming took place in Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man. The supporting cast features Peter O'Toole, Samantha Morton, Peter Dinklage, Edward Fox, and John Lynch. The film was generally reviewed positively by critics, but performed poorly at the box office.

<i>The Magic of Lassie</i> 1978 film by Don Chaffey

The Magic of Lassie is a 1978 American musical drama film directed by Don Chaffey, and starring Lassie, James Stewart, Stephanie Zimbalist, Pernell Roberts and Michael Sharrett, with cameo appearances by Mickey Rooney and Alice Faye. Stewart appeared in one of only three musical film roles that he played: the first was Born to Dance (1936) in which he introduced the Cole Porter standard "Easy To Love" and the second was Pot O' Gold (1941). The screenplay and song score are supplied by the prolific Sherman Brothers, who worked as staff songwriters for Walt Disney and wrote songs for his films such as Mary Poppins (1964). Their song "When You're Loved" was nominated for an Academy Award for "Best Original Song" and was sung by Debby Boone. It is also the only musical film featuring Lassie.

<i>Bingo</i> (1991 film) 1991 American family comedy film directed by Matthew Robbins

Bingo is a 1991 American family comedy film directed by Matthew Robbins from a script by Jim Strain. The film follows Bingo, a clever runaway circus dog who goes on a cross-country search to find Chuckie, a boy he befriended. Along the way, Bingo gets into various adventures with colorful characters. Bingo was portrayed by Lace, a female border collie adopted from a shelter. Principal photography began on September 12, 1990.

<i>Son of Lassie</i> 1945 film by S. Sylvan Simon

Son of Lassie is a 1945 American Technicolor feature film produced by MGM based on characters created by Eric Knight, and starring Peter Lawford, Donald Crisp, June Lockhart and Pal. A sequel to Lassie Come Home (1943), the film focuses on the now adult Joe Carraclough after he joins the Royal Air Force during World War II and is shot down over Nazi-occupied Norway along with a stowaway, Lassie's son "Laddie" – played by Pal. Son of Lassie was released theatrically on April 20, 1945, by Loew's.

<i>The Sun Comes Up</i> 1949 film by Richard Thorpe

The Sun Comes Up is a 1949 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Technicolor picture with Lassie. Jeanette MacDonald had been off the screen for five years until her return in Three Daring Daughters (1948), but The Sun Comes Up was to be her last. In it, she had to share the screen not with an up-and-coming younger actress but with a very popular animal star. Although her retreat from a film career can be blamed largely on an increasingly debilitating heart ailment, MacDonald continued to make concert and TV appearances after this. Her last radio performance was a broadcast version of this same story on The Screen Guild Theater in March 1950.

<i>Lassie</i> (1994 film) 1994 film by Daniel Petrie

Lassie, or Lassie: Best Friends are Forever, is a 1994 American adventure family film directed by Daniel Petrie, starring Tom Guiry, Helen Slater, Jon Tenney, Frederic Forrest, Richard Farnsworth, Michelle Williams, and featuring the fictional collie Lassie.

<i>Lassie</i> (1997 TV series) Canadian television series

Lassie is a Canadian television series which aired from 1997 to 1999 on YTV in Canada and Sunday nights on the Animal Planet network in the United States, as a modified remake of the original Lassie series (1954–1973) about a boy and his faithful dog. As with previous Lassie TV versions and several films dating back to the original Lassie Come Home film of 1943, the star was Lassie, a trained Rough Collie.

<i>Challenge to Lassie</i> 1950 film by Richard Thorpe

Challenge to Lassie is an American drama directed by Richard Thorpe in Technicolor and released October 31, 1949, by MGM Studios. It was the fifth feature film starring the original Lassie, a collie named Pal, and the fourth and final Lassie film starring Donald Crisp.

<i>The Painted Hills</i> 1951 film by Harold F. Kress

The Painted Hills, also known as Lassie's Adventures in the Goldrush, is a 1951 drama western film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and directed by Harold F. Kress.

<i>Hills of Home</i> (film) 1948 film by Fred M. Wilcox

Hills of Home is a 1948 American Technicolor drama film, the fourth in a series of seven MGM Lassie films. It starred Edmund Gwenn, Donald Crisp, and Tom Drake.

<i>Courage of Lassie</i> 1946 film by Fred M. Wilcox

Courage of Lassie is a 1946 American Technicolor MGM feature film featuring Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Morgan, and dog actor Pal.

<i>Lassie Come-Home</i> Novel by Eric Knight

Lassie Come-Home is a novel written by Eric Knight about a rough collie's trek over many miles to be reunited with the boy she loves. Author Eric Knight introduced the reading public to the canine character of Lassie in a magazine story published on 17 December 1938, in The Saturday Evening Post, a story which he later expanded to a novel and published in 1940 to critical and commercial success. In 1943, the novel was adapted to the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer feature film Lassie Come Home starring Roddy McDowall as the boy Joe Carraclough, Pal as Lassie, and featuring Elizabeth Taylor. The motion picture was selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry. A remake of Lassie Come Home, entitled Lassie, was released in 2005.

<i>Its a Dogs Life</i> (film) 1955 film

It's a Dog's Life is a 1955 American comedy drama film directed by Herman Hoffman and starring Jeff Richards, Edmund Gwenn and Jarma Lewis. It is adapted from Richard Harding Davis’s 1903 novel The Bar Sinister.


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  2. 1 2 Eyman, Scott. Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer, Robson, 2005, p. 355.
  3. Variety film review; August 18, 1943, page 10.
  4. "Librarian Announces National Film Registry Selections (March 7, 1994) - Library of Congress Information Bulletin". Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  5. "Complete National Film Registry Listing". Library of Congress. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  6. Thomas, Tony (1990). The Films of the Forties. ISBN   0863694020.
  7. "Lassie Come Home". AFI Catalog of Feature Films . Los Angeles, California: American Film Institute . Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  8. "Lassie (History timeline)". Classic Media. 2005.
  9. 1 2 "Lassie a 'Lass-he'", Parade magazine, 18 October 1992, p. 22.
  10. Goodspeed, Diane (2006). Happy tails across New Jersey. p. 126. ISBN   0813538483.
  11. "Profile of a Collie". The New York Times . 28 February 1943. p. 4.
  12. Collins, Ace. Lassie: A Dog's Life. Penguin Books.
  13. "Lassie Come Home: The Canine Cinema Collection (1943–1955)". Film Score Monthly . Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  14. Crowther, Bosley (8 October 1943). "MOVIE REVIEW: Lassie Come Home (1943): Lassie Come Home,' Drama of a Dog, at Music Hall – 'Sherlock Holmes Faces Death' Seen at the Palace". The New York Times. p. 0.
  15. "AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains" (PDF). American Film Institute . Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  16. "Lassie Come Home - Film Review".

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