Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
USA, 1946. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Screenplay by Paul Osborn, based on the novel by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Cinematography by Arthur E. Arling, Charles Rosher, Leonard Smith. Produced by Sidney Franklin. Music by Herbert Stothart. Production Design by Cedric Gibbons, Paul Groesse. Costume Design by Valles. Film Editing by Harold F. Kress. Academy Awards 1946. Golden Globe Awards 1946.
Beautiful family film with a heartbreaking story. Claude Jarman Jr. (who won a mini Academy Award as outstanding juvenile actor of the year) is wonderful as a little boy being raised in the rough woodlands of Florida by his always optimistic father (Gregory Peck) and tired and worn out mother (Jane Wyman in an outstanding performance). He longs desperately to have a pet animal to take care of, and finally gets his wish when his father shoots a deer and Jarman takes her baby doe home and raises it as his own. This little deer is so adorable it even sleeps in his bed (much to the chagrin of his mother’s sense of smell), but come time for the crop yielding and the lovable pet becomes a menace, threatening their survival by not allowing them to keep any of the food they work so hard to grow. The tribulations that these characters endure is presented as harshly as the family scenes are loving, and both combine to make a very satisfying work that is a three-hankie weepie if ever you’ve seen one. Based on the novel by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and filmed on her actual estate in Florida where she wrote the book (the writing of which is the subject of the film Cross Creek).