TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Lassie [2 Discs] [DVD]

One of the most beloved cinematic pooches of all time has four of his films collected in this box set including Lassie Come Home; Son of Lassie; Courage of Lassie; and Hills of Home, costarring Edmund Gwenn.
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Overview

Special Features

  • Side A - Lassie Come Home Includes: Vintage Short Fala
  • Lassie Movie Trailer Gallery
  • Side B - Son Of Lassie Includes: Classic Cartoon Flirty Birdy
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Disc 2 Side A - Courage Of Lassie Includes: Classic Cartoons Northwest Hounded Police and Solid Serenade
  • Side B - Hills Of Home Includes: Vintage Short Fala at Hyde Park
  • Classic Cartoon Puttin' On the Dog
  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

Hills of Home
MGM's Lassie series was declining in popularity by 1948, so the studio decided to release its latest adventure of the famous collie as Hills of Home, so that non-Lassie fans might be inveigled into entering the theatre. Actually, Hills is one of the best entries in the series, due in no small part to the engaging performance by Edmund Gwenn. Playing a Scottish doctor, Gwenn adopts Lassie, who in this film has an unnatural aversion to water; she'll drink it, but won't swim in it. Gwenn spends most of the film trying to cure Lassie of her fears, but she remains water-shy until Gwenn's life is put in danger and the dog is forced to dive into a raving river. The doctor dies as the result of the ordeal, but not before beneficently passing on Lassie's ownership to romantic leads Janet Leigh and Tom Drake. Lensed in restful Technicolor, Hills of Home was based on Ian McClaren's Doctor of the Old School, which had previously been filmed without Lassie in 1923. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Lassie Come Home
Female dogs tend to shed while in heat; this is why all the collies who've played doggy heroine Lassie in the movies have actually been well-disguised males. A magnificent animal named Pal was the screen's first Lassie in 1943's Lassie Come Home. Set in Yorkshire during the first World War, the film gets under way when the poverty-stricken parents (Donald Crisp, Elsa Lanchester) of young Joe Carraclough (Roddy McDowall) are forced to sell his beloved Lassie. While her new master, the duke of Rudling (Nigel Bruce), is pleasant enough, Lassie prefers the company of Joe and repeatedly escapes. Even when cared for by the duke's affectionate granddaughter, Priscilla (Elizabeth Taylor), Lassie insists upon heading back to her original home. This time, however, the trip is much longer, and Lassie must depend upon the kindness of strangers, notably farmers Dally (Dame May Whitty) and Dan'l Fadden (Ben Webster) and handyman Rowlie (Edmund Gwenn). Based on the novel by Eric Knight (originally serialized in The Saturday Evening Post), Lassie Come Home was released quite some time after Knight's death. Like all the Lassie sequels turned out by MGM between 1943 and 1951, Lassie Come Home was lensed in Technicolor. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Son of Lassie
Son of Lassie is about a courageous collie named Laddie, played by a dog named "Pal". A sequel to Lassie Come Home, the film stars Peter Lawford and June Lockhart as the grown-up counterparts of the characters played in the earlier film by Roddy McDowall and Elizabeth Taylor. When WW2 breaks out, young Yorkshireman Joe Carraclough (Lawford) signs up with the British air force, bringing Laddie along. The inquisitive canine sneaks aboard the plane which takes Joe on his first mission. Their aircraft hit by enemy fire, Joe and Laddie are forced to parachute into Nazi-occupied Norway. Injured in the landing, Joe lies in a daze while the dog seeks help for his master. Once Laddie ascertains that the Nazis aren't his friends, the film evolves into one long chase, as dog and master try to make their way back to their own lines?while back at home, Joe's sweetheart Priscilla (June Lockhart, who of course would later costar in the Lassie TV series) bites her nails in anticipation. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Courage of Lassie
This is the one where Lassie plays a war veteran with amnesia. Actually Lassie isn't even Lassie, but a male collie named Bill (at least he isn't asked to appear "in drag" like all the other cinematic Lassies). Raised from a pup by adolescent Elizabeth Taylor, the doggy hero becomes a sheep collie on rancher Frank Morgan's spread. Lassie--er, Bill--loses his memory when hit by a car. Later on, the dog finds himself in the K-9 corps, where he is trained to kill Japs (Lassie a racist? No, no, not that!) The dog returns home shell-shocked and ready to tear apart anyone who crosses his path. But the love of Elizabeth Taylor conquers all in the lachrymose Technicolor finale. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Edmund Gwenn
    Edmund Gwenn - Dr. William MacLure
  • Donald Crisp
    Donald Crisp - Drumsheugh
  • Tom Drake
    Tom Drake - Tammas Milton
  • Janet Leigh
    Janet Leigh - Margit Mitchell
  • Rhys Williams
    Rhys Williams - Mr. Milton
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