A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while this boy-and-his-dog classic is full of good morals and helpful lessons, there's also tremendous peril that may disturb younger and more sensitive viewers. For instance, two men attack Rowlie, beat him, and kill Toots. Lassie gets shot at and attacked by dogs, and even injures her leg in an escape.
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What's the story?
Joe Carraclough (Roddy McDowall) is a young boy who knows a few things: His family is poor but loving, and his trusty dog Lassie will show up at his school at 4 o'clock to pick him up. When school gets out one day and Lassie doesn't appear, Joe is forced to face the harsh economic reality of England in the 1940s; Joe's parents couldn't afford to keep her anymore and sold Lassie to a rich man who shows dogs. Joe's parents are as heartbroken as he is, though they try to hide it: "Lassie cost a lot to feed," laments his mom (Elsa Lanchester). "These are poor times, Joe." Whether they can afford to pay for Lassie or not doesn't seem to matter to the dog herself. After several attempts to return home, Lassie's new owner and granddaughter (Elizabeth Taylor, appearing in just her second film) take her to Scotland, hundreds of miles away. Can Lassie get away? Can she make it home to Joe one more time? And if she does, can she stay?
Is it any good?
There are few loves more tangible to a child than the love of a good pet; in LASSIE COME HOME, viewers are treated to the classic tale of how a very good pet reciprocates that love 100-fold. Kids will no doubt see past some of the movie's old-timey qualities (at the beginning, the filmmakers announce this "picturization" of the well-loved book by Eric Knight, and that Knight was a soldier in the war, presumably World War I or World War II) and get into the drama that unfolds. They're even likely to cry at the end.
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