The Yearling on DVD
By Johnny Bray
Before I begin, I should mention that my dislike for this movie
does not come because its a bad movie. It comes because Im a lover
of modern films, and I often have a hard time watching older movies, especially
slow-moving tearjerkers like The Yearling. (Editor's note: at least he's
Jody (Claude Jarman, Jr., who won a special Oscar for his
performance) lives in 1870s Florida with his parents (Gregory Peck & Jane
Wyman), hunting and fishing and planting and telling stories. Jody is a lonely
boy whose best friend is an orphaned fawn named Flag, and the two are
inseparable wherever they go.
The Yearling is a renowned film that, while it may not be as
highly regarded as Casablanca or Gone With the Wind, many people mention as one
of their all-time favorites. The locations and photography are stunning, and
its the kind of heartwarming story that educates as well as
Unfortunately, the movie never struck gold with me. I found it
very slow and difficult to pay attention for long periods of time. But then,
Im part of the MTV generation, and we apparently have much shorter
attention spans. The Yearling has a second half that is considerably more
interesting, though in some ways it reminded me too much of
Old Yeller. You can bet, though, that it will
bring a lot of people to tears on more than one occasion.
Im not denying the movies greatness, or even saying
its bad in any way: quite the contrary. Im sure its a classic
in the same league as other great older films we have a soft spot for. But
personally I just found it too uninteresting to be entertaining. (Ed: what,
no laser battles or sex?) Maybe if I had seen it when I was younger I would
have appreciated it more.
If youre already a fan of this movie, or other similar films
(like the aforementioned Old Yeller), you dont need to be told to pick it
Like many classic movies coming to DVD, The Yearling is
surprisingly impressive in terms of quality. The picture is absolutely
stunning, and the sound is fine for what it is.
Though presented in 1.33:1 full screen, the picture quality is
amazing; especially considering the movie is over 50 years old. Its
perfectly crisp, with very little grain or softness present at any point. Some
scenes dont look quite as good, but I assume thats due to the
original print, and not the fault of the DVD producers.
What can you say about the sound? Its a mono track, and
Special features include a 1946 Tom and Jerry cartoon, a
Jodys World adventure, and some awards.
The Yearling, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
128 minutes, full screen (1.33:1), Dolby Digital mono
Starring Gregory Peck, Jane Wyman and Claude Jarman, Jr.
Produced by Sidney Franklin
Screenplay by Paul Osborn
Directed by Clarence Brown
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