Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Girls and Their Dogs

While the "boy and his dog" story line is well picked over from Old Yeller (1957) to Air Bud (1997), there are relatively few "girl and her dog" films out there. Notably Because of Winn-Dixie (2005), adapted from Kate DiCamillo's bestselling juvenile novel, and Little Heroes (1992), about a girl learning love and loss through her canine friend. 

One of the really outstanding girl and dog films is not about a girl and her dog at all, but a girl who rescues a wolf on her cross-country journey to find her father during the Great Depression. The Journey of Natty Gann (1985) stared Jed, a Malamute/wolf mix trained by Clint Rowe. Jed also appeared in The Thing (1982) and was most famous for his role in the 1991 adaptation of White Fang. It was the first time in a live-action film that White Fang had been portrayed by any breed other than a German Shepherd Dog.

Some other films featuring a girl and dog are Courage of Lassie (1946), More Than Puppy Love (2000), Sunny's Ears (1997, from TV series), Eyes of an Angel (1991), Annie (1982), Annie (1999), Big Chuck, Little Chuck (2004), The Bashful Elephant (1962), and Poco: Little Dog Lost (1977).

Pictured: Theatrical release poster of The Journey of Natty Gann, from author's collection, showing Jed, Meredith Salender and John Cusack. Copyright The Walt Disney Company, 1985.

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