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  • They don't make'em like this any more, they can't. A picture postcard of a time long lost is captured in this beautiful film. The characters are not perfect, they have flaws like real people. Edmund Gwenn turns in a performance as Dr.McClure that lets the viewer in and identify with him as he relates to difficult people and takes anger in stride from the distraught and scared citizens of his village. Lassie is presented as frightened and imperfect also, something new to me since I had seen only the television features showing this dog as brave, smart, and resourceful. The relationship that develops between the doctor and his dog is fulfilling on every level and the responsibility he feels towards those who depend on him is inspirational. Catch this if you can, you'll find it worthy of your attention.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is a wonderful family film, but if you are expecting the emphasis to be on Lassie and her adventures, then you will likely be somewhat disappointed. Instead, the emphasis is on Dr. William MacLure (Edmund Gwenn), the elderly physician to a rural Scottish area in the 19th century. Donald Crisp plays Drumsheugh, MacClure's closest friend and a good adviser. These two actors, along with Tom Drake, who plays MacClures's assistant, were in several Lassie films during the 1940's playing different roles each time.

    MacClure is one of those doctors from a bygone era that makes house calls in the middle of the night and accepts payment in goods as well as money. At one point in the film, he is sitting at a table in a restaurant having tea as patient after patient comes up to him and practically forces payment upon him. MacClure loves his work, and payment is a secondary issue with him. One person, though, decides to cheat MacClure and gives him Lassie as payment, with MacClure believing that she is a sheep dog. MacClure figures she will be a good companion and messenger dog, so it doesn't matter so much that she turns out not to be a sheep dog. However, it does matter that she is afraid of water since the glen in which they live has heavy snow and rain at times, and crossing streams when getting to patients is a necessity. At first MacClure, angry at being deceived, decides to give Lassie away. However, he changes his mind and decides to teach the dog not to be afraid of water. This doesn't work out so well, as Lassie is willing to do just about anything short of swimming. MacClure gives up on this effort, but still he keeps Lassie. In spite of his complaints about her usefulness as a working dog, she is becoming a pet to him. This is something MacClure is not about to admit since his whole life has been about service to others. He has always denied himself anything he deems as a luxury, and this would certainly include having an animal whose only purpose is companionship.

    The rest of the film is about the good doctor facing the various medical crises that impact the residents of the glen. During this time, dog and master bond and become fast friends. MacClure is aware that his days as a doctor are coming to an end, and thus he has picked a young man of the village (Tom Drake) to travel to Edinburgh to study medicine and become his replacement upon graduation. Towards the end of the young man's time at medical school, MacClure is called out one snowy winter night on one of his house calls. He is knocked unconscious and will freeze to death in the snow unless Lassie is able to overcome her fear of the water and swim across the stream to bring help to the doctor.

    This is going to be one of those films you either love or hate. If you are ever in the mood for an old-fashioned rather slow-moving story that will really tug at your heartstrings, this movie really fits the bill.
  • If you love a dog story then this is for you. If you love a story of love in a small village then this is for you. If you love a story of courage then this is for you. Hills of Home features Lassie, that collie that shows the true meaning of friendship between Master and dog. Lass (Lassie) is afraid of the water in rivers or lakes so she will not cross any form of water. A sheepdog protects the sheep from drowning in water so her first owner decides to kill Lass because she is useless as a sheepdog. Dr. William MacLure (Edmund Gwenn) is the only doctor in the village and a rather old one. Dr. MacLure is not the brightest or most up-to-date doctor but he will fight the spectre of death with hand-to-hand combat to save those villagers that he loves. He decides that a dog will help a lonely man in meeting the needs of the village so he barters for the ownership of Lass. Drumsheugh (Donald Crisp) is Dr. MacLure's best human friend. Drumsheugh encourages his friend and offers wise advice to the head strong old doctor. This film features the growing love of this familiar trio (Lassie, Gwenn & Crisp) as they battle death, nature and time. A heartwarming story that ends with you wanting to just grab hold of your own dog as Dr. MacLures holds on to Lass.
  • Moving, lovely, touching and delightful--even makes you cry-- story of a dog and a doctor. This is an old Lassie MGM movie and the star, don't you ever forget, was and remains, Lassie--this was the original Lassie, the first in a long line--now there is Lassie #9. The location is Scotland and in are the very young Janet Leigh among other players such as Tom Drake, although he was 30 at this time, not looking it, however, and, of course, Lassie. I recommend this as a must see for all Lassie fans. Interesting to watch the difference in the original Lassie and today's Lassie---the sets look like sets and backdrops, easily forgiven in such a lovely story. Good fun and good family viewing. See it and you just may cry a tear or several by its completion.
  • Fred M. Wilcox directed this fourth film to feature Lassie, though again this tells a stand-alone story set in Scotland, where a country Doctor named William McClure(played by Edmund Gwenn) tends to the sick of his village, many of whom are poor, and on one visit he is "tricked" into taking Lassie as payment instead of cash, but is stunned to learn that the collie is afraid of the water, which is most embarrassing and inconvenient to his profession. He is also hoping that a young medical student training to be a doctor will take over his practice when he passes on, but first he is determined to break Lassie of her water fear, and a fierce storm will give him a chance to do just that... Charming and appealing film is fine fare for the whole family, and animal lovers alike.
  • tammyvuk21 December 2006
    Very heartwarming and quaint representation of the era. A Classic! Needs to be seen over and over again, to appreciate the sentiments portrayed. A story about the generous, faithful, over-worked and under-paid country doctor, and his grateful patients throughout the glen. Enjoyed listening to the Scottish accents, and the stereo-typical cultural stubbornness in accepting or giving compliments. Enjoyed the scenery too.

    Perhaps the first time I saw it, I may have thought it to be slow-moving, too. But for those of us who enjoy watching "classic movies", it's wonderful.

    However, for a Lassie movie, the dog has a relatively small part to play, in comparison to what you see in the Lassie series over a decade later.
  • Although this is a minor Lassie film, it did open at the famous Radio City Music Hall in 1948, where the showplace must have decided it was the perfect theater to show this family film--in a theater that catered to wholesome films above all others.

    It's a charmer, helped considerably by the performances of EDMUND GWENN, as an old-fashioned Scottish doctor who acquires a dog who is afraid of water, and LASSIE as the collie who has to overcome his fear of water when his master is in danger and needs him to swim for help.

    DONALD CRISP, as Gwenn's loyal friend, and young JANET LEIGH and TOM DRAKE as the love interest, form a pleasant supporting cast responding well to Fred M. Wilcox's able direction. All the resources of the MGM studio went into recreating the Scottish settings and atmosphere that pervade the film, so much so that we can forgive the occasional lapses in the Scottish accents.

    It passes the time pleasantly, but is not the typical Lassie film with him displaying all sorts of intelligence and courage. And this time, EDMUND GWENN actually steals scenes from the famous collie, holding much of the spotlight with a warm and easy performance as the crusty old doctor.
  • While I have seen more classic Hollywood movies than most anyone alive, I have only come to watch any of the Lassie films recently. I had assumed they'd be schmaltzy messes...and, apparently, I was wrong. After thoroughly enjoying the first film, "Lassie Come Home", I decided to try another Lassie film, "Hills of Home"...the fourth Lassie film. With seven in all, I still have five more MGM Lassie pictures to go.

    This story has nothing to do with the previous Lassie stories. Oddly, this one finds Lassie as a damaged doggy, as his new master abuses the dog because it is a lousy sheepdog and won't go in the water if needed. Soon the kindly local doctor (Edmund Gwen) buys the dog and the rest of the film is mostly about his life in rural 19th century Scotland tending to the sick and dying...with Lassie as his constant companion and helper.

    Like the first Lassie film, this one has a lot of polish and was made in Technicolor. It also features fine supporting actors in many of the leading roles--giving these wonderful actors a chance to shine. In fact, several were from the first Lassie film as well-- Gwen, Donald Crisp and Rhys Williams. Additional actors rounding out the main cast were Janet Leigh and Tom Drake. All in all, a fine and entertaining film...and one that might be best seen with some Kleenex nearby just in case! If I have any complaints about the picture it's that just about everyone seems inexplicably angry all the time...which is kinda weird!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Edmund Gwenn deserved an academy award for his dominating performance as the doctor for a small Scottish highland hamlet. Just the year before, he won the award for best supporting actor, for his portrayal of Kris Kringle, in "Miracle on 34th Street". This time, he was the lead actor.......So far, about 2/3 of the reviewers say they loved the film, while1/3 found it lacked appeal. Count me in the former group! I rate it as good as the first in the series of MGM films about Lassie; "Lassie Come Home". Think of this as being primarily a film about Dr. MacLure, with Lassie(Pal) the supporting actor, and maybe you will be more satisfied with it. Although it sure looks like the Scottish Highlands, amazingly, it was filmed at the MGM studios, or at Sonora Pass, in the Sierras.......Initially, Lassie was labeled useless as a sheepdog or traveling companion because she had a bizarre aversion to getting her feet wet, let along swimming. Several sheep drowned under her watch. The doctor tried to solve this problem by laying steppingstones part way across a shallow stream, and hopefully she would be brave and walk in the water the rest of the way. But, instead, Lassie jumped on the doctor's chest, knocking him into the water. I laughed out loud! Eventually, Lassie got used to being in water, and even swimming across a raging river in several scenes. This segment, was not realistic, however. The dog certainly would have been swept downstream a good ways while crossing. The same applies to the 2 men who were following Lassie(their crossing was not shown). Also, how could these 2 carry the unconscious Dr. MacLure across this raging river, when the bridge had been washed out?? In another incident, Lassie rendered a service to the doctor during a raging snowstorm, on a partially washed out bridge. His medical kit was tied onto her back, while she tightroped cross the missing part on the still intact narrow side beam, nearly slipping off several times........Tom Drake plays Tammas Milton, who is an informal understudy of the doctor, before he goes to medical school. Janet Leigh, with a thin Scottish accent, plays his girlfriend. Donald Crisp plays a friend, and various others play the families of the people the doctor tends to......This lush Technicolor film is currently available in an economical 4 pack of MGM Lassie films. including "Lassie Come Home".
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is my first comment on a film so please bear with me. This has been touted as the earliest Lassie film. I beg to differ on that point, it is a film in which Lassie has her debut. The film is about a country doctor in a small community.

    It's characters play believable roles of people in earlier times in a rural setting. The film's quality doesn't just rival The movie "The Grapes of Wrath" but keeps pace with it only in a different country in simpler times.

    The characters in the film are not overcooked, no one actor steals the whole show as it were and reveals every part of a rural community and its inhabitants, the pubs, the hardships, the wheeling and dealing.

    The film also has excellent dialog, a rare commodity in newer films and delivered to perfection. I found the ending particularly interesting as my ancestors are Scottish and many of the older traditions were included in the film down to the last detail.

    The film is only slow by modern standards, i found it moves along quite well given what the film is about,time period and location in which the story takes place.
  • In an idyllic Scottish village, poor collie dog Lassie fails at sheepherding because she's afraid of crossing through water; a crusty old doc inherits Lassie, but he doesn't much want her either, even after she warns him of a collapsed bridge down the road. Despite a handsome MGM production, this non-adventure is unrelievedly depressing and infuriating (if the simple-minded plot doesn't gnaw at you, the ridiculous Scottish accents and muttonchops on the men certainly will). The collie dog used for the film is a beautiful animal but, let's face it, not particularly gifted for the camera (most of the time, she hovers about on the edge of the frame, constantly looking to one side for directions). Lassie takes a real beating in this one (including harsh owners, icy, raging rivers and bad weather of all sorts), yet, oddly, much of the focus is on doctor Edmund Gwenn and the wet-eyed, hand-wringing families of his patients. This downer is truly one of the dreariest family films of all time, not helped by a colorless supporting cast which includes a wooden Janet Leigh in an early role. *1/2 from ****
  • Well, at least it's nicely filmed with some good shots of Scotland. I say, "at least" because this Lassie film was a huge disappointment. I grew up watching the fine television series and thought the movie - especially with the human cast featuring Edmund Gwenn, Donald Crisp and Janet Leigh - would be even better.

    Wrong. In fact, the first 30-40 minutes were so bad, I never finished the film. It was boring and annoying. Lassie is afraid of water so the dog's owner, Gwenn, constantly is angry with the dog. Lassie, meanwhile, whimpers and cries the whole time. The whole thing gets irritating, fast!

    To be fair, I should have stuck with it. You just know that Lassie will overcome his fear and things will turn out well, as always, I'm sure it got better than the first half that I watched. Nonetheless, filmmaker should learn what sports teams realize the hard way - you have to play hard and well the whole game - not just one half and this film's first half stunk enough so that at least one reviewer went home at halftime.
  • In the beautiful hills of Scotland, Lassie is a good-for-nothing collie. Afraid of water, the dog lets sheep drown. So, owner Rhys Williams (as Milton) trades her in, to lovable old doctor Edmund Gwenn (as William MacLure). Mr. Williams' son Tom Drake (as Tammas Milton) is studying doctoring with Mr. Gwenn, but his father wants him to be a farmer. Mr. Drake is courting pretty young Janet Leigh (as Margit Mitchell).

    A colorful MGM gloss makes "Hills of Home" pleasant viewing, at times. The movie winds up far less carefully made than the initial scenic images suggest, however. It's nice to see Donald Crisp return to Lassie's supporting cast; his scenes with Gwenn provide some Scottish accented fun. Lassie veteran Tom Drake and starlet Janet Leigh are nice, but the lack of a child co-star hurts the story. Lassie's crossing of a river's broken bridge, to save her master, it a film highlight; though, it's difficult to accept Lassie was ever afraid of water.

    **** Hills of Home (11/25/48) Fred M. Wilcox ~ Edmund Gwenn, Donald Crisp, Tom Drake, Lassie
  • 'Hills of Home' is one of the older Lassie films. This film is about Lassie and her owner, an elderly doctor in a small, rural village. I have the video of this film, and I watched it when I was younger, but out of all the Lassie films, this is my least favourite and a film that I could not get into. (Maybe this film is made for adults, and maybe that is why I could not appreciate it; I'm sure it was probably a good book and had some good ideas.) I felt the film was slow-moving, and I found it difficult to understand or really get engaged in the plot. The film only became interesting when the doctor had to go out in rough weather on a house call, and he is knocked off his horse. Lassie has to brave the weather to get help.

    I would not recommend this film to children as I think it is slow moving and I don't think it can fully be appreciated. Maybe I will watch it again sometime to see if I enjoy it better through the eyes of an adult.
  • preppy-317 September 2016
    I love Lassie but this film is for the dogs (sorry). It takes place in a small Scottish village. Its doctor (Edmund Gwenn) buys Lassie from its owner. The problem is Lassie is afraid of water. The doctor realizes this and tries to help her. Tom Drake and Janet Leigh play the obligatory young couple in love. Lassie is great, the movie is shot in rich Technicolor and has beautiful settings--but that's about it. It's slow-moving, kind of confusing and has unlikable characters. The Scottish accents come and go at random and the acting is terrible. Gwenn looks miserable, Leigh is miscast and Drake is a total blank. This only gets a 4 for Lassie. She's just terrific!