17 November 2007 | wes-connors
Those Doggone Scottish Laws
Back (again) in Scotland, Lassie is (again) on trial for her life. Because the faithful dog sleeps on her master's grave, she must be put to death, according to law. Oddly, it is also explained that Lassie had no "legal" owner, which is, apparently, also against an old Scottish law. If, after three days, no owner is located, dogs must be destroyed. Edmund Gwenn (as John Traill) pleads Lassie's case, which leads to an extended flashback, showing Lassie's adoption by Donald Crisp (as John "Jock" Gray).
Although it's based on an interesting, original story ("Greyfriars Bobby"), "Challenge to Lassie" revisits several earlier Lassie situations; and, it does not improve upon them. Comparatively speaking, this one is sloppy and unexciting; and, it's a disappointing follow-up to "The Sun Comes Up" (1949). Geraldine Brooks (as Susan Brown) and several of the other performers may be charming, but can't elevate this one. Little Jimmy Hawkins (from "It's a Wonderful Life") is among the notable children supporting Lassie.
*** Challenge to Lassie (10/31/49) Richard Thorpe ~ Edmund Gwenn, Donald Crisp, Geraldine Brooks