Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dogathon: The Proud Rebel (1958)



David and Lance
Photo Courtesy of http://www.google.com
     TCMDb: A young boy becomes mute after seeing his mother killed in the Civil War and his father decides to take him and their dog on a trek to find a cure for his condition, but the road ahead is full of evil sheepherders and hard-to-find money.

     Dog is, as the saying goes, man's best friend. They are loyal, they are protective, and, most of all, they are loving. It are those three qualities that make this film, The Proud Rebel. I got this film for $3.99 at Books-a-Million using the gift card that my oldest brother got me for Christmas. I'd never heard of it, but the synopsis peaked my interest, and I decided to go for it. I'm so glad that I did.
     The film stars Alan Ladd, Olivia de Havilland, Dean Jagger, and Alan's son, David Ladd in his second film role, and whom portrayed Alan's mute son in the film. The Border Collie, Lance, was played by King.
     One of the things that I love most about this film is its simplicity. It is not hard to follow, it's message is simple: Love conquers all. The actors are superb, and little David Ladd is brilliant for not until the very end does he speak. The relationship between father and son is real. Yes, I know they were actual father and son in real life, but sometimes those certain relationships don't cross over onto screen very well. This one did.
     I've only seen two films of Alan Ladd's, this one and The Deep Six, so I honestly don't know what one pictures when they think of him, but if I had to guess, I'd have to say that he is remembered for making ice look hot when he co-starred with Veronica Lake in such films as This Gun for Hire and The Glass Key. In The Proud Rebel, however, he seems like the devoted dad who is willing to do anything, except compromise his beliefs or accept charity, to help his son speak again.
David, Olivia, and Alan.
Photo Courtesy of http://www.mubi.com
     Olivia de Havilland, just as I had expected, was marvelous as the woman that takes Ladd on to help work off a prison fine that he accumalates when trying to protect his son's dog, Lance, and because she likes his boy.
     The dog, Lance, portrayed by King, is the type of dog that every little boy wishes for. He's smart, he's protective, and he's always right there, doing just as the boy, David, tells him to. In the film, the dog is a brilliant sheepherder, and Dean Jagger and his sons, want him for their own. Ladd at first refuses, knowing that his son and the dog are incredibly close, and that David would be heartbroken if he were to lose him. But when he has a chance to get a doctor to take a look at David, and to find out if there is anything that they can do to get David to speak again, and when another man offers a lot of money for Lance, he has to make the decision to keep the dog, and make the boy happy, or sell the dog, and hear his son speak. A delima that no father wants to face.      
     For this simple, but still moving film, I give a 3/4 stars. If you haven't seen it before, I recommend it wholeheartedly, and if you have seen it, you know, there's no harm in revisiting it.
David Ladd.
Photo Courtesy of http://www.boyactors.org.uk

16 comments:

toto2 said...

I am delighted you posted on "The Proud Rebel" because I have not heard of it before now. It sounds charming and intrigues me because an actual father and son play father and son. Olivia de Havilland is a wonderful actress and I am sure she adds a great presence to this film. I love to see dog movies and was delighted to hear you found this for a bargain price. I may have to do some shopping myself. Great post and thank you for sharing!

whistlingypsy said...

R.C. ~ may I begin by saying how nice it is to see your blog included in this canine themed blogathon. You have introduced me to a new film and a hilarious image of Alan Ladd, “he is remembered for making ice look hot when he co-starred with Veronica Lake in such films as This Gun for Hire and The Glass Key” (simply genius). Dogs often play loving and loyal family members in films, but this one has a twist in the father’s dilemma: help the son he loves or break his son’s heart by giving away the dog he loves. “The Proud Rebel” sounds as if it could be as enjoyable and heartbreaking as “Old Yeller,” a childhood favorite. Thanks for a wonderful review and an excellent recommendation.

Rick29 said...

Thank you for picking this film, which sounds quite appealing to me. Alan Ladd got a lot of mileage out of little dialogue in most of his films. His strong, quiet presence seemed to carry the day. I'm intrigued to see him with his son David (who became a very successful film executive, I think). Plus, any film with a border collie sounds promising. Thanks for not revealing the ending...though I know what I'd like it to be (keep the dog, find the money elsewhere!).

R.A. Kerr said...

What a treat to find such a good movie at such a low price! We're going to watch for this because of the cast - and the border collie, of course.

R.C. said...

Thank you very much. It really is a charming movie, and if you ever see it by chance, I definitely recommend that you grab it.

R.C. said...

Thank you very much. Haha, I'm glad I could give you a hilarious image of him. Alan Ladd is one I really don't know too much about, but that was basically the gist I got when I was reading up on him and Veronica Lake in my TCM Leading Couples book.

It really is. It say's on the DVD cover that it's "An Original Family Classic", but I feel that it's a "Forgotten Classic Gem", and so I definitely recommend you watching it.

R.C. said...

He's one of the original silent men. As I said, I've only seen two of his films, including this one, but even I got that out of them. David, his son, did become very successful as a film executive. You're welcome. I don't really like to give the ending away unless I want to make a certain point and there's no other way around it.

R.C. said...

It really was. I'm glad I didn't pass it up. I hope you find it, and I hope you like it as well.

ClassicBecky said...

With that wonderful cast of actors that I like very much, I'm surprised I've never seen this one. It sounds sweet and moving. I am an Alan Ladd fan myself, and I had to laugh when you said about him "he is remembered for making ice look hot." I really enjoyed your contribution to the Dogathon!

Classicfilmboy said...

I'm not familiar with this film, so I'll have to check it out after you enjoyable review. Great idea for the Dogathon.

R.C. said...

It really is. It's a "Forgotten Gem". Haha, thank you. I enjoyed doing it.

R.C. said...

Thank you very much. I highly recommend you watching it. It really is an enjoyable film.

Dawn said...

'The Proud Rebl', sounds like a very heartwarming movie that I will to add to my list of "must see" films. Thank you for your pawsome post!!

Citizen Screen said...

Heartfelt post on what seems a very sweet movie. Enjoyed reading this very much and will make a point to add it to my must-see list.

On another note...

I love your blog. I love Dean Martin - my mom's favorite singer. But as I began to read your post, he started singing from your iPod up there and I nearly jumped outta my skivvies!

After settling down, it rarely gets better than "For the Good Times".

Aurora

R.C. said...

Thank you very much for your kind words. Dean Martin is also my favorite singer. He was, and he is, in my opinion, the best there ever was. Haha, yeah, I can see how that might have mae you a little jumpy.

Rarely indeed.

R.C. said...

It really is a heartwarming film. Haha, you're welcome.