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The Magic of Lassie

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Magic of Lassie
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDon Chaffey
Written byJean Holloway
Robert B. Sherman
Richard M. Sherman
Produced byWilliam Beaudine Jr.
Bonita Granville Wrather
StarringJames Stewart
Michael Sharrett
Pernell Roberts
Mickey Rooney
Stephanie Zimbalist
Alice Faye
CinematographyMichael Margulies
Edited byJohn C. Harger
Music bySongs:
Richard M. Sherman
Robert B. Sherman
Irwin Kostal
Lassie Productions
Distributed byInternational Picture Show Company
Release date
  • August 2, 1978 (1978-08-02)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$3 million

The Magic of Lassie is a 1978 American musical drama film directed by Don Chaffey, and starring Lassie, James Stewart (in his final appearance in a domestically-released live action feature film), Stephanie Zimbalist, Pernell Roberts and Michael Sharrett, with cameo appearances by Mickey Rooney and Alice Faye (in her final film role). Stewart appeared in one of only three musical film roles that he played: the first was Born to Dance (1936) in which he introduced the Cole Porter standard "Easy To Love" and the second was Pot O' Gold (1941). The screenplay and song score are supplied by the prolific Sherman Brothers, who worked as staff songwriters for Walt Disney and wrote songs for his films such as Mary Poppins (1964). Their song "When You're Loved" was nominated for an Academy Award for "Best Original Song" and was sung by Debby Boone. It is also the only musical film featuring Lassie.

Released in the wake of Star Wars, the film was critically panned as old-fashioned, and flopped at the box office. Critics expressed dismay at Stewart singing unmemorable songs as the grandfather. Following the film's failure, he semiretired from acting.

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The Mitchell Vineyard, in the rolling hills of Northern California, is the very blood of Clovis Mitchell (James Stewart), a spare and dignified grandfather and guardian to Kelly (Stephanie Zimbalist) and her brother Chris (Michael Sharrett). The heart of the household, though, is Lassie, a handsome young collie, affectionate, obedient, sensitive, and very wise. A threat is in the air one night when Jamison (Pernell Roberts) and his associate Finch (Robert Lussier) appear at the winery and offer to buy the land from Clovis. They get a refusal from the old man, while Lassie growls in the background. Jamison promises to return, and does, to claim Lassie, one of a litter he says escaped during a fire. She has a tattoo mark in her right ear to prove it. Clovis has no alternative but to give up the dog, and tells his heart-broken grandchildren. Lassie has an alternative; taken by private plane to Jamison's home in Colorado Springs, fitted with a handsome green collar with gold studs, Lassie makes her escape. Chased by helicopter and kennel men through the rocks and hills of Colorado, Lassie manages to elude them and out-stare a cougar before she joins up with new friends – Gus (Mickey Rooney), a down-at-heel wrestling manager and Apollo (Mike Mazurki), a kindly mountain of a man and Gus's so-called star.

About the time they are binding up Lassie's sores, giving her food and water, and moving along in their van, young Chris bolts on his first day of the school term and sets off alone in search of Lassie. With his distraught grandfather setting out to find the boy, and Kelly and her sweetheart, attorney Allan Fogerty (Lane Davies), checking with the police, Chris takes a car conveyor in the direction of Colorado Springs. Soon after the truck takes off, a hungry and frightened Chris leaves the vehicle, buys food in a restaurant from a sympathetic waitress (Alice Faye), then goes out to look for another truck, and finally dives into the back of a cattle truck. The restaurant waitress, hearing reports of Chris's disappearance, calls his home and tells his sister where the boy has been, but Chris is on the move again, and so is Lassie. He in an empty cattle truck, she in the doorway of a freight car. Lassie leaps from the freight car and continues her journey. Clovis and the police officer who is aiding in the search for Chris, hear his cries as he is about to be crushed by a herd of Longhorns being loaded into his hiding place. Everybody is home – everybody but Lassie, whose ownership by Clovis has been clarified by Allan, the young attorney, who is about to join the family as an in-law.

Lassie continues her long, painful journey. Wet, sore-footed, and limping, she stumbles upon the Mike Curb Congregation, who are rehearsing. The group takes Lassie along to their engagement, where a flare is knocked over, causing a fire. Panic ensues. Lassie is trying to save the life of a kitten from a burning dressing room and is presumed dead.Thanksgiving Day arrives, and the family are settled down to dinner, while Clovis starts to say a prayer, regarding family friends and the loss of their beloved Lassie. During the prayer Chris hears a bark and looks to the fields through the dining room window, and spots Lassie, tired and filthy, wagging over the hill. Chris overjoyed,runs to meet Lassie,while his family watches with this miracle unfold. Lassie leaps at Chris who holds her tight, while Lassie smothers him with kisses. She’s finally home.


Soundtrack (US version)

The Magic of Lassie:
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album
ReleasedNovember 23, 1978
LabelPeter Pan Records
ProducerIrwin Kostal
Singles from The Magic of Lassie
  1. "When You're Loved"
    Released: 1978
  2. "I Can't Say Goodbye"
    Released: 1979

The film's soundtrack album was released in the United States by Peter Pan Records on November 23, 1978. It was the first soundtrack LP to be issued on the Peter Pan Records label under its Orange Blossom logo. The songs were composed by Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman, and all music was supervised, arranged, and conducted by Irwin Kostal.

Side 1
  1. "When You're Loved" – Debby Boone
  2. "Nobody's Property" – Mike Curb Congregation
  3. "Travellin' Music" – Mickey Rooney
  4. "There'll be Other Friday Nights" – Debby Boone
  5. "A Rose Is Not A Rose" – Pat Boone
Side 2
  1. "Banjo Song" – Mike Curb Congregation
  2. "Brass Rings and Day Dreams" – Debby Boone
  3. "That Hometown Feeling" – James Stewart
  4. "I Can't Say Goodbye" – Mike Curb Congregation
  5. "Thanksgiving Prayer" – James Stewart

Soundtrack (UK version)

The Magic of Lassie:
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album
ReleasedFebruary 1979
LabelPickwick Records
ProducerIrwin Kostal

A slightly different version of The Magic of Lassie soundtrack with a new cover was issued in the United Kingdom by Pickwick Records in February 1979. The running order of the tracks on this version differ from that of the original soundtrack and three soundtrack songs not featured on the US release are included on the UK release – an instrumental version of "Nobody's Property" conducted by Irwin Kostal, a new recording of "A Rose Is Not a Rose" by Alice Faye and a reprise of "When You're Loved" by Debby Boone.

Side 1
  1. "When You're Loved" – Debby Boone
  2. "Nobody's Property" – Mike Curb Congregation
  3. "Travellin' Music" – Mickey Rooney
  4. "There'll be Other Friday Nights" – Debby Boone
  5. "A Rose Is Not A Rose" – Pat Boone
  6. "Banjo Song" – Mike Curb Congregation
Side 2
  1. "Nobody's Property" (Instrumental) – Irwin Kostal
  2. "A Rose Is Not A Rose" – Alice Faye
  3. "That Hometown Feeling" – James Stewart
  4. "Brass Rings and Daydreams" – Debby Boone
  5. "Thanksgiving Prayer" – James Stewart
  6. "I Can't Say Goodbye" – Mike Curb Congregation
  7. "When You're Loved" (Reprise) – Debby Boone

Production and release


The film was shot from September 19 to late November 1977 on location in Sonoma County, California at Hop Kiln Winery, Griffin Vineyard on Westside Road, Healdsburg, California.[1] Other locations included Boomtown in Reno, Nevada and Zion National Park in Utah.


On July 27, 1978, the world premiere of The Magic of Lassie was held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City and broke a box-office record, grossing $40,673.75 on its opening day. It was released in New York on August 2 and nationwide on August 18. It opened in Los Angeles on December 8, 1978.


A paperback novelization of the film was written by Robert Weverka and published by Bantam Books to coincide with the film's release.


External links

This page was last edited on 5 August 2023, at 03:19
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