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Posts Tagged ‘The Yearling’

 

 

The family hopes for better fortunes were riding on planting tobacco seedlings for a much-needed cash crop. Here are Claude Jarman, Jr. and Gregory Peck as Penny Baxter, “Pa,” discussing what a successful crop might mean to them and “Ma” Baxter.  Below, Jody tells Ma as played by Jane Wyman, “twert Flag, Ma,” when the tender crop is destroyed by the logical suspect, Flag, Jody’s pet fawn.

 

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This studio still depicts Claude Jarman, jr., Jane Wyman, and Gregory Peck and their resolve after the region’s black bear raided the homestead and killed the family calf. The bear scene is remarkably realistic and required a trained bear, a bear suit, and reportedly much in the way of skilled cinematography plus days to complete as can be imagined. Quite significant for its time and achieved without today’s special effects.

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This scene is among the earliest shot for The Yearling and introduced filmgoers to Jody  Baxter, played by Claude Jarman, Jr. This motion is reported to have cost $4 million to produce and was first released in December of 1946. The bulk of the outdoor scenes were filmed in Florida at Juniper Wilderness Park.

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It’s unclear if this is a studio still shot during filming, a candid, or a clip from the finished film. At any rate Claude Jarman, Jr., as Jody described Jane Wyman as very helpful during his debut film acting career.

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The Yearling won Academy Awards for Best Color Cinematography and Best Art Direction/Interior Direction (Color), and Claude Jarman, Jr. received a special Academy Award for “Outstanding Child Actor of 1946.”  The film was also nominated for Academy Awards in the following categories:  Best Picture, Best Actor (Gregory Peck), Best Actress (Jane Wyman), Best Direction(Clarence Brown), and Best Film Editing (Howard Kress).

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Donn Gift, above right, played the character Fodderwing, the youngest of the Forrester Clan, sometimes friends and more often than not, scalawag neighbors of the Baxters. Fodderwing, declared Jody (Claude Jarman) to his disapproving mother, was “just . . . different.”

Fodderwing had an affinity for the local “critters” and claimed in the scene below he’d seen ‘coons and rabbits and the like playing together to a skeptical Jody. “They’s enemies,” said Jody but Fodderwing assured him that after dark, the local animals behaved in manners much different than observed by common mankind.

Gift appeared in several motion pictures of the mid-to late-Forties including Fighting Father Dunne, starring Pat O’Brien, and The Happy Years where he was cast with other rising young child stars Dean Stockwell, Darryl Hickman, and Scotty Becket.

Gift was nearly 20 years of age when he appeared in The Yearling.

In the top scene, Jody bids good-bye to his only friend in the neighborhood, Fodderwing whom his mother labeled, “M’ little crookedy boy.” Before his death, however, Fodderwing did bestow a name on Jody’s fawn, christening it “Flag”.

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Joan Wells, shown here with Claude Jarman, Jr., was one of several cast members that were not credited. Such was a common practice, especially when listing child actors, in those days. Miss Wells, however, appeared in several motion pictures of the period and only one bore her name in the credits.

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