Hailed as “one of the all-time great family films” by Turner Classic Movie’s Leonard Maltin, Lassie Come Home was the first film adaptation of Eric Knight’s story by the same name, which ran in the Post on December 17, 1938.
The first of seven Lassie movies produced by MGM, the film starred Roddy McDowall, Donald Crisp, Dame May Whitty, and a young Elizabeth Taylor, who replaced Maria Flynn in the role of Priscilla. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography in 1944, though it failed to win a statue.
Fans may know that while the Lassie of Knight’s stories was in fact female, the dogs who played her on screen were always male, the first being Pal. For his debut film, Pal earned a salary of $250 a week—more than any of his two-legged cast mates. Every collie that has since been used in a Lassie movie has been a direct descendant of Pal.