Old Yeller Movie Review

Old Yeller has become such a pop culture cliche that it's almost impossible to watch the movie today with a straight face.

Right off the bat, a group of "old timey" singers croons a soulful tune about a mangy dog, invoking laughter. Then the tale of Old Yeller is laid out for us: He's a dog befriended by a young teenager (Jeff York), and together they get into all sorts of trouble -- namely tormenting every animal in the area. But has no one in this 1860's log cabin been paying attention to the constant -- constant -- warnings of hydrophobia (aka rabies)!? Well, in 84 minutes we'll find out what taunting wild hogs'll get ya!

Old Yeller, to be sure, exemplifies Americana. It's one of Disney's best known live action films, and the dog movie/TV show craze all started here. But I don't know how applicable the movie's lessons are today, and the prospect of shooting your pet is tough for adults to handle, let alone children. It's also remarkably violent for a G-rated film.

Which leaves a bit of a predicament. Young kids will be afraid. Older ones will be bored and jaded. Maybe Yeller is a pet film for adults only?

Too bad. After all, he's rabid.

Comments

Old Yeller Rating

" Good "

Rating: G, 1957

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