At long last, 'œLassie has come home,' said Michael Wilmington in the Chicago Tribune. You might think a dozen films and one long-running TV series would exhaust the adventures of the classic canine heroine. But stunning cinematography and a first-rate cast led by Peter O'Toole easily make this the best Lassie since the pooch's 1943 big-screen debut. Director Charles Sturridge restores the pre'“World War II English setting of Eric Knight's original novel, with all its 'œDickensian social contrasts and high emotion.' Most children's films wouldn't risk such realism, said Stephen Whitty in the Newark Star-Ledger. When he loses his job as a coal miner, Lassie's owner is forced to sell the dog, despite the pleas of his young son, Joe. After a fellow dog is beaten to death, the brave collie flees and sets off for home. 'œPart Steve McQueen in The Great Escape, part homing pigeon,' Lassie gets into her usual scrapes. But she also finds help from strangers, including Peter Dinklage as a kindly puppeteer. Even for today's kids, no computer-generated special effects will be able to compete with this flesh-and-blood collie. It turns out you can not only teach an old dog new tricks, 'œyou can teach an audience a few as well.'
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