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The Yearling Review

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Born in Nashville in 1934, Jarman was selected after a national talent search for the role of Jody in The Yearling (1946). His performance was warmly praised by the critics and he received an Academy Juvenile Award. MGM found it difficult to find suitable roles for him in the years following and, after a couple of B movies for Republic Studios, he returned to Tennessee to finish high school. After some time in a pre-law course at Vanderbilt University he served three years in the Navy. He appeared on screen again in the TV mini-series Centennial (1978) and later found success as a producer and film festival executive producer. He also served as the Director of Cultural Affairs for the city of San Francisco. His short list of film credits includes High Barbaree (1947), Rio Grande (1950) and The Great Locomotive Chase in 1956.



    The film is based on a popular novel of the same name by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. In 1878, Confederate veteran Ezry "Penny" Baxter (Gregory Peck), his wife Ora (Jane Wyman) and their son Jody (Claude Jarman, Jr.) are a pioneer farm family near Lake George, Florida. As was not unusual in rural 19th century America, the first three Baxter children did not survive childhood. Because of the heartbreak caused by losing three of her children, Ora is afraid to love Jody for fear he, too, will be taken. This forms a wall between them but Jody has a warm, loving relationship with his father. When Penny is bitten by a rattlesnake, he shoots a doe to use her organs to draw out the venom. Jody finds the fawn the doe had hidden and pleads to be allowed to keep it as a pet. His father approves but Ora is not at all happy about it. As the fawn grows into a yearling, it becomes a problem for the family and the hub of dramatic developments. 

     Although he has well established stars playing his parents, Claude Jarman, Jr. is the real star of The Yearling and has the most time on-screen. The film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Director Oscars. It won two Oscars in technical categories and Claude Jarman, Jr. received a special "Juvenile Oscar."

1946, Directed by Clarence Brown

Watch a clip from the movie
*WARNING- Violent scene with dogs fighting a bear

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The Yearling

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