Hachi: A Dog's Tale

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Hachi: A Dog's Tale
Hachi poster.jpg
Japanese theatrical release poster
Directed byLasse Hallström
Produced byRichard Gere
Bill Johnson
Vicki Shigekuni Wong
Screenplay byStephen P. Lindsey
Based onHachi-kō 
by Kaneto Shindô
StarringChico
Layla
Forrest
Richard Gere
Joan Allen
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
Sarah Roemer
Jason Alexander
Erick Avari
Music byJan A. P. Kaczmarek
CinematographyRon Fortunato
Editing byKristina Boden
StudioHachiko, LLC
Grand Army Entertainment,LLC
Opperman Viner Chrystyn Entertainment
Scion Films
Inferno Production
Distributed byStage 6 Films
Release dates
  • June 13, 2009 (2009-06-13) (Seattle)
Running time93 minutes
CountryUnited States
United Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Budget$16 million[1]
Box office$46,671,235
 
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Hachi: A Dog's Tale
Hachi poster.jpg
Japanese theatrical release poster
Directed byLasse Hallström
Produced byRichard Gere
Bill Johnson
Vicki Shigekuni Wong
Screenplay byStephen P. Lindsey
Based onHachi-kō 
by Kaneto Shindô
StarringChico
Layla
Forrest
Richard Gere
Joan Allen
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
Sarah Roemer
Jason Alexander
Erick Avari
Music byJan A. P. Kaczmarek
CinematographyRon Fortunato
Editing byKristina Boden
StudioHachiko, LLC
Grand Army Entertainment,LLC
Opperman Viner Chrystyn Entertainment
Scion Films
Inferno Production
Distributed byStage 6 Films
Release dates
  • June 13, 2009 (2009-06-13) (Seattle)
Running time93 minutes
CountryUnited States
United Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Budget$16 million[1]
Box office$46,671,235

Hachi: A Dog's Tale is a 2009 drama film based on the true story of a faithful Akita Inu, the titular Hachikō. It is a remake of the 1987 film Hachi-kō (ハチ公物語, literally "The Tale of Hachiko"). It was directed by Lasse Hallström, written by Stephen P. Lindsey and stars Richard Gere, Joan Allen, and Sarah Roemer.

The first foreign premiere was on August 8, 2009, in Japan. To date the film has opened in over 25 countries and continued to open in foreign territories throughout 2010.[2] In the United States the movie was first shown at the Seattle International Film Festival on June 13, 2009. Sony Pictures Entertainment decided to forgo a U.S. theatrical release. The film was given a UK theatrical release on March 12, 2010, courtesy of Entertainment Film Distributors.[3] Total foreign box office was $46.7 million as of June 2010.[4]

Plot[edit]

In the modern day, a class full of young students are giving oral presentations about personal heroes. A boy named Ronnie stands up and begins to tell of 'Hachiko', his grandfather's dog. Years before, an Akita puppy is sent from Japan to the United States, but his cage falls off the baggage cart at an American train station, where he is found by college professor Parker Wilson. Parker is instantly captivated by the dog. When Carl, the station controller, refuses to take him, Parker takes the puppy home overnight. His wife Cate is insistent about not keeping the puppy and leaving it where he found it.

The next day, Parker expects that someone will have contacted the train station, but no one has. He sneaks the pup onto the train and takes him to work, where a Japanese college professor, Ken, translates the symbol on the pup's collar as 'Hachi', Japanese for the number 8, which signifies good fortune. Parker decides to call the dog 'Hachi'. Ken points out that perhaps the two are meant to be together. Parker attempts to play fetch with Hachi, but he refuses to join in. Meanwhile Cate receives a call about someone wanting to adopt Hachi. After seeing how close her husband has come to Hachi, however, Cate tells the caller that Hachi has already been adopted. A few years later, Hachi and Parker are as close as ever. Parker, however, is still mystified by Hachi's refusal to do normal, dog-like things like chase and retrieve a ball. Ken advises him that Hachi will only bring him the ball for a special reason. One morning, Parker leaves for work and Hachi sneaks out and follows him to the train station, where he refuses to leave until Parker walks him home. That afternoon, Hachi sneaks out again and walks to the train station, waiting patiently for Parker's train to come in. Eventually Parker relents and walks Hachi to the station every morning, where he leaves on the train to go to his work as professor. Hachi leaves after Parker's safe departure, but comes back in the afternoon to see his master's train arrive and walk with him home again. This continues for some time, Hachi doing this every day, until one afternoon Parker attempts to leave, but Hachi barks and refuses to go with him. Parker eventually leaves without him, but Hachi chases him, holding his ball. Parker is surprised but pleased that Hachi is finally willing to play fetch the ball with him. Worried that he will be late for the college, Professor Parker leaves on the train despite Hachi barking at him. At work that day Parker, still holding Hachi's ball, is teaching his music class when he suddenly suffers a fatal heart attack and dies.

At the train station, Hachi waits patiently as the train arrives, but there is no sign of Parker. He remains, lying in the snow, for several hours, until Parker's son-in-law Michael (Ronnie Sublett) comes to collect him. The next day, Hachi returns to the station and waits, remaining all day and all night. As time passes, Cate sells the house and Hachi is sent to live with her daughter Andy (Sarah Roemer), Michael, and their new baby Ronnie. However, at the first opportunity, he escapes and eventually finds his way back to his old house and then to the train station, where he sits at his usual spot, eating hot dogs given to him by Jasjeet, a local vendor. Andy arrives soon after and takes him home, but lets him out the next day to return to the station.

For the next nine years, Hachi waits for his owner. His loyalty is profiled in the local newspaper. Ten years after Parker's death, Cate comes back to visit Parker's grave where she meets Ken, and she says that even though it has been a decade, she still misses him. Arriving at the station, she is stunned to see Hachi, old, dirty and weak, still maintaining his vigil. Overcome with grief, Cate sits and waits for the next train with him. At home, Cate tells the now ten-year-old Ronnie about Hachi.

Later that night, Hachi, now old and weary, returns to the same spot in front of the railway station where he had waited faithfully every day for nine years. He lies down in the snow and falls asleep for the last time. As people walk out of the station exit in the cold snowy night, he recollects those joyful moments of his life that he had spent with his master, feeling the years and weariness drop away from him. We see Parker coming through the train station doors again, calling out Hachi’s name. Hachi lifts his head in recognition as his spirit leaves his physical body to greet his master. Parker picks Hachi up in a joyous reunion as their spirits come together forever. Hachi is then shown alone one last time lying on the snow with his eyes closed before the camera sweeps upward into the night-time sky.

The film then shows Ronnie, back in his classroom, making his conclusion of why Hachi will forever be his hero. Ronnie's story has clearly moved the class, with some students holding back tears, even those who had initially laughed at the beginning. After school, Ronnie is met coming off the school bus by his dad and his own puppy, also named Hachi. Ronnie and Hachi walk down the same tracks where Parker and Hachi spent so many years together.

The closing cards reveal information about the real Hachikō, who was born in Ōdate in 1923. After the death of his owner, Hidesaburo Ueno, in 1925, Hachikō returned to the Shibuya train station the next day and every day after that for the next nine years. The final card reveals that the real Hachikō died in March, 1934. But actually Hachikō died in March 8, 1935, not in 1934. A photo of his statue in the Shibuya train station is the last image shown before the credits roll.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The majority of filming took place in Bristol, and Woonsocket, both in the State of Rhode Island. The newspaper reporter, Teddy, states he is from the Woonsocket Call, the daily newspaper published in Woonsocket. This is the only spoken reference to the actual location where filming took place. Additional locations included the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, RI, along the Providence and Worcester Railroad Mechanical, and the Columbus Theater located in Providence, RI. A second production unit filmed some scenes on-location in Japan. In addition, there was a small amount of footage shot at, now closed, Reynolds Elementary School in Bristol, RI for the classroom scene.[7]

Reception[edit]

The film received mostly positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, reported that 62% of critics gave the film positive reviews with an average rating of 5.8/10. IMDB rates it 8.1/10 as of October, 2013.

Additional Information[edit]

On May 19, 2012, a ceremony took place at the Woonsocket, RI train depot where "Hachi: A Dog's Tale" was filmed, unveililng a permanent bronze statue of the legendary Japanese dog Hachiko. This is an exact replica of the bronze statue of Hachiko which resides in front of Shibuya Station in Japan. The train depot at One Depot Square is also now known as Hachiko Place. This statue dedication ceremony was part of the Cherry Blossom Festival held in three Rhode Island towns, Pawtucket, Central Falls, and Woonsocket. Many dignitaries, including the Mayor of Woonsocket and the Consul General of Japan attended the ceremony. Two cherry blossom trees were planted by the statue. A visiting guest, who drove up from New Jersey, brought along his Akita-mix Hachi, who was invited to participate at the ribbon-cutting ceremony as a "real-life standin for Hachiko".

Score[edit]

The film score of Hachi: A Dog's Tale was composed by Jan A. P. Kaczmarek.

Tracklist[edit]

  1. "Japan" (03:26)
  2. "New Home" (01:47)
  3. "The Foot" (02:40)
  4. "Dance Rehearsal" (02:15)
  5. "Storm and the Rescue" (01:36)
  6. "The Second Dance" (00:51)
  7. "Under the Fence" (01:51)
  8. "Treats from Cate" (01:52)
  9. "Parker's Dance Played on Piano" (03:42)
  10. "Parker and Hachi Walk to the Station" (02:04)
  11. "Baby" (01:23)
  12. "Marriage Bath" (03:27)
  13. "Fetch" (02:12)
  14. "To Train Together" (03:25)
  15. "Packing Boxes" (02:15)
  16. "Parker and Hachi" (03:28)
  17. "Hachiko Runs Away" (04:27)
  18. "Memory of the Storm" (01:36)
  19. "Hachi Waiting for Parker Again" (02:51)
  20. "Hachi's Last Trip to the Station" (02:06)
  21. "Goodbye" (02:10)
  22. "Hachi, Parker, Cate and Memories" (03:58)
  23. "Hachi's Voice (Version 1)" (Bonus track) (00:14)
  24. "Hachi's Voice (Version 2)" (Bonus track) (00:10)
  25. "Hachi's Voice (Version 3)" (Bonus track) (00:11)
  26. "Hachi's Voice (Version 4)" (Bonus track) (00:09)

References[edit]

External links[edit]