My Side of the Mountain (film)

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My Side of the Mountain
My Side of the Mountain Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJames B. Clark
Produced byRobert B. Radnitz
Written byJoanna Crawford
Jean Craighead George (novel)
Jane Klove
Ted Sherdeman
StarringTed Eccles
Theodore Bikel
Tudi Wiggins
Music byWilfred Josephs
CinematographyDenys N. Coops
Edited byAlastair McIntyre
Peter Thornton
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release dates
  • 1969 (1969)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryCanada
LanguageEnglish
Box office$2 million (US/ Canada rentals)[1]
 
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My Side of the Mountain
My Side of the Mountain Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJames B. Clark
Produced byRobert B. Radnitz
Written byJoanna Crawford
Jean Craighead George (novel)
Jane Klove
Ted Sherdeman
StarringTed Eccles
Theodore Bikel
Tudi Wiggins
Music byWilfred Josephs
CinematographyDenys N. Coops
Edited byAlastair McIntyre
Peter Thornton
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release dates
  • 1969 (1969)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryCanada
LanguageEnglish
Box office$2 million (US/ Canada rentals)[1]

My Side of the Mountain is a 1969 film adaption of the 1959 novel of the same name, by Jean Craighead George. It was directed by James B. Clark.

Plot[edit]

The story revolves around twelve-year old Sam Gribley (Teddy Eccles), a devotee of Thoreau (as many were back in the 1960s[2][3]). Sam decides to leave Toronto to spend time alone in the Canadian woods to see if he can make it as a self-sufficient spirit after his parents' promised summer trip doesn't pan out.

His immediate companion is his pet raccoon, Gus, which lives with him in the city. He gathers supplies at a local store, hops on a bus, and heads down the 401 with Gus to what he calls "the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec". In actuality he ends up in the picturesque town of Knowlton, Quebec, SE of Montreal, in the Notre Dame Mountains Range of the Appalachians. Here he finds the perfect mountain stream and pond location to build a home in an old dead tree. He begins his long-planned algae experiments, and proves his ability as a solitary, young Thoreau living off the land and communing fully with nature.

Sam wants badly not to have to feel needful of the urban and modern world, however the sight of a falcon overhead inspiresh his curiosity about falconry. Sam journeys back into Knowlton and to the local library, where the librarian and bird-enthusiast Miss Turner (Tudi Wiggins) supplies Sam with books on falconry. Sam steals a chick from a local falcon nest. The young falcon, whom Sam names Frightful, becomes Sam's new best friend and food supplier, after Sam teaches it to hunt.

One day, returning to his tree home, he finds an older man there. Bando (Theodore Bikel) is a wandering folk singer traveling the world in search of folk songs and traditions. The two share survival ideas and lore with one another and enlighten each other's worlds. They enjoy each other's pancake recipes. (Sam makes acorn pancakes and Bando makes great syrup).

The pair bond over the summer, but as September's cold air approaches, Bando lets Sam know that it is his time to leave before winter comes on. They climb the nearby mountain together, and Bando says his good-byes. Sam is lonely.

Frightful, is killed by an insensitive hunter. Sam is devastated, but still manages to survive as winter sets in. His bright demeanor returns as he witnesses the local fauna playing in the winter snow. He also has the warmth of his tree home in place after building a makeshift chimney out of clay from his pond.

Sam and Gus sleep by the fire as a terrible blizzard sweeps in. Soon their wooden home is blanketed in snow, and without air the two will suffocate in the smoke-filled chamber. Panic-stricken, Sam begins to dig his way through the snowed-in doorway to the outside air. Luckily, Bando and Miss Turner have decided to pay a Christmas visit. They help dig Sam and Gus out. The four have a Christmas celebration, and Sam, Bando, and Miss Turner sing "Good King Wenceslas" over Bando's guitar playing.

Bando shows Sam newspaper reports of his parents' concern over their missing son. Sam decides that he should go home, knowing that he accomplished even more than he set out for. The four head off around the side of the mountain.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The movie was filmed on location in Knowlton, Quebec, in the Green Mountains of Quebec, Canada, and Toronto.

Bikel said in his autobiography, Theo, "What was unusual about this production (My Side of the Mountain) was that they asked me not only to sing and play, but to write the songs as well. With the exception of one French-Canadian tune, 'Un Canadien Errant,' for which I wrote the English lyrics, for all the others I wrote the words and music."[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1969", Variety, 7 January 1970 p 15
  2. ^ Koslow, Francine Amy (1984). Henry David Thoreau as a Source for Artistic Inspiration: DeCordova and Dana Museum and Park, Lincoln, Massachusetts, June 6-September 9, 1984. U of Massachusetts P. p. 13. ISBN 9780870234828. Retrieved 14 November 2013. 
  3. ^ Tichi, Cecelia (2000). "Domesticity on Walden Pond". In William E. Cain. A Historical Guide to Henry David Thoreau. Oxford UP. pp. 95–122. ISBN 9780195138634. Retrieved 14 November 2013. 
  4. ^ Theodore Bikel, Theo. Harper Collins, 1995, page 308.

External links[edit]