of the Wild
It tells the story of Buck, the
handsome Leonburger, who is kidnapped because of his massive size from his
pampered life in California, and endures horrific hardships, numerous
owners, and self-discovery as he is taken to man's "holy grail"
- the Klondike Gold Rush. Rutger Hauer protrays John Thornton, the
grizzled but kind man who saves Buck's life and introduces Buck to the
unbridled joy of unconditional love. Richard Dreyfuss narrates
beautifully, giving the viewer an opportunity to actually experience bits
and pieces of London's exquisite prose. Although a number of film versions
have previously been made, this version is by far superior! Not only is
Buck accurately represented by the actual breed that London wrote about,
but the screenplay follows the story most faithfully. Except for the brief
insertion of a saloon girl to romance Thornton for a moment and the
minimizing of a number of Buck's owners, this film visually portrays the
fear and growth and finally the trust and love that Buck experiences. I do
recommend, however, that to fully experience the depth of London's
metaphor! It is an excellent way for children to understand that films
come from the written word and to possibly help "turn them on"
to reading. After viewing, you might even start a discussion with
your children about greed, love and sacrifice!