Trish and Ella checked out from our friendly local public library, was “My Friend Flicka,” the 1943 version with Roddy McDowell, who later stared with Lassie.
First of all couldn’t someone have worked with McDowell a little more to drop his British accent? Then again, his Montana-rancher father, Preston Foster, had a Jersey accent. And what’s with the actress who played his mom, Rita Johnson? She was a hottie. (According to IMDB she was a hottie who received a brain hemmorage when a hair dryer fell on her head; she was rumored to have been romantically linked with a mobster who beat her, she became an alcoholic and died 20 years after the hair dryer incident of liver disease and encephalitis.)
Anyway, Ella loves the movie. She’s watched it several times already, even though, when the dad kills the mountain lion, she said, “this is a scary movie!” Trish and I were lying beside her; she squeezed our hands a little tighter and kept watching.
We kept telling her, “it’s not real. The cat is playing like he’s dead for the movie.” I’m not sure she bought it, or understood what we were trying to say.
Of all the nostalgic old kid-loves-animal movies, the only one I’d seen, before Flicka, was “Ol’ Yeller.” I’m not ready to watch that one again. It’s still the saddest movie I’ve even seen.
I used to think I’d seen Flicka, but it’s only because I always subconsciously substitute “Flicka” for “Flipper” when the theme song for the porpoise runs through my head. “Flicka, Flicka, faster than lightning! No one you see, is smarter than she!”
The first night after Ella watched Flicka I spent 20 minutes convincing her that the mountain lion that had been under her bed was now gone.
“It was probably lost,” I said.
“Yeah, it was the mama, and it was going to see its babies.”
“Do mountain lions have babies?”
“Sure they do. But not too many of them. Because there aren’t many mountain lions anymore. And there aren’t any around here.”
“Well, maybe the mountain lion had a map.”
“Yeah, I suppose maybe she did. Or she could stop at the gas station and get one.”
“And where’s the daddy lion.”
“Can I have a pony?”
“Sure. Some day.”
“And a horse. I want a pony and a horse.”
“Uh … ok?”