(©Nov 14, 2008-Ciao~First published at Ciao under my pen-name of pyewacket)
This charmer of a movie is loosely based on the actual true story of John Gray, a man who lived during the mid-1800s and who had come to Edinburgh, Scotland and is probably one of Scotland’s more famous true “legends” about the devotion of dog toward his master.
In this classic 1961 Disney movie, Greyfriar’s Bobby, Bobby is a Skye Terrier belonging to a farming couple, it is their hired hand Jock, that the dog adores and follows wherever he goes. When things get tough on the farm, the couple let Jock go as they can no longer pay for his services. Jock decided to go to the main Scottish city of Edinburgh where he hopes to find employment. Like clockwork, at noontime when the city’s cannons sound off, indicating the noon hour, Jock often dines at a local pub/restaurant where he is also staying in one of the pub’s rooms. But Jock isn’t exactly a young man, and sickly and dies of pnuemonia. Jock having been near penniless and having no next of kin to take care of his funerary needs is buried in the “potter’s field” section of the Greyfriar’s graveyard with an unmarked grave.
The dog, Bobby, is confused, he doesn’t understand what happened to his beloved master, though he did witness his beloved master being taken away, and watches as Jock is being buried. As soon as Jock is finished being buried and the gravediggers leave, Bobby goes on top of the gravesite and sleeps there. During the day remembering that the cannon sounds going off at a certain time, had indicated when Jock had dined in the pub, Bobby would return to it hoping to find Jock. Being a dog, he still doesn’t understand that his master will never come back to him.
Now the vicar of the Greyfriar’s church isn’t none too keen on the idea of a mere dog making his residence in the graveyard and often chases Bobby away, but as soon as the vicar leaves back Bobby goes to rest on his master’s grave.
The Lord Provost of Edinburgh also isn’t too keen on the idea of a loose, masterless dog making its residence in the graveyard, and threatens to take the dog away and have the dog destroyed. The resident children who have fallen in love with Bobby try to save him. They’ve been told that the only way to save Bobby from death, is to get a license, yet how can they as they have no money to do so.
What becomes of Bobby? Do the children save him? Is he allowed to stay in the graveyard resting on his old master’s grave?
As mentioned, this movie is actually based on the true events about a real Skye Terrier, and yes named Bobby. The real person named John Grey was indeed buried in Greyfriar’s graveyard and at first had no marker yet, years and years later a grave-marker was set up in honor of Edinburgh most famous master of his dog Bobby, and in the city of Edinburgh, there has been a statue erected in the form of a Skye Terrier in commemoration of the real dog that actually made his home on the grave-site of his beloved master for fourteen years. One can go to this website and read all about Greyfriar’s Bobby and see his statue here
This is another one of those charmer classic, rather bittersweet Disney movies that was made during the 1960s and another one I grew up on. Being the animal lover that I am, I can never watch this movie without having a ton of tissues nearby as I’m crying my eyes out, thinking of the sweet devotion a dog had for his master, and even in death, didn’t want to be parted from. It makes one aware that animals can probably be more loving unconditionally than people are.
The story was based on the book, Greyfriar’s Bobby by Eleanor Atkinson, and by doing a Google search for the book, one can actually download the book in it’s entirety of which I just did last night as a 291page PDF file (4.0M) And believe me I plan to start reading it soon.
As for rating I’d give this movie a 9 out of 10 and if you’re an animal lover will be enchanted by this story about a dog’s devotion to it’s master. Just remember to have tissues handy.
As a very personal comment, I have seen upfront and close the devotion an animal can have. But instead of the devotion and love an animal might have toward a human, in my case it involved two cats of mine whom I got the same year. While I had other cats at that time, I never in my life saw two animals bond the way Tommy and Mickey did, they were more devoted and pals to one another than most human family members will be. When sadly, Tommy died very suddenly out of the blue in the middle of the night, only a month later, Mickey died as well, despite there being nothing physically wrong with him. I can’t help wonder if Mickey died out of grief over his pal’s death.
Old Jock…….Alex Mackenzie
Lord Provost of Edinburgh….Andrew Cruickshank
Directed by Don Chaffey
Music by Francis Chagrin
Running Time: 87 minutes.
Based on the book by Eleanor Atkinson