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Big Red

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Big Red
Big Red is a 1962 American family-oriented adventure film from Disney Studios. Based on a 1945 novel by American author Jim Kjelgaard and adapted to the screen by American screenwriter Louis Pelletier, the film starred Walter Pidgeon.

Filmed in the province of Quebec, "Big Red" is an Irish Setter that would rather run through the woods than be the perfectly-trained and groomed show dog his sportsman owner (Pidgeon) wants. A ten-year-old orphan boy (Payant) helps look after the dog and rebels against his owner's strict discipline of "Big Red." It was released on video in 1984, then re-issued again in 1985 and in 1998.

Plot

Wealthy sportsman James Haggin lives on a Quebec estate called Wintapi. Émile Fornet, handler of Haggin's hunting dogs, and Émile's wife Therese, Haggin's cook and housekeeper, live in a separate house on the estate. To start a line of top show dogs, Haggin purchases the winner of the Montreal Kennel Club show, an Irish setter named Red. French-Canadian boy René Dumont arrives at Wintapi on foot looking for work. He lived with his uncle in a cabin in the wild country and had no formal schooling. The uncle has died. Haggin hires René to help care for the dogs, especially Red, whom he expects to win the Westminster show in New York the next month. René is quartered inside the kennel. René and Red develop a special bond. The dog is too distracted by the boy to perform correctly for his owner, so Haggin moves Red to the main house until the show, and René is not to see the dog. Mollie, the mate selected for Red, arrives and is placed in Red's kennel. On the eve of the departure for New York, René sneaks to the main house to say goodbye to Red. Determined to follow the boy, Red crashes through a window and is gravely injured. Haggin orders the dog euthanized, but René sneaks Red away to his dead uncle's cabin and nurses him back to health. He returns the dog to Haggin. Red is scarred but still valuable for stud. Haggin wants to hire the boy back, but René finds work at the neighboring dairy farm. Haggin ships Red and the pregnant Mollie by train to Montreal to be sold. On the way, they escape from the baggage car into the wild. When René learns of this, he takes the train to where they were last seen and tracks them down on foot, reuniting with them just as Mollie gives birth to four pups. When Haggin learns that René has not shown up for work at the dairy farm for two weeks, he sets out on horseback to find the boy's cabin and learn what has happened. Man, boy and dogs are reunited in the woods, but not before Haggin encounters a cougar, loses his horse and gets trapped by a boulder. Red and René rescue him from cougar and boulder. Haggin proposes that René live with him at Wintapi and go to school. René accepts the offer, and they all walk back to Wintapi.

Cast

  • Walter Pidgeon - James Haggin
  • Gilles Payant - Rene Dumont

  • Émile Genest - Emile Fornet

  • Janette Bertrand - Therese Fornet

  • Georges Bouvier - Baggageman

  • Doris Lussier - Farmer Mariot

  • Champion Red Aye Scraps - Big Red

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