Throughout January, Orange County Library System is hosting a diverse range of events celebrating Jack London’s adventure classic, The Call of the Wild. To celebrate, we’ve put together a list of recommended films which feature dogs that expound upon the literary themes found in The Call of the Wild. All titles are available for checkout from Orange County Library System.
Everyone’s favorite stuck-in-the-well alert system stars in this faithful adaptation of the original Lassie Come-Home novel. After being sold to the Duke of Rudling (played by Peter O’ Toole), the titular collie sets forth on an international adventure to reunite with her original owner.
Directed by auteur Wes Anderson, and featuring an ensemble cast of, well, nearly every famous actor working today, Isle of Dogs is a beautifully rendered tale about the bonds that develop between humans and dogs. On the surface, this stop-motion animated dystopian science-fiction comedy can appear to be too many things at once. But like the meticulously crafted sushi roll featured in the film, all the ingredients combine to form a fresh and wholly original experience.
A heartbreaking character study about a homeless woman and the dog she cares for. The film offers an affecting portrait of desperation and self-reliance, anchored by a subdued performance from Michelle Williams. Fun fact: For her role in Wendy & Lucy, the film’s canine actor was awarded the Palm Dog, an annual award presented as an alternative to the Palme D’or and awarded to the best canine performance during the Cannes Film Festival.
White Fang (1991)
Adapted from another Jack London novel, White Fang follows the experiences of a wild wolfdog and Jack Conroy, a young boy portrayed by Ethan Hawke, during the Klondike Gold Rush. The film adaptation takes some liberties with the source material in the interest of making it more accessible to a family-friendly audience, but the thematic roots of the novel remain intact.