I don't know about other people, although looking at the score this website has given this film I can only ponder, but when it comes to international team work in making a film, I often love the results. In fact, I loved this movie and thought it was extraordinary. Oh and the emotion, it blew me away. 'Call Of The Wild' is a very emotional story of a German Sheppard's forced journey from 19th Century California to the Goldrush of the Alaskan wilderness and the meeting with its new owner with which it becomes closer to than with anyone or anything else. A very simple story indeed, but the legendary Jack London knew how to tell a great high adventure tale on an epic scale and he obviously fancied dogs very much as is shown with his minute details about his subjects. I believe that Ken Annakin (the director of this film) realized London's vision to perfection and translated it brilliantly to the screen.
The sheer realism that Jack London told his stories with takes you to another world and it takes your breath away with their uplifting finales. Ken Annakin had done a wonderful job with directing "Call Of The Wild". The dog in the film is an actor itself as it plays such an integral part of the film. Not even half way into it, it is almost certain that you will fall in love with the dog. Its emotions and gestures are all natural, and it's easy to relate to the dog's journey. Five minutes into the film, I was hooked. The dog had such a commanding presence that not even Charlton Heston could get in its way. And then there is Charlton Heston, a man of such phenomenal, legendary influence on film history. Yet even with his power, fame and success he is one of the few actors in the world who's fame doesn't distract from the film. It's his strong presence and every-man, human and subtle performances that set him apart from many actors on the same level of fame. He is always the same 'Chuck', but he is more like we are and that's why we loved his films so much. So, when you see him inevitably getting closer and attached to the dog, it feels so convincing and real, it drains you of all emotions.
Call me crazy, but when the credits at the end were rolling I felt like crying. Here you are, in the middle of god's nowhere in the heart of the Alaskan wilderness; two mammals - a dog and a man - who have no families and nothing to come home to find one another and become the closest, most reliant friends as it is a key player in their survival of the unforgiving hardships of the Goldrush and the wilderness in between them and the Gold. The scenes where 'Chuck' finds the dog after not seeing him for a long time are so uplifting and you can see the happiness and joy in Heston's eyes. However, nothing beats the finale when the dog and the man are departed for the last time in tragedy. It's so sad and it makes you think about how big their journey together was and how close they were to one another. Yet, the film still finishes on a positive note with the dog and his offspring symbolizing "life goes on".
What really set the mood for the film more than the harsh wilderness and the hardships that the two faced throughout, was the unusual, alienating music written and composed by Carlo Rustichelli, which at first seems out of place and very weird, but soon becomes the film's underlying haunting atmosphere and power. In a way, the music paints a picture of struggle and isolation better than anything I've ever heard in my life. By the end of the film, I didn't want anything else, it was perfect. And of course, the music wouldn't have been any good without the wonderful cinematography that gave a clear realization of how vast the landscape is.
Ken Annakin's "Call Of The Wild" is easily a worthy addition to the adventure lover's film collection. You will feel like you have been on an epic journey. It captures the importance of dogs in those times - for dogs were at times worth more than Gold as they were the only things that could get you around the deep snows of Alaska. Rarely have I seen such a realistic and graphically harsh portrayal of the Goldrush years and the men with their dogs and sleds that fought, searched and died for the Gold. And in the fore-front there is a most captivating story about love and friendship between two different species.
Adventure fans, go no further than this great escapist master work. Yes, there is wooden acting in some parts, but the core of the film doesn't fail one bit. The film is a definite product of the 70s and adds a lot of nostalgia, only adding to the atmosphere. I absolutely surrendered to the film's beauty and power and I can confidently call it a classic. They don't make em' like this anymore!