Monday, October 22, 2012

Family Movie Night: Snoopy, Come Home

Title: Snoopy, Come Home
Director: Bill Melendez
Original Release: 1972
Choice: Mine
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Image via Wikipedia

It was our second Peanuts movie in a row.  I remember watching this one for the first time on a black-and-white TV in the kitchen of my childhood home, probably in the '70s.  Someone else must have had higher priority to watch the color set in the family room.  I hadn't seen it since but a few details have stuck with me over the years: Charlie Brown, Linus, Sally and Peppermint Patti pacing in a circle, wondering what has happened to Snoopy and the musical refrain "No Dogs Allowed" as Snoopy is kicked out of the library, the hospital and just about everywhere else he tries to go.  I also remember not being allowed to finish the movie because it ran past bedtime.

As the title suggests, the story is as much about the dog as it is about his owner.  Snoopy receives a letter from a girl named Lila who is sick in the hospital.  With barely a second thought, Snoopy packs a bag and takes off, Woodstock (first on-screen appearance) in tow.  In time, Charlie Brown and Linus piece together that Lila was Snoopy's original owner.  Snoopy finds Lila.  Lila gets better.  Snoopy's divided loyalties leave him with a difficult choice.

This one's a far more sentimental movie than A Boy Named Charlie Brown.  Somehow, it doesn't work quite as well for me.  The earlier film is a celebration of all of the comic stirp's old reliable themes.  Snoopy, Come Home risks a more original story - an admirable risk, to be sure.  I guess I just want Peanuts for the simple comforts.

There are other significant changes in this second Peanuts theatrical release.   All animated Peanuts tales were scored by jazz composer Vince Guaraldi until he died in 1976 - all but one, that is.  Snoopy, Come Home was scored by the Sherman Brothers who made their name working for Disney.  Their most famous film is Mary Poppins.  My favorite, though, is The Jungle Book.  The music combined with a jauntier animation style definitely recalls a Laugh-In era feel.

Multi-generational considerations:
  • Our Girl got a bit weepy over the separation scenes.  Questions came up: "Will you miss me when I move away? I want to live on the same street as you when I grow up!"  Oh, boy...  I'm sure it's age-appropriate. She simply doesn't believe it when we tell her she may feel differently when she gets older.

My Rating System:

5 = The best of the best.  These are the films by which I judge other films.
4 = High quality films which I feel could hold up well in repeated viewings.
3 = The vast majority of films.  They're fine.  Once was enough.
2 = I wasn't even sure I wanted to finish it.  It's not a 1 because I'm not prepared to say it's a terrible film - just not my cup of tea.
1 = A terrible film.  An insult to the art form.


  1. This movie was a big part of my childhood and I liked it just as much as I did, 'A Boy Named Charlie Brown.' Hard to say how I'd feel about it if I'd only watched a portion of it, once, on a spare TV when I was just a few years old. My sibs and I watched it a lot as kids. And I can't believe it's only until after reading your review that I realize Guaraldi didn't do the score. In that regard, it does have a very different sensibility but I suppose since it's firmly planted in my psyche, it holds that 'classic' authority, for me, nonetheless.

    Kind of a bummer to see you give it three out of five stars, but I have a film I'd like to suggest for your family night. It's a cherished favorite in our household -- each of us has a favorite character, scene, etc. You may have already watched it as a family but if not, I'm happy to point you in the direction of this.

    My favorite scene. Beautiful score. Made me weep unexpectedly the first time I saw it. Teared up an eensy bit just now as I watched it again to link it for you. Our daughter loved it and I have a sense yours might, too.

    1. A 3 isn't bad. It just means one viewing was enough. We have actually watched the film you suggest, about a year ago. Have you read the book or seen the 1939 movie? I have not.

    2. I haven't, either.

      Did you write a Family Movie Night review of the 1995 Cuaron adaptation when you watched it?

    3. No. That was in a prior evolutionary Squid stage. I will if it comes around again.

  2. As a kid, I was a Snoopy junkie, so I have fond memories of this one. Won't ruin those by watching it as an adult though.

    1. Yes, there are definitely disillusionment risks to parenthood when it comes to our own childhood favorites. I went through all of that with books, too. It makes one appreciate the stuff that works for adults, too, all the more.