The Biscuit Eater (God Gave Him a Dog) (1940)
The Biscuit Eater is what is known in Hollywood as a "sleeper"--a small, unpretentious film that catches on with the audience and turns into an unexpected hit. Child actor Billy Lee plays the son of southern bird dog trainer Richard Lane. Lee adopts a dog named Promise, who turns out to be a "biscuit eater"--a dog that refuses to hunt for anything but its own food. Ordered by his father to get the dog off his property, Lee and his African-American friend Cordell Hickman secretly train Promise, hoping to enter the pooch in the annual field trials. Just when Promise is on the verge of winning, Lee discovers that he's in direct competition with his own father--who, if he loses the trials, will lose his farm. Lee demoralizes Promise by calling him a no-good biscuit eater, thereby assuring that Lane's dog will win. Realizing the sacrifice his son has made, Lane apologizes to the boy; Lee in turn tearfully begs forgiveness from Promise, just before the dog dies from an accidental gunshot. This 1940 version of James Street's The Biscuit Eater is a genuinely moving experience; when remade by the Disney Studios in 1972, it became just another boy-and-his-dog yarn. … More
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