The Incredible Journey (1963)

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With a title like The Incredible Journey, one would imagine a film about a journey that was, at least, incredible, right? Well…just read my review to learn more!

And remember, SPOILERS AHEAD!

The film opens by panning over the setting of our film, the Canadian wilderness. We then see inside the house of Mr. John Longridge, played by Émile Genest. Mr. Longridge seems to live by himself although right now he has three furry companions staying with him: a Labrador Retriever named Luath, an English Bull Terrier named Bodger, and a Siamese cat named Tao.

Two dogs and a cat…sounds like the beginning of a joke!

They actually belong to Mr. Longridge’s friends, the Hunter family. Professor Hunter, played by John Drainie, recently got a job offer to give a series of lectures at Oxford University. Unable to take the animals with them, Mr. Longridge volunteered to keep the animals until the Hunters returned.

On the first day of duck hunting season,

Mr. Longridge heads out into the woods to go shoot some ducks while leaving the three animals at home. He’s not worried about them as they usually stay home by themselves and don’t run off. However, the animals, Luath, in particular, are now missing home, i.e. their real home with the Hunters. So Luath gets up and starts to head west towards the Hunters’ residence and the other two animals soon follow. Herein begins the “incredible journey”.

And that is pretty much the bulk of the film is: watching these three animals on their quest to find home! Along the journey, they wade through streams, hunt for food, come across bears and a lynx, meet a hermit, get separated, get reunited, meet other humans living in the wilderness, etc.

Our incredible heroes, everyone!

After three weeks have passed, Mr. Longridge returns home from his duck hunting escapade. He soon discovers from his housekeeper that the animals are missing and comes to the conclusion that they’ve headed west to their old home. He makes phone calls to various authorities near the area to see whether or not they’ve seen the animals. He gets news that a cat was spotted about 100 miles away and that someone else found the dogs before they escaped, but no other news besides that.

Mr. Longridge heads to the Hunters’ home to tell them of the news (I assume the Hunters haven’t left yet to go to Oxford). The parents take it alright, but the kids are sad, as can be expected.

“Why can’t they phone us to let us know they’re alright?”
“They’re animals, Professor.”
“Their partying lifestyle has nothing to do with it!”

Not long after that is the birthday party of one of the Hunter kids. Fortunately, he gets the best birthday present ever: Luath, Bodger, and Tao have successfully made it all the way back home and everyone is overjoyed to see them!

And that was The Incredible Journey! “Incredible”, huh? This was quite a boring film with the main problem being the majority of the film is just watching three animals who don’t talk do stuff (which was also my main problem with the 101 Dalmatians remake). Granted this time, there is narration provided by Rex Allen throughout the movie, rather than just watching the animals in silence, but still!

Incredible to watch, huh?

Is there anything good to say about the film? I mean, the animals were very well-trained and some of the cinematography and backgrounds were nice, but that’s about it! The human actors just seemed to give up on their performances and the story just isn’t that exciting!

I’m really surprised someone decided to remake this movie in 1993 as Homeward Bound: The Lost Journey. Well actually, maybe that was a good thing as they seemed to correct the fault of this film and made the animals talk! I’m very interested to see the remake now, which is probably the first time I’ve been looking forward to watching a Disney remake!

Maybe if you’re in love with animals, you may love this film more than I did. Otherwise, it’s better for you to go on an incredible journey of your own instead of watching this!

(You can click on the image below for an enlarged version of my rating sheet.)

So, the final score for this film is 15/35 = 42.86% (F) !

3 thoughts on “The Incredible Journey (1963)

  1. I only saw this movie on video a couple of times many years ago, and when I was in high school, I decided, on a whim, to read the book on which it was based (published in ’61). Personally, though, I much prefer HOMEWARD BOUND.

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