Incredible Journey, The (1963)

Incredible Journey, The (1963)

“From the very start, the travelers had adopted a certain marching order.”

Two dogs and a cat leave their temporary caretaker (Emile Genest) in search of their owners, and soon find themselves on a truly incredible adventure across the Canadian wilderness.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Friendship
  • Pets
  • Road Trip
  • Survival

Disney’s first live action adaptation of Sheila Burnford’s classic children’s novel features a voice-over narration chronicling the tale of three plucky pets sticking with each other through thick and thin as they battle obstacles such as a raging river, a prickly porcupine, and a lynx. They receive ample support from well-meaning humans along the way, but their ultimate destination (getting back home to their owners) is never far from their minds. Thank goodness the animals don’t talk; we’re allowed to believe in them as actual creatures who happen to be incredibly hardy, loyal, and smart. The sections with human actors are poorly acted and a bit stilted, leaving one even more impressed by what the well-trained animals here manage to pull off. This film is infinitely better than Benji (1974), and holds a certain charm, but it isn’t must-see viewing for all film fanatics.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Assured performances by the animal cast
  • Fine cinematography

Must See?
No. Listed as a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.


One thought on “Incredible Journey, The (1963)

  1. Agreed, not must-see.

    The three animal ‘stars’ are the film’s selling point – for those FFs with young children who might want to share the film with them.

    Yes, it is the kind of flick in which adults are depicted as either kindly or less-than-smart. Most of the voice-over narration isn’t necessary (since we can see what’s happening). The film’s most harrowing sequence – in which the cat is in real danger in a river – makes one wonder how closely the safety of the animal was being monitored.

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