“Lassie Come-Home”

Lassie-Come-HomeWe recently watched the movie “Lassie Come Home,” and I learned that all my life I’ve pronounced the title incorrectly. The movie is based on the book by Eric Knight, which I received as a gift in elementary school.
I’ve always been an avid, voracious reader, but for some reason I never read the book. It looked long and dense to me as a child, so it sat on the shelf, and in my mind I said “Lassie Come Home” with the accent on the final word, the idea being that the boy is wishing Lassie would return. But what I learned in the movie is that the title is “Lassie Come-Home,” referring to the statement near the end of the movie that Lassie was a come-home dog, the accent on the word “come,” come-home a two-word adjective, thus the hyphen. The hyphen disappeared for the movie title.
Despite the missing hyphen, Leonard Maltin’s “Movie Guide” calls “Lassie Come Home,” which starred a youthful Roddy McDowall as Joe Carraclough, the boy who looks for Lassie every day after school, “a tearjerker of the first order, and one of the all-time great family films.” The books says that “Lassie is played — quite remarkably — by a male collie named Pal.”
So I retrieved the book from the attic, and there was that hyphen on the cover and title page. I was right that the story is dense and adult in style, but now, having seen the movie and learned of the setting — Yorkshire and Scotland — I plan to correct my oversight and read this classic of 20th-century literature.

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