Had to re-encode this due to audio/video sync issues toward the end of the movie on the previous avi file.
Based on Sterling North\'s autobiographical memoir, Rascal tells the story of an adolescent boy who befriends a baby raccoon one summer. As far as story goes, that\'s the bulk of this Disney adaptation which does not stray far from the \"boy and his animal\" film that the studio has made (and often, made well) over the years.
Young Sterling (played by Bill Mumy, fresh off his successful stint on \"Lost in Space\") and his mischevious raccoon Rascal have some fun and get into a few adventures in their Illinois town. The film is narrated by a now-grownup Sterling, a device which for me, called to mind A Christmas Story. With his mother passed away, and his father out of town most of the time, Sterling has found a true friend who is making life a bit more enjoyable for him and his dog Wowser.
Though nothing in Rascal is particularly unpredictable or exceedingly funny, the film does manage to capture a poignant sense of childhood spirit and the closeness to an animal that plays a large part of many youths. The film is nicely photographed and adequately directed by Disney veteran Norman Tokar.
Performances are generally fine, with Steve Forrest bringing a Fess Parker-like charm to his paternal role. John Fiedler (the voice of Piglet) turns up in a supporting role as he does in many a Disney film, and he both adds a bit of spark and defies the normal aging process.
Even though the film is heading where we expect, Rascal ends strongly with a genuinely heartfelt parting. With the narration of Walter Pidgeon providing a solemnly wistful reminiscence, Sterling must release his raccoon friend into the wild and bid farewell to the best friend he\'s ever had. Though it may be a bit formulaic, Rascal is a simple but effective little film.