The Biscuit Eater


1h 21m 1940

Brief Synopsis

Two little boys have faith in a dog they name Promise, so much faith that they enter him in the championship trials for bird dogs. The favorite is Georgia Boy bred and trained by the boys' fathers. And if Georgia Boy doesn't win, the fathers may both lose their jobs.

Film Details

Release Date
May 24, 1940
Premiere Information
Albany, Georgia premiere: 10 Apr 1940
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "The Biscuit Eater" by James Street in The Saturday Evening Post (13 May 1939).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 21m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Synopsis

Georgia dog trainer Harvey McNeil fears losing his job when the new owner of the ranch, Mr. Ames, shows more interest in raising horses than canines. Harvey convinces Mr. Ames to delay the auction of the dogs until he can test one of his champions, "Georgia Boy," in the field trials. Mr. Ames agrees, and gives Harvey's little son Lonnie a runt from one of the litters. Lonnie and his friend Text train the dog, whom they name "Promise," for hunting, but the mischievous Promise continues to raid the henhouse and upset Georgia Boy's training. Harvey tells Sermon, Text's father, to get rid of the dog, but the boys retrieve the animal. Lonnie decides that the only way to improve his father's opinion of his dog is to have him win the field trials. Much to everyone's surprise, Promise performs admirably and eventually is the only opponent left against Georgia Boy. When Sermon warns Text that if Georgia Boy does not win, Harvey will lose his job, Lonnie insults Promise into losing his position by calling him a "biscuit eater," a dog too sorry to hunt anything but his own food. Promise runs away, thus making Georgia Boy the winner. Lonnie is broken hearted, but the dog returns that night to his mate, only to be shot by Sermon, who believes that he is a stray. Promise dies in Lonnie's arms, but his lineage continues in his mate's puppies, and both Lonnie and his father emerge as sadder but wiser men.

Film Details

Release Date
May 24, 1940
Premiere Information
Albany, Georgia premiere: 10 Apr 1940
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "The Biscuit Eater" by James Street in The Saturday Evening Post (13 May 1939).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 21m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Quotes

That's what we call a dog too sorry to hunt anything 'cept his own food.
- Harvey McNeil
I was wrong about that dog all along.
- Harvey McNeil
It's easy to see how enough love and faith can outclass a whole kennel of thoroughbreds.
- Mr. Ames

Trivia

The first sound movie to be filmed entirely on location, as well as the first sound movie to be filmed in the state of Georgia, USA.

Notes

According to a news item in Hollywood Reporter, this picture, shot on location at Albany, GA, marked former film editor Stuart Heisler's first solo directoral assignment. The film was included in National Board of Review's list of the ten best films of 1940. Modern sources add that Frank Freeman was assistant to the producer. A radio adaptation of James Street's story was broadcast on the series NBC Short Story" on May 2, 1952, and in 1972, Vincent McEveety directed Earl Holliman, Johnny Whitaker and Lew Ayres in a Walt Disney Productions adaptation (see below).