The Making of the Documentary, From Novel to Movie: The Yearling in Florida
The Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm citizen support organization is proud to announce that our documentary, From Novel to Movie: The Yearling in Florida is being offered to more than 350 public television stations across the country via the National Educational Telcommunications Association (NETA). The hour-long program takes an inside look at a classic movie as well as the award-winning classic novel which inspired the film with the people who lived the story. The documentary, produced by Donna Green-Townsend and Kathlyne Walkup Sheppard, shares oral histories from some of the actors and stand-ins who were featured in the Oscar-nominated MGM Classic, The Yearling, the coming of age story about a post-Civil War backwoods Florida family who raised an orphaned deer which leads to heartbreaking conflict.
2022 marked the 75th Anniversary of when the film was honored at the Academy Awards with seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor nominations for Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman. The Yearling took home Oscars for Cinematography and Art Direction and Claude Jarman, Jr. received a Juvenile Acting Oscar for his role as young “Jody Baxter” in the movie.
The Yearling, directed by Clarence Brown, was based on the 1939 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. The documentary, From Novel to Movie: The Yearling in Florida features many unique home movie clips recorded by actor Gregory Peck during the time he was working on the film in the Ocala National Forest in Florida in 1945. The documentary also includes extensive interview segments with Oscar winner Claude Jarman, Jr. who played young Jody Baxter in the MGM film. Memories from Florida residents who served as stand-ins for Peck and Jarman as well as some of the people from Marion County, Florida who worked on the movie set in the "Big Scrub" of the Ocala National Forest are also featured, including Richard Mills, Bobby Randall, and Lawrence Kinsey to name a few.
A special thank you goes out to the musicians who provided their talents for the documentary:
The producer of the documentary is the President of the Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm, Donna Green-Townsend. She has more than 45 years of radio and television experience and is the recipient of a National Edward R. Murrow Award for documentary production. The co-producer is fellow board member, Kathlyne Walkup Sheppard whose knowledge, relatives, and acquaintances from the "Big Scrub" were invaluable to the project.