The Biscuit Eater
Starring Billy Lee, Cordell Hickman, Richard Lane, Lester Matthews,
Directed by Stuart Heisler
Runtime: 81 min.
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.
The biscuit eater is a 1940 movie based on a novel by James H. Street. It is one of the best movies for children and family audiences. It deals with the subject of two boys, one white and one black who train a dog into a champion bird dog. This movie, the biscuit eater was remade in 1972. The movie was directed by Stuart Heisler and it is a touching and emotional adventure film. A 12-year-old boy, Lonnie who is the son of a dog trainer, wants to train his dog into a champion, but is not very successful. The dog would rather play around. Lonnie’s father, Harvey quite worried as his new boss, Mr. Ames seems more interested in horses than canines. He is afraid of losing his job. Harvey persuades Mr. Ames to delay the auction of the dogs until he can test one of his champion dogs in the field trials. Mr. Ames agrees and gives Harvey’s little son, Lonnie a runt from the litters. Lonnie and his friend, Text train the dog, whom they have named as “Promise.” The dog is very naughty. He jumps two fences and continues to raid the henhouse to eat eggs. Lonnie calls him a “biscuit eater” as he hunts only to eat food. Harvey tells Text’s father, Sermon to get rid of the dog. Sermon leaves the dog near the swamp for Echo, but both the boys trade the dog for a jug. They then care for the dog at Text’s house. Lonnie decides to train his dog into a champion so that he can gain everyone’s approval. The dog performs well until his only opponent is the other dog, Georgia Boy who is trained by Harvey. Text is warned by his father that if Promise wins the event, Harvey might lose his job. Thus, Lonnie insults Promise into losing by calling him a “biscuit eater.” Promise runs away thus allowing Georgia Boy to be the winner. Lonnie is upset but the dog returns the same night. Sermon unknowingly shoots Promise who thinks he is a stray dog. Promise dies in Lonnie’s arms but his lineage continues in his mate’s puppies. Finally, Lonnie and his fther end up sadder but wiser.
The movie runs for a duration of 82 minutes and can be viewed in black and white. It was distributed by Paramount Pictures. The biscuit eater is a warm unpretentious movie which turned out to be a surprise hit and one of the best movies made about dogs. It also depicts the relations between two young boys who ignore their racial difference and work towards a common goal. It is also noted to be the first talking feature film that was picturized entirely in Albany.
The movie, the biscuit eater stars the following actors as:
- Billy Lee……Lonnie McNeil
- Cordell Hickman……Text
- Richard Lane……Harvey McNeil
- Lester Matthews……Mr. Ames
- Helene Millard……Mrs. McNeil
- Snowflake……First and second Thessalonians
- Tiverton Invader……Promise, the dog
- William Russell……Field Judge
- Earl Johnson……Field Judge