A DOG OF FLANDERS
About The Production
In 1872, British born writer Marie-Louise de la RamÃ©e (nom de plume Ouida, 1837-1908), who from age 29 until her death lived in her adopted country of Italy, published a book for children entitled A Dog of Flanders
In 1872, British born writer Marie-Louise
de la Ramée (nom de plume Ouida, 1837-1908), who from age
29 until her death lived in her adopted country of Italy, published
a book for children entitled A Dog of Flanders. While highly regarded
at the time it was published, it was not until its translation
into Japanese in 1908 that the tale of a young boy and his friendship
with his dog gained international acclaim. Six years later, the
first screen version of the tale was filmed and since then, the
classic story has been told on the motion picture screen three
times (in 1924-called "Boy of Flanders"-and in 1935
and 1959); there was also a German mini-series that aired in 1976
and recently, an animated version was made in Japan.
Director and screenwriter Kevin Brodie always cherished the story
and decided to re-work the tale for filming in the late 90s, with
Brodie himself directing the project. Production began in April
Brodie comments, "The versions of 'Flanders' came before
were all good in their way. But this story covers more than the
physical telling of the tale. There are spiritual and religious
issues at work that weren't as fully explored as they could have
been. We're living in a time when the world is ready to embrace
divergent systems of beliefs-we're, all of us, looking for spiritual
ideals that are universal. Love, art, redemption. And they're
all there in this story written more than a century ago. That's
why I wanted to make a definitive motion picture version of this
The film was to be shot entirely in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking
region of Belgium, with various authentic Flemish historical sites
and surrounding picturesque countryside serving as sets and backdrops
to Brodie's retelling of Ouida's timeless story.
Veteran producer Frank Yablans was enthusiastic about his role
as producer and honorary patriarch on the set. He commented, "This
is, in the best and truest sense of the word, a family picture,
a time-honored story that appeals to a wide range of moviegoers.
I just felt that it would be a great project to produce, and it
was a privilege to film in the Flanders district. This story is
ingrained in the landscape, in its people and their history. There
is a palpable sense of time and place here that makes 'A Dog of
Flanders' distinctive, classic and timeless."
Production first set down in the ancient city of Mechelen, which
is located halfway between Belgium's largest cities of Brussels
and Antwerp. Interior shooting took place in the famous Rombouts
Cathedral-the hallowed ground where Nello seeks to view the painting
by the master Rubens and ultimately, finds redemption. The international
crew led by Americans included technicians, craftsmen and artisans
from such countries as Israel, the Netherlands and Belgium.
Director Brodie brought a long-standing family tradition to filming,
himself being a former child star and the son of character actor
Steve Brodie, who appeared in more than 200 television projects
and feature films before his death at age 73.
Crucial to the story of Nello is his deeply felt respect for fellow
countryman and painter Peter Paul Rubens. Rubens' masterwork,
The Taking Down of Christ, hangs in the cathedral of Nello's village
and becomes an elusive inspiration for the young man attempting
to become a painter. In order to protect and preserve Ruben's
original, the painting (wh
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