Journey of Natty Gann, The (film)

Journey of Natty Gann, The (film) During the mid-1930s, the father of 14-year-old Natty has to leave Chicago suddenly to find lumbering work in Washington State. She sets off alone to follow him across the country. She hops trains, befriends a wolf and a teenage drifter, and after a series of adventures is reunited with her father. Released on September 27, 1985. Directed by Jeremy Kagan. 101 min. Stars Meredith Salenger (Natty Gann), John Cusack (Harry), Ray Wise (Sol Gann), Barry Miller (Parker), Scatman Crothers (Sherman), Lainie Kazan (Connie), Verna Bloom (Farm woman), Bruce M. Fischer (Charlie Linfield). Production designer Paul Sylbert was called upon to create a vintage Chicago street scene complete with pushcart vendors, a Hooverville consisting of 60 shacks, and an authentic period logging camp. The film’s emphasis on authenticity extended to the activities of the lumber camp. Ray Wise, playing Natty’s father, learned how to top trees with a big ax as it was actually done 50 years ago. For some scenes he had to climb 40-foot-high trees. The local experts recognized his talents and at the completion of shooting awarded him a handmade throwing ax and target. Salenger performed most of her own stunts. The “wolf” Natty encounters in the film was a wolf/malamute mix named Jed, who, with the application of some water-based makeup, looked the part. Costume designer Albert Wolsky also relied heavily on photographic research in creating the wardrobe. In all, Wolsky came up with nearly 2,000 costumes for the film, including some scenes with more than 250 extras. Hats were frequently used to disguise the 1980s-style coiffures. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design. Released on video in 1986.