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Clash of the Wolves (1925)

We might not be celebrating the Warner Bros. centennial this year were it not for the star that helped put the studio on the map during the silent era. It wasn’t John Barrymore, Irene Rich, or any other two-legged performer. It was a German shepherd born on a World War I battlefield in France and brought to the U.S. by Lee Duncan, who named him for the French puppet “Rintintin.” In the states, that became three names, Rin Tin Tin, and after a few low-budget productions at other studios, he and Duncan signed with Warner Bros., where studio writers, including future mogul Darryl F. Zanuck, created stories that showed off his bravery and intelligence, often at the expense of his human costars.

Clash of the Wolves was one of his best, even giving him a degree of character growth. He starts out leading a pack of wolves that move into the desert when their home is destroyed by a forest fire. When he injures a paw, a prospector (Charles Farrell) nurses him back to health, in return for which Rinty helps him survive in the desert, win his lady love (June Marlowe), and even fight off outlaws.

For years, Clash of the Wolves was only available in a 16mm print. Then in 2003, a 35mm nitrate print was discovered in South Africa and restored by the American Film Institute.

d. Noel M. Smith, 74 minutes, 35mm

Print preserved by the Library of Congress

Featuring live musical accompaniment by BEN MODEL