Perri (1957) Movie Script

NARRATOR: These words of truth
are nature's basic law,
and you shall be the witness.
Come with us now
to watch with all the grandeur
of her seasons' change.
And marvel at the wondrous ways
in which she has arranged
a time for everything.
On yonder mountain breaks the day,
and so begins a time of beauty
and our play.
Break of day
The moment of enchantment
When the dawn
Comes tiptoe down the hill
Morning sky all aglow
While the sleepy earth below
Feels the kiss of the breeze
Sweep the mist from her trees
And then lo and behold
All is gold, all is gold
Break of day
Break of day
Break of day
One perfect hour at dawning
When the world
in loveliness is dressed
Every flower fresh with dew
Gives a fragrance to the air
Rippling brook runs along
Joins the birds in their song
See the sky, blue and clear
All awake, day is here
Break of day
Break of day
Break of day
Break of day
NARRATOR: And so, full born,
a day in spring.
And we have come on morning's wings
upon a secret garden.
Just beyond the beaver pond, it lies.
We call it Wildwood Heart,
and this shall be the setting
for our play.
Our plot is nature's own,
our theme, the endless stream of life
that in this time of spring
finds new beginnings everywhere.
There are many wonders here
in Wildwood Heart.
Each plays its part in nature's plan.
The miracle of mother love, a vital force
that, even in a savage breast,
protects the young
until their age of helplessness is past.
And nature's greatest gift is here,
a warm and precious thing.
The deep compelling urge
of kind for kind
from which all life must spring.
But now the mating season,
the time of together,
has come and gone.
Still, between the red fox and his vixen,
there is a bond that holds them
in a close companionship.
So shall they stay through all of life,
for this is nature's way.
But nature's mating ways
are sometimes strange,
and in her treetop world,
she's arranged
the very opposite design.
The pine squirrel,
once his mating time has passed,
lives out a life of bachelorhood
inside a ragged nest
of shredded bark and grass,
and yet he always keeps a watchful eye
on a pine-tree snag nearby.
His mate and all her tiny brood
live here,
but one is more precocious
than the rest,
always first to Mother's breast.
This is Perri, and this is her story.
It begins with those first awarenesses
that nature gives the very young:
The taste of milk,
her mother's furry warmth,
and in a bed of pungent cedar bark,
a time of perfect peace.
But Perri's mother
knows none of these.
She leads a hectic life of eat and run.
To feed her young,
she must herself be fed.
And it's odd but true,
she can change to mother's milk
even the deadly tissue of the toadstool.
This time of hunting
is a necessary time for all.
The mother marten,
with her young to feed,
is driven by a constant need
of flesh and blood.
She must make many kills today,
and the pine squirrel
is her natural prey.
The ravens' wild alarm
is heard by Perri's father.
Perri's father,
moved by some ancient instinct
stronger than the fear within his breast,
sets out to lure the marten
from the mother's nest.
A life is lost,
but not in vain.
The marten now can feed her young,
but she will return to Perri's nest again,
and so the mother squirrel
needs another hiding place.
Good. The father's nest.
Inside their hollow-chambered stump,
the martens' morsel is already gone,
and now the mother squirrel's
borrowed time grows very short.
Now all the babies
have been moved but one.
A narrow miss, but this is not the end.
Death still is very near.
Now, how will nature tip the scale?
Will life or death prevail?
Two mothers, each with a need,
which one will succeed?
The distant cry
that makes the marten turn away
comes from her nesting place.
A mother raccoon has happened by,
and now the marten's babies
are in peril.
Although the marten works a miracle,
it's all a waste of time,
for the raccoon can't solve the riddle
of this tantalizing stump,
and much annoyed,
she ambles on her way
in search of less perplexing prey,
but finds instead
another prickly problem.
From the haven of her father's nest,
Perri looks upon the world below,
and as we watch with her,
we, too, shall see with nature's eye
this time of hunting
that shall go quickly by.
Of course, we must abandon
all emotion, all distress,
and realize that death
is just a necessary end.
This is the perfect plan
that nature has contrived.
Some must die that others may survive.
The wildcat doesn't care
to face the mother fox inside her den.
It's true the rabbit is a small reward,
but then at least she got this prey
the easy way.
To keep her world in balance,
nature has decreed
that in this time of hunting,
death shall take many forms.
The beaver kills the living aspen tree
and dines upon its flesh.
From the bare, bleak skeleton
that remains,
he fashions and maintains his dam.
All through the day, in Wildwood Heart,
the search for food
continues everywhere.
The sapsucker feeds her young
on grubs and worms,
and in her daily round,
she demonstrates how life or death
will sometimes turn
upon the merest quirk of fate.
Her busy rapping
wakes a flying squirrel.
If not disturbed,
he never flies except by night,
but now, by day,
the goshawk waits with swifter wings
to end this brief untimely flight.
A time of hunting.
And then a time of peace.
Now, with fall of night,
nature brings the precious gift of sleep.
Now to sleep
Now to rest
While the soft night descending
Covers all
Great and small
Till a new day is born
Deep in the shadow
Dreaming away
Soon you'll forget all the cares
Of the day
So to sleep
Slumber deep
Let the soft night enfold you
Mother's near
Never fear
She will keep you from harm
Lulled by the night wind
Close to her breast
Now, peacefully, lovingly
Tenderly rest
Lulled by the night wind
Close to her breast
Now, peacefully, lovingly
Tenderly rest
NARRATOR: In Wildwood Heart,
the medley of the birds
ushers in another day in spring,
and with it, comes the time of learning.
For Perri, lesson number one
is purely elementary.
She will simply learn
to walk along the branches of a tree.
Mother, with a tasty tidbit, is the lure.
Bravely, Perri starts,
and then she's not so sure.
She didn't know she'd have to cross
the unknown world of far below.
Still, hunger is a strong incentive,
and so, despite what seems to be
a warning from her brother,
Perri once again sets out
for food and Mother.
Mother's coaxing
starts another scholar on his way,
but he'll never reach
the head of the class.
He'll be lucky to even pass.
Well, it's a rather shaky start,
but if she puts her heart in it,
keeps up the fight,
she'll get the hang of it, all right.
All this, the young raccoons
have watched with awe.
But they must get their tree legs, too.
And so, as Perri takes her turn
upon the judgment seat,
one stout heart sets out headlong
to duplicate her feat.
Brother would like
to lend a helping hand,
but in this kind of test,
you're on your own.
You just dig in, hang on
and try to do your best,
and if, alas,
you just haven't got the answers,
there's only one thing left to do.
Drop out of class.
This mishap could become a tragedy,
for predators are always near.
But so is Mother.
She knows by instinct
that survival of her young
depends upon her watchfulness
and tender care.
As late spring turns to early summer,
the time of learning still goes on.
Down at the beaver pond,
the beaver kit is on his way to school.
As a rule, it's Mother
who supplies the transportation here,
while Father,
as the chief construction engineer,
provides the object lesson.
The subject for today is logging,
and everything that Father does,
Baby Beaver tries
on something more his size.
In beaver school,
even scratching is catching.
Nature teaches
many special skills and arts,
and at the wildcats' den,
a primary course for predators
is just about to start.
The lesson for today
will be how to lie in wait
and pounce upon your prey.
The other students,
having learned by observation
all a kitten needs to know,
now sally forth.
A-hunting they will go.
"This fellow's tricky.
"Looks pretty dangerous, too.
"More than that, he's awful soft
and sort of sticky."
It's the instinct of the predator
to quell the flow of life,
and so these youngsters will try to stop
anything that creeps or crawls or hops.
This time,
it was a mouse that got away.
A very clever mouse, no doubt of that.
After all, he just outfoxed a cat.
But now what will he do?
Just who's going to outfox who?
Well, so far, score one for the mouse.
And what's more,
he'll challenge anybody in the house.
Brother's willing
and knows exactly what to do.
"First you grab him,
then a shake or two...
"But what comes next?
"Any suggestions?
"Oh, well, I guess you just let him go."
And so, in this time of learning,
many live to run away,
and death can wait for another day.
The young raccoons
are nimble-footed now and strong,
and they've long since entered
the second phase of their training.
Mother's teaching them
to forage for themselves,
and this is a hunting trip.
But it so happens that not far away,
a family of skunks
is also faring forth today,
and this can only lead
to confusion at the crossroads.
The skunks regroup,
hold a council of war,
but it's all over now.
Everything's just as it was before.
Well, not quite.
Mother Raccoon has three, all right,
but not three of a kind,
and as for Mother Skunk,
well, she drew the wrong suit, too.
Another scuffle, another shuffle.
And then each family
goes its separate way again,
but for one at least,
the fun is over much too soon.
He still thinks he's part raccoon.
In the varied diet of the raccoons,
fish is a mainstay,
and crayfish, a prime delight.
Mother demonstrates
the right technique for angling.
And now the youngster tries,
but here's one little fisherman
that's in for a big surprise.
Borne on a gentle wind
from the lower valleys,
the seeds of the cottonwood fall
like a summer snowstorm
on Wildwood Heart.
With the passing of the summer days,
there comes a time of adventure
as nature wakens in her young
a sense of independence.
The time of adventure brings
the little martens from their hollow tree
to rehearse their predatory skills
with mock ferocity.
In contrast, the squirrels
are creatures of purest joy.
To them, the time of adventure
is a time to play,
and so begins a treetop circus,
an aerial ballet.
A magpie, on thievery intent,
presents a pointed argument
that stops the show.
Then she boldly takes her time,
adding one more pine cone
to a life of crime.
Once the magpie's gone,
it's on with the show.
Well, come on, let's go.
Eager for any kind of playmate,
Perri sees
the little hummingbirds next door.
To protect her precious chicks,
Mother Hummingbird
flies into a fit of fury.
She knows that fur and feathers
just don't mix.
Oh, well, maybe she's right.
So Perri sets out to find
someone more her kind.
"Now, let's see,
anybody in this aspen tree?
"Yup, there sure is."
Oh, that such a thing should happen
to a daytime-napping flying squirrel!
He's getting out of here.
Perri is very much impressed.
What a perfect way to travel!
It looks like sheer delight.
She simply has to try this for herself.
"Didn't have that takeoff timed
just right. We'll try again."
Now with perfect confidence,
Perri takes the air,
but when she spreads her wings,
they just aren't there.
Although she lands unhurt,
this is the one place
Perri's always feared to go,
the dreadful world of far below.
And she has a right to fear.
There are monsters here.
"Now, what was that?"
Well, that was a ground squirrel.
Perri's fear at once is gone.
She feels there is a kinship here.
A friend at last.
He even lets her share his lunch
till Perri makes one small mistake.
She eats too much too fast.
Perri doesn't want to lose
her newfound friend
over just a little spat,
and so she tries to make it up,
but newfound friend, it seems,
has taken in the welcome mat.
In this strange world of below,
even the trees grow much too short,
just about as short
as everybody's temper.
Deeper in the forest,
Perri comes upon a most unexpected
and exciting thing.
She catches a glimpse
of the great forest king himself, Bambi.
One of Bambi's children
is drinking at the brook.
Perri drops down for a closer look.
The fawn is friendly,
and Perri senses this,
knows she won't be harmed.
But now, in the distance,
a clamor grows
and soon becomes a wild alarm.
Somewhere in the Wildwood Heart,
a killer's on the loose again.
Blind to all except her homing instinct,
Perri comes at last
upon her nesting tree
and finds catastrophe.
Mother, sister, brothers, all are gone.
Not one is left, not one.
And now it's Perri's turn
to look upon the face of death.
Perri dashes for the brook.
The ruse succeeds,
for here's a barrier
that makes the marten pause.
She hates the water
and never swims except in direst need.
And so Perri's safe again,
but not for long.
The wildcat decides to wait.
He senses that his prey cannot escape.
But now Perri hears
a voice much like her own
and very near.
This is Porro.
He's noisy, brave and brash,
and quite often very rash.
He considers this
his sovereign domain,
and he's out to rout this pesky cat.
Lead the foe a merry chase,
lure him up a skimpy tree,
then shout insults in his face.
This is Porro's strategy for wildcats,
and it always seems to work.
In the center of Porro's private estate,
there is an ancient log.
It's called a midden.
Here, many generations of squirrels
have stored their food
and hidden from their enemies.
The litter of shells and husks
around the log form the midden waste,
and this in turn becomes
a perfect place for hiding food supplies.
Nearby is Porro's private drinking pool,
and bathing in this water source
is frowned upon, of course.
Being very young,
Porro has only recently claimed
this territory as his own,
and so he spends much of his time
collecting raw materials
of bark and grass
to build his bachelor home.
His house is nearly finished, though.
Just has to hang the door.
The walls are firm. The roof is strong.
In fact, the only weakness is the floor.
This would be a sorry plight
for a less determined squirrel,
but Porro sets to work at once
to mend his oversight.
It takes some time for Perri
to lose her lethargy of fear,
but with the danger gone, she's aware
that now she, too, is on her own.
Obedient to a natural law,
she will not intrude
upon the realm of Porro.
For the present, she will live alone.
Not far away, Perri comes
upon the ruin of a giant tree.
Although the penthouse here
is occupied,
down below and on the other side,
Perri finds an ideal home,
and by the law of Wildwood Heart,
she claims it for her own.
One look around
and Perri's off in search of food.
To the spotted skunk
who has the basement flat,
this isn't good.
It's always been a quiet neighborhood.
To be honest,
Perri is not the ideal neighbor.
Once she starts to chatter,
there's just no way to stop her,
and worse than that,
she's a chronic cone-dropper.
Within the marten's brain,
Perri's image is fading fast.
Still, she feels the need
to overpass this brook,
and now she finds the means.
Perri's fate rides on the fickle current,
but in the end,
the marten meets complete defeat.
And so Perri finds security at last,
and perhaps in some vague way,
she already senses
that her destiny is fast entwined
with her neighbor
in the nearby tree, Porro,
who still labors hopefully
with this vast unruly mess
of moss and grass he calls a nest.
The days grow short.
A time of change begins.
The air is crisp and cold.
Nature paints her trees
with autumn hues,
and all of Wildwood Heart
becomes a symphony in gold.
Autumn is a time of preparing,
and Porro, in a perfect frenzy of haste,
is determined
that not a single pine cone
shall go to waste.
Perri, too, is busy
gathering winter stores,
and on one of these crisp autumn days,
she goes beyond the limits
of her own territory,
deep into a part of Wildwood Heart
she's never seen before.
So far from home, she gets confused,
and to find her bearings,
she climbs a tree.
This simple act
turns out to be a very grave mistake.
This is the grove of the crooked aspen,
the trees twisted and deformed
by some violent
and long forgotten storm.
To Perri, it's strange and frightening.
The snake is really not a threat.
Perri senses this,
and yet she takes no chances.
It's just as well,
for in the aspen grove,
death also dwells.
This is the private hunting ground
of the swift and cunning weasel.
Perri has a small advantage in the tree.
The weasel isn't quite as nimble
as a marten,
and Perri might elude her enemy,
but now she takes a one-way path
and puts herself in double jeopardy.
The goshawk's talons find the weasel.
Perri's free.
The winds of late autumn,
as though jealous of the lovely leaves,
rip through Wildwood Heart
and tear them
in a golden fury from the trees.
And these winds blow ill
for more than one,
for now down comes his castle,
Porro and all.
Well, this time, it's too late to try again,
so Porro takes refuge
inside his midden log.
After all, it's well supplied
and probably safer than his tree.
In fact, a squirrel
could be very happy here.
That is, if he enjoys noise.
To get a foot in the face
in one's dwelling place is bad enough,
but when an amorous grouse
uses your house to rehearse,
that's worse.
It's the raccoon that decides it, though.
This time, somebody's got to go,
and, of course, it's Porro.
And so night finds Porro
in his tree again,
but unprotected now.
Luckily, in a nearby aspen tree,
Porro finds a warm, inviting nest,
but before he even gets
a chance to rest...
"Well, nowhere else to go. This is it.
"Look out below."
And so for poor, proud Porro,
there remains but one alternative.
Although he is by birth
a treetop dweller,
now must he live all winter long
beneath the earth.
Now, through many days and nights,
nature, grand mistress of design,
redecorates her stage in white,
and with each dawn,
another time of beauty
lies upon the land.
At first, this is a time of silence, too,
but as the morning sun
grows warm and bright,
it wakens
every sleeping bush and tree,
creates a rhapsody in white.
For Perri, with her store of winter food,
winter is a time of waiting,
but not for the marten.
Indeed, this is her time
of greatest need.
The snow provides a cover
for her natural prey,
and to allay her thirst for blood,
she's in a constant frenzy.
Still, Perri feels quite secure,
and out for a touch of sun,
she joins her friend, the mouse,
the winter tenant
of a robin's empty house.
Just one look
at this tempting meal across the brook
makes the marten
try her luck once more.
On the water's whim,
Perri's fate rides once again,
but this time, too,
the current turns the marten back.
Nature has many designs
for winter living.
Squirrels are semi-hibernators,
which simply means
they eat a little, sleep a lot,
and, in Perri's case at least,
have the oddest dreams.
This time, her dream begins
as Perri hears
an eerie but familiar sound.
And then an ancient enemy appears,
but soon the vision fades, dissolves,
becomes but one small part
of a winter fantasy in Wildwood Heart.
The winter passes
and spring comes again
to Wildwood Heart
and to the mountain meadow.
Of all of nature's many times
and seasons, this is the happiest,
for this is the time of together.
Together time is the time of year
When winter's over and spring is here
A wonderful season
And there's a good reason
For this is together time
Together time is the time to share
These happy hours beyond compare
All nature is waiting
So no hesitating
For this is together time
One is too few
Two is just right
To welcome
this wonderful time of delight
Two is the thing
in the brightness of spring
Two of everything
Let come what may, it's together time
When two together will always find
The joy in the story
Of spring and its glory
For this is together time
One is too few
Two is just right
To welcome
this wonderful time of delight
Two is the thing
in the brightness of spring
Two of everything
Let come what may, it's together time
When two together will always find
The joy in the story
Of spring and its glory
For this is together time
For this is together time
NARRATOR: The time of together
comes to every creature
in the Wildwood Heart,
and so,
on one of these bright spring mornings,
Perri awakens
with a new awareness in her breast.
The barrier between herself and Porro
has been withdrawn.
This, Perri clearly understands.
Her time of together has come.
Her moment of fulfillment is at hand.
On the midden log below,
Porro also knows
and pours his all
into a soulful mating call.
Perri speaks,
and Porro's weak.
Then she sees
that he needs to be encouraged,
so she leaves her tree
to join him on the midden.
Porro finds this close proximity
even more unnerving.
Of course, she is bewitching,
and he would mention this,
except he's taken
with a sort of speechless twitching.
Perri coaxes.
And the bashful Porro would,
of course, give in,
but he never gets the chance.
Fire, the dread destroyer
all wild things fear.
Perri, terrified,
races for the safety of the tree,
but in a forest fire,
this is where the greatest danger lies.
Porro senses this,
tries to call her down.
Now, driven by the flames,
Porro, too, must seek a refuge.
Now the heat and smoke
become too much to bear.
Porro makes a desperate try.
His winter home beneath the ground.
There may be safety here.
But for Perri every hope,
it seems, is lost
as all of Wildwood Heart
becomes a seething holocaust.
Just in time,
Perri breaks the grip of fear.
When nature,
in another change of mood,
sends down the cooling rains,
the mountain wilderness is spared.
Only Wildwood Heart
will wear the mark of fire,
and this, too, in time, nature will repair.
It's no surprise, of course,
that Porro rises from the ruins
safe and sound.
He sees the desolation all around
but doesn't wait to mourn or meditate.
He hurries straight
for Perri's burned-out pine-tree snag.
He has no feeling of alarm,
no thought
that Perri may have come to harm.
If Perri isn't here, he will find her.
Porro should have waited
just a little longer,
for Perri, too, remembers
she has a rendezvous to keep.
And so she preens, prepares
and then sets out
to find the midden log,
quite unaware that all the while,
there's been a witness here.
And this time,
the forest fire has supplied
the bridge so long denied.
Perri finds the midden log
but not her mate,
and at this most untimely time,
she calmly settles down to wait.
Enter Porro returning from his quest.
Perri hears the warning,
knows that danger is near,
but where?
One instant more may be too late,
and so Porro
makes the utmost sacrifice.
Though death may be the price,
he will attract the marten to himself.
Perri sees,
and Perri knows.
It is the kill.
And now the moment after.
Never is the forest quite so still.
Perri is aware of death.
She is bereft and mourns her loss.
It is the marten
that the wildcat takes away.
Nor will Perri grieve for Porro very long
because, you see, there is no need.
He always could outwit that cat,
and here's the living proof of that.
Perri hears and feels within her breast
a warm, upwelling happiness.
And so nature in her wondrous way
writes the happy ending to our play.
Together time is the time to share
These happy hours beyond compare
All nature is waiting
So no hesitating
For this is together time
One is too few
Two is just right
To welcome
this wonderful time of delight
Two is the thing
in the brightness of spring
Two of everything
Let come what may, it's together time
When two together will always find
The joy in the story
Of spring and its glory
For this is together time
For this is together time