Lit In Culture: The Call of the Wild

LIT IN CULTURE: Pop-Storytelling, curated by the Avantpop Books team. Films, TV, music and art inspired by books, both fiction and nonfiction.


20th Century Studios


Adapted from the beloved literary classic by Jack London, The Call of the Wild (1903) vividly brings to the screen the story of Buck, a big-hearted dog whose blissful domestic life is turned upside down when he is suddenly uprooted from his California home and transplanted to the exotic wilds of the Alaskan Yukon during the Gold Rush of the 1890s. As the newest rookie on a mail delivery dog sled team--and later its leader--Buck experiences the adventure of a lifetime, ultimately finding his true place in the world and becoming his own master. "The Call of the Wild" opened in theaters on February 21, 2020.


Jack London's books have inspired many films and The Call of the Wild itself has been adapted to film multiple times, with the latest release in 2020 with Harrison Ford. The use of CGI on the set and for the dog is the hot topic of this film. Beyond the special effects used in the latest film adaptation, the story is still a heartfelt one and many will find Harrison Ford a great match for this role.


The book started as a short story... In 1902, London published a short story in Cosmopolitan called "Diablo - A Dog, "where a dog named Batard kills his master. On December 1, London started a companion piece to the story, this time focusing on writing about a "good dog." He intended it to be a short story of around 4000 words, but it started to grow. Soon he was working on it day and night. Three months later, he'd written 32,000 words, the size of a novella. He titled it The Call of the Wild.

Read 10 Facts about the book at

Though “The Call of the Wild” has been adapted numerous times, Ford didn’t pick a favorite film adaptation or gush over his love for the book, explaining, “I didn’t look at other versions of the film because I wanted to have my own independent idea of it.”



The Call of the Wild by Jack London


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