DOG DAYS OF SUMMER: The dogs who went Hollywood

By: t.d. mobley-martinez
June 18, 2013 Updated: June 18, 2013 at 10:25 am
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I love dogs. And I'm not alone.

Which is probably why they have found themselves pictured or portrayed since men began to walk upright. Cave paintings and Egyptian murals. Those "Blue Dog" paintings. Tin Tin's Snowy, L. Frank Baum's Toto in "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," Astro, Scooby Doo and Jack London's "The Call of the Wild."

Film loves them, too. And in honor of The Gazette's Dog Days of Summer project, I run down my Top 5 list of dog related films to celebrate the dog days ahead of us.

- "The Adventures of Milo and Otis" (1986). Starring Milo and Otis as themselves. This gentle film, which follows the unfortunate choices of Milo the pug and Otis the kitten, feels a lot like a children's book made real. That effect is accentuated by the lack of dialogue, except for the cheery voiceover narration by Dudley Moore. "Two friends," the trailer declares, "who share a love of adventure and the adventure of love."

- "Gosford Park" (2001). Starring Widget as Pip. This Robert Altman English period film is terrific - complex and catty, class conscious and touchingly human. Even Pip, a dirty mop of a dog loved only by the ill-tempered patriarch William McCordle (Michael Gambon), has his own satisfying plotline. Spoiler alert: Pip is not the murderer.

- "A Boy And His Dog" (1975). Starring an uncredited canine actor as Blood. A post-apocalyptic world has reduced life to eating, fighting and finding that special lady. Special for a night, anyway. Blood, who talks, is the only thing that stands between Vic (a young Don Johnson) and extinction. The film is firmly tied to the best (idealism) and worst (simple-mindedness) of mid-'70s sci-fi, but it's still fun. And every dog owner will be interested to hear the snarky comments dogs keep to themselves.

- "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" (1986) Starring Mike as Matisse. In this '80s-slick comedy by director Paul Mazursky, Dave Whiteman (Richard Dreyfuss) decides to remake the life of homeless man Jerry (Nick Nolte). Big surprise: It doesn't go as planned. The film is dated, but the scene in which a therapist talks with Matisse about his anorexia is worth the price of the rental. "Oh, Matisse," the therapist coos sympathetically. "Oh, Matisse. You're very angry, aren't you?"


Contact T.D. Mobley-Martinez at 476-1602.

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