Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Dogville DVD

I've mentioned the Dogville shorts several times in the past. In 1930 and 1931, MGM released a series of shorts spoofing genres and certain movies in particular, using dogs in all the roles. For some reason, I never noticed until recently that the shorts are available as a collection via Warner Home Video's MOD scheme. The TCM Shop says it's been available since September 2009.

Anyhow, I bring this up since I recently watched The Big Dog House which was on TCM to fill out the time slot that had Secret of the Blue Room in it. As you can probably guess from the title, it's riffing off of MGM's seminal prison movie, The Big House, although the plot is rather different.

This one has working girl Trixie being a co-worker of her boyfriend Fido. Both of them work at the same department store; she as a clerk and he in the accounts department. Their boss has a thing for Trixie, and he'll stop at nothing to get Trixie. Ultimately, that means attempting to cook the books, killing the night guard, and then framing Fido for it! Fido gets sent to prison and sentenced to the electric chair, but there's a deathbed confession allowing Fido and Trixie to live happily ever after.

I don't think The Big Dog House is quite as good as The Dogway Melody in part because it's a pastiche rather than just spoofing one particular movie, and in part because it's not really spoofing prison movies at all. There are scenes in prison in the last half of the short, but the sorts of tropes you'd see in The Big House just aren't there. That having been said, there was a scene of Trixie and Fido getting caught making out in the department store, which rather surprised me.

Some of you probably won't like how they had to treat the dogs to get them to do all the things they do in the movie, and I'm sure a lot of the people will find the Dogville shorts extremely old-fashioned. Yet I've always found something fascinating about them.

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