Shaggy Dog, The (1959)

“Don’t be ridiculous — my son isn’t any werewolf! He’s just a big, baggy, stupid looking, shaggy dog!”

Synopsis:
The teenage son (Tommy Kirk) of a dog-hating postman (Fred MacMurray) accidentally recites an ancient charm which turns him intermittently into a shaggy dog; while in dog form, he learns about the presence of spies across the street, and enlists the help of his younger brother (Kevin Corcoran) to foil their plans.

Genres:

Review:
Recently remade with Tim Allen, this immensely popular Disney live-action film broke box office records the year it was released (beating even Ben-Hur), and generated a sequel twenty years later (1979’s The Shaggy D.A.). While Fred MacMurray is surprisingly annoying in the central adult role (his performance is both one-note and overly broad), both Kirk and Corcoran are decent as his two sons, with Corcoran in particular showing evidence of kid star talent. The film’s two central subplots — Kirk’s rivalry with his best friend (Tim Considine) for the affections of two neighborhood girls (Annette Funicello and Roberta Shore), and the discovery of a neighborhood Cold War spy ring — are silly but ultimately innocuous; with that said, the movie as a whole is far from must-see viewing for all film fanatics, and will be a tedious bore for many.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Kevin Corcoran as Wilby’s dog-loving younger brother, Moochie
    Shaggy Dog Brother
  • Several amusing Wilby-as-Dog sequences
    Shaggy Dog Brushing Teeth

Must See?
No, but film fanatics may be curious to check it out simply for its historical popularity.

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One Response to “Shaggy Dog, The (1959)”

  1. In total agreement here except *.

    I saw this recently for the first time since I was a kid. I’ve no idea what I thought when I saw it when I was probably six or so (I think I was just happy watching anything that moved cinematically at that point). But the assessment puts it right: this is a tedious bore.

    On quite a few levels.

    And increasingly so.

    It does, in fact, just get worse as it goes.

    *I doubt ffs will find any kind of interest in it, historical popularity notwithstanding.

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