» » Der unheimliche Zotti (1959)

Short summary

Through an ancient spell, a boy changes into a sheepdog and back again. It seems to happen at inopportune times and the spell can only be broken by an act of bravery....

The first live-action feature comedy produced by Walt Disney.

Film debut of Annette Funicello.

Gregory Peck was the second choice for the role of Wilson Daniels.

As a kind of product placement for Walt Disney's associate publisher Dell, a character is seen reading a comic book of Uncle Scrooge 18. This issue, cover-dated June 1957, features the Carl Barks-written adventure "Land of the Pygmy Indians."

The first of six Walt Disney films starring Fred MacMurray.

Starting with this film and five more films for Disney along with a TV series in 1960, Fred MacMurray was widely regarded as the highest paid actor in Hollywood.

The words Wilby Daniels recited from the ring to transform himself were "in canis corpore transmuto."

The only feature film Tommy Kirk and Tim Considine appeared in together, although they did co-star as the Hardy Boys in a 1956 television series.

This movie features Fred MacMurray and Tim Considine, who would later go on to star in My Three Sons. However, they do not share many scenes together.

Although she gets billing above Tim Considine and Roberta Shore, Annette Funicello has a much smaller role than they do.

Fred MacMurray is supposedly a mailman, but we never see him in uniform or at work.

Wilby transforms into Chiffon the Shaggy Dog three times over the course of the film.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Wiliniett
    "The Shaggy Dog" is a delightful live-action comedy, the first of many to emerge from the Walt Disney Studios during the late 50s - through the early 80s. Although firmly rooted in the late 1950s the film has many charms, mosty noticeably its innocence, pure situation comedy and perfect pitch performances by a cast of film veterans. Is the film a classic - no. Is it worth watching, by all means. It's a wonderfully entertaining Disney family film and it holds up quite well, even for today's jaded audiences. If you can't find the appeal in this film well, then your mature beyond all hope. Enjoy!
  • comment
    • Author: Saithi
    There seems to be some confusion about exactly what place in film history The Shaggy Dog has. First and foremost it is not Walt Disney's first live action film, but it is the first live action big screen comedy that he did. It is also the first film that Disney did with Fred MacMurray starring.

    For MacMurray this was a big film. His career was in the doldrums at that point and this film brought him to his final phase of his career as the star of family oriented comedies. He got a television series, My Three Sons, after this and that together with the Disney films kept him steadily working for the next fifteen years.

    Though MacMurray is the star along with Jean Hagen as his wife, the film's title role is played in part by Tommy Kirk. Kirk is a young teenager with a lot of angst and an abiding interest in the space program. So much so he constructs his own rocket in his basement and it has an unscheduled launch to open the film. A generation later, this bit was copied in Family Matters by Steve Urkel.

    Anyway he's got a healthy set of hormones as well and a rivalry with the smooth talking Tim Considine down the street. Both are hot to trot for Annette Funicello, but when Roberta Shore shows up with father Alexander Scourby, both go after her as well.

    Roberta's the only weakness in the film. For someone who is foreign, she has one cheesy accent and at times just drops it altogether. She's also got a large shaggy dog named Chiffon.

    Anyway while at a museum young Mr. Kirk gets a hold of an enchanted ring and repeats a spell that causes him to enter the body of the neighbor's shaggy dog. And he discovers that in fact Scourby and his confederates are spies.

    What follows after as Kirk periodically changes from talking dog to teenager is still pretty hilarious. Fred MacMurray gets a lot of laughs as the man who gets the credit for exposing the spy ring which son Kirk can't really claim.

    James Westerfield, one delightful character actor in everything he does, makes the first of three appearances as Officer Hanson, the much put upon patrol cop in this, The Absent Minded Professor and Son of Flubber. Best moment in the film is when Kirk as The Shaggy Dog steals Westerfield's police vehicle in pursuit of the villains.

    I'm still amazed at how well the ancient special effects still work in this film. Disney took some meticulous care in doing the scenes with the dog. You really do think The Shaggy Dog is driving those vehicles and not some guy dressed in a dog costume. Good thing it was a large Shaggy Dog though, a Chihuahua would not have worked as well.

    Still working well today.
  • comment
    • Author: Thozius
    Funny show about a boy who turns into a dog after coming under an ancient spell. This, of course, leads to all sorts of trouble and adventures. Fred McMurray played the part of the put upon dad to perfection, he had me rolling in the floor. Also, the cops who couldn't quite believe their eyes tickled my funnybone, and they put on quite a show with their comical car chase. Silly Disney stuff to be sure, but lots of fun.
  • comment
    • Author: Nejind
    This is a classic Disney film. Fred MacMurray and others make this a joy to watch. I have seen it several times and always enjoy children even agree with me on this. Contrary to another comment, I believe it has held up very well over the years, though it is dated by virtue of the fact that it reflects the comedy of the period in which it was filmed. I've seen several of the remakes/sequels and none have equalled the original.
  • comment
    • Author: Manris
    The "Wild & Woolly" DVD edition of 1959's THE SHAGGY DOG (and some product reviews and posts found here) claim this film is the "first live action movie ever produced by Walt Disney!" I guess all those other live action features Walt produced PRIOR to THE SHAGGY DOG (such as 1957's OLD YELLER or 1954's Academy Award-winning 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, among others) didn't count? (One comment posted here stated that 20,000 LEAGUES, like TREASURE ISLAND, was one of the films done for Disney in England because of studio funds tied up there. Not true; when not filming on location, 20,000 LEAGUES was shot on the sound stages at the Disney Studio in California...information supplied to me by the studio while I was researching & writing a magazine article on the making of the film.) I can see how some reviewers might make such a mistake, but for the claim to appear on the packaging that was approved by the Disney staff takes some serious explaining. (As does the differences in running time for the two versions of the film, with the B&W version being the full cut of the movie, while the colorized version is missing about 10 minutes of material.) Don't get me wrong,this is a great comedy and well worth just deserved a bit better treatment for its fans.
  • comment
    • Author: Thohelm
    Up to the point of this movie, the Disney Studio had had plenty of experience in live-action film production, but it was chiefly in the UK, where they used the considerable debt-credit that England had run up during the war years to produce things as Treasue Island and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Their initial foray into U.S. live-action production was Davy Crockett on Disneyland, the Mickey Mouse Club's TV serials, and then Zorro, followed by several mini-series on Walt Disney Presents (Texas John Slaughter, Elfego Baca, Swamp Fox). The Shaggy Dog was initially planned as a TV series to follow Zorro as something independent from the weekly Disney hour. You can see vestiges of TV production in almost every aspect of this film, from the post-production foley work on entire scenes to the subdued performance of Kirk (largely reprising his Joe Hardy role from the Hardy Boys serials) and MacMurray's scenery chewing. Not that either of these things were unusual in family movies of the time, but we tend to be more forgiving of them on old TV. (The book the concept originated in was written by Felix Salten, who created Bambi and Perri, a couple of Disney animal characters who did pretty well for themselves.)

    The Shaggy Dog was one of the first movies I saw as a child and I've always held a great affection for it, even while recognizing all of its flaws. The concept here is what I liked, and I believe, had the same cast (remember, this is the year before Fred MacMurray and Tim Considine were cast in My Three Sons) starred in a TV series based on the concept, we'd now be looking back fondly on another TV classic of the golden years rather than a rather middling Disney comedy. I still feel that it might work better as a Disney Channel series than a movie starring Tim Allen; part of the reason I liked the original is because the star was a kid only a couple of years older than me. What I don't need in a new Shaggy Dog film is even PG humor, and without it these days, there isn't much of a market for it in theaters (or even as a series on any of the major networks). It's a kids' super-hero concept that requires a kids' venue, and, sadly, that isn't the big screen. Perhaps, however, if the film does well, someone in the studio will realize that it would work better on a weekly basis...about fifty years late.
  • comment
    • Author: Iriar
    It is increasingly difficult to find movies that are suitable for children, both for their entertainment value and their lack of inappropriate content. The Shaggy Dog is a thoughtful story that the whole family can enjoy. The plot is complex enough to hold the interest of the oldest members of the family while not being too involved or frightening for the youngest children. You're also able to walk away from this movie without having to rationalize to your children why foul language was used, nor do you have to worry about the modern tendency of Disney movies to try to sexualize children.
  • comment
    • Author: nadness
    It's been a while since I saw this film; I last saw it when I was probably about 10-years-old. The film was about a boy who turns into a dog time and time again and the adventures that he had trying to avoid being turned into a dog. I cannot comment about the production of this film or anything as it has been too long ago, but I did like the story through my eyes (as a child). The film actually reminded me of one of my favourite childhood books: "Woof!" by Allan Ahlberg. Again, this film is about a boy who keeps changing into a dog, and it is about his adventures and about him trying to prevent turning into a dog. This is an imaginative children's film.
  • comment
    • Author: Ishnllador
    After years of strictly animated features, this is the first live action feature from Disney and it is still a delight even 44 years after it was first released. Fred MacMurray shows what a great comedic talent he was after years of playing primarily dramatic roles. He shows in this film a preview of what was to be expected when he started the show that became his trademark, "My Three Sons". Also, Tommy Kirk, Tim Considine and Kevin Corcoran all were great in this film. This is still a great film.
  • comment
    • Author: artman
    Fred MacMurray and Jean Hagen starred in this 1959 film. Miss Hagen was given very little to do here. Ironically, about 15 years after this film, both MacMurray and Hagen were diagnosed with throat cancer. He survived,dying from pneumonia years later. She succumbed 2 years later, in 1977, at age 54.

    This lighthearted film deals with MacMurray being afraid of dogs only to have his son fall victim to a Borgia curse and turn into a dog at times. Naturally, there is the new girl next door whose father leads a spy ring. Our son turned dog hears all about their plots and the rest of the film is devoted to MacMurray not being believed by police that his son has turned into a dog. There is the usual wily car chase but this time a dog is at the wheel.

    A typical Disney film without the usual fanfare. That's probably because the film is in black and white.
  • comment
    • Author: Whitestone
    I just learned that Kevin Corcoran ("Moochie") died in 2015 in his middle 60's. He was a Disney child actor that played in several notable Disney Movies including "Pollyanna", "Swiss Family Robinson", this film and many others. He was also a regular on the (original) Mickey Mouse Club, "Spin and Marty" and (surprisingly) many non-Disney productions as well. He quit acting at age 15 and became a respected film and TV director for many decades. Yes, he even directed "Murder She Wrote" episodes. Not standing on nostalgia, both this film and "The Absent-Minded Professor" were well-colorized and are more enjoyable because of it. Readily available from Amazon and "the usual" mail-order companies, bundled with the "Shaggy D.A." sequel. Annette steals the show. She was "dressed down" to make her look younger and less grown-up. It didn't work. I had a "crush" on her, too. The well-known plot involves awkward foreign intrigue and teenage romance as Annette completes with new girl on the block who even doesn't look remotely French and has a beautiful shaggy sheep dog. A magical "Borgia Ring" is involved along with a "real" sheepdog that disappears every time the "trans muto" dog transformation occurs. A silly sub-plot involves foreign spies. The best scene involves Moochies' brother (Tommy Kirk) in shaggy sheepdog fur, leading the police on a wild-goose car chase. (yeah, the dog is driving.) Note: "The Shaggy D.A." with Dean Jones is quite good, also. (I don't care for the 2006 Tim Allen remake at all.) A priceless classic Walt Disney Production.
  • comment
    • Author: Zbr
    this is a hoot for anyone who understands the term " a shaggy dog story" or anyone who knows folklore. first off the term "shaggy dog", means a ridiculous or exaggerated story so even the title is imaginative and clever. anyone who has delved into folklore knows all about stories of lycanthropy or the legend of the Borgia family. all of this mixed into the whole fifties "i was a teen age..." formula. the film is good laughs and not a bad excursion into contemporary folklore.

    i've always felt that Disney comedies like this are often underrated for their cleverness. i guess because so much of the comedy is played for dumb laughs it's hard to take it all seriously, which you're not supposed to really, because it's Disney you're supposed to enjoy and have fun.

    this is a great comedy, semi-horror, teen flick that actually holds up well to sophisticated screw ball comedies. a genuine argument can be made for this film that it is one of cinema's better comedies. certainly with all of it's gimmicks and effects, it's very cinematic.

    one major note here for viewers. this film was originally filmed in glorious B&W and is most effective when viewed in B&W. avoid the horrible colorized, tinted versions which disarm the effectiveness of it's nostalgia and photography.
  • comment
    • Author: Phenade
    I caught this film on Turner Classic Movies one Sundy morning. I almost NEVER watch Disney movies but for some reason ended up sitting through the whole flick. More enjoyable than most Disney movies I must say. I saw plenty as a youth and and there's one thing I'll always remember. As much as I wanted to see the films, I was always disappointed because all of the best/funny parts were already in the promotional TV ads which made the theater viewings redundant. Anyway, throughout the entire movie, after his exposure to a magic ring, Wilby turns into the Shaggy Dog and back without warning several more times. Every time this happens, the real shaggy dog disappears from wherever he is as the Dilby transformation takes palace. By the end of the movie though, Dilby seems to have been cured of this Jeckll & Hyde routine, What did I miss? What cured him? It went right over my head!
  • comment
    • Author: Gabar
    This is a fairly amusing and painless, but also dated and long Disney comedy. I think it would've been better if it had stuck with the main theme and tried to earn more laughs out of it, instead of getting sidetracked by too many uninteresting subplots (they should have gotten rid of all that spy stuff). Best thing in the picture? A charming Annette Funicello. (**1/2)
  • comment
    • Author: Painbrand
    Times have certainly changed. Here we have a Disney live action feature film that looks and sounds more like a TV sit-com (and a below par one at that), and yet it grossed $8,000,000 at the box-office at a time when any film that grossed more than a few million was considered a box-office hit.

    At least FRED MacMURRAY does a professional job as the bumbling father of TOMMY KIRK and KEVIN CORCORAN, a dog-hater with a shotgun who gets itchy around the collar if a dog is even remotely close to his territory. He provides some genuine chuckles with his comic touch on a role that could well have seemed anything but sympathetic. The boys do OK too, especially Kevin Corcoran as the younger brother who always wanted a dog and promises to take good care of his brother who has magically transformed into one.

    The plot is pretty threadbare but it does provide some very amusing moments--such as the one where Tommy Kirk gets into his pajamas and brushes his teeth while in the guise of the shaggy dog. The transmutation has taken place because he read aloud the inscription on a ring that had once belonged to the Borgias and whose Latin words were meant to change the sayer into a dog.

    What weakens the story is the whole spy subplot which has him overhearing the spies while a dog and then reverting to his own body before he can get away from their presence. All of this leads to a hectic chase that has the baffled police force falling all over themselves to catch a shaggy dog driving a stolen police car.

    It's silly stuff and never overcomes the feel of a lame sitcom from the innocent '50s, complete with people like ANNETTE FUNICELLO, TIM CONSIDINE, JEAN HAGEN (a far cry from her "Singin' in the Rain" dumb blonde), and JAMES WESTERFIELD as the policeman who can't believe his own eyes.

    It passes the time pleasantly enough but you have to be willing to view it in the context of its '50s era innocence.

    And contrary to what some here believe, this was not Disney's first live action film--not by a long shot. However, it was one of the few to make a bundle at the box-office for some unknown reason and gave a boost to the sagging career of Fred MacMurray at a time when his film career was on the skids.
  • comment
    • Author: xander
    Before Tim Allen took the reins in 2006, there was Fred MacMurray and Tommy Kirk in the original, 1959 version. Today, you can see the film in its original black and white version or the colorized version. Younger kids will probably enjoy the film in color, which was released on dvd with the original.

    The story is fun, a boy who puts on a ring and recites the engraving, and eventually turns into a sheep dog. For a late 50s film from Disney, The Shaggy Dog is pretty suspenseful, with spies and all. In 1976, it was followed by a sequel with a different cast, The Shaggy D.A.
  • comment
    • Author: Akta
    "The Shaggy Dog" is a fun film for the whole family. It's a clever plot with some nice little twists. This was the start of Fred MacMurray doing family films for kids and adults. Here he is a retired mail carrier, Wilson Daniels, who over the years has developed an intense dislike of dogs. Hmmm! I wonder why? So, naturally, a big dog is going to come into his life. The cast all are very good. Jean Hagen plays Mrs. Daniels (Freeda). Tommy Kirk is the male lead, playing Wilby Daniels. Kevin Corcoran is very good as his brother, Moochie. His best friend – who happens to be a big mooch, is Buzz Miller (played by Tim Considine). The girls in the movie are Annette Funicello as Allison and Roberta Shore as Franceska. Cecil Kellaway plays Professor Plumcutt; and a host of supporting actors play other parts. Most notable is James Westerfield as Officer Hanson.

    Oh, yes. The real star of this movie is Shaggy, an Old English Sheepdog. Some characteristics of this type of large dog (males, 70- 100 pounds) are playful, intelligent loving, sociable and adaptable. Those about describe Shaggy in this film. This has to be the best trained, or one of the best trained dogs ever in the movies.

    This Disney film from 1959 shows some of the youth culture of the period. Crewcuts, hot rods, school dances, dress of the time. Even Wilby's (Tommy Kirk) interest in missiles and other science projects is reminiscent of the time. That was a time of fascination with rockets and space flight among a number of teens. I was one of those.

    "The Shaggy Dog" is a nice, clean family film that has plenty of comedy mixed in with a little intrigue and fantasy. The latter is the source of most of the comedy.

    If anyone wonders about how films like this might go over with kids of today, I've had a little experience as a grandpa. And, it depends. In just a couple of different family situations, my grandkids from five to 12 (boys and girls) in one family said they very much enjoyed "The Shaggy Dog." They are being raised with very limited use of electronic gadgets, games and social media. Another family in the same age range with two girls who have extensive social media, had little interest in this or similar movies. I realize that's not science, but it's been a guide for me when entertaining grandkids.
  • comment
    • Author: Dream
    You know, sometimes we write these commentaries about films as if they were somehow works of art to be dismantled and put together again through analysis. Sometimes a movie like this is just a hoot. It's the age old story of a couple guys lusting after the same girl/girls. Here Annette Funicello is the first and then Roberta Shore (whom I had all but forgotten). Tommy Kirk's nerd doesn't have much of a chance with these foxes against the handsome Tim Considine (who was on My Three Sons and then tossed aside as if he never existed), so he finds a way, through a magic ring, to get inside the body of her dog. Of course, then it's sight gag after sight gag, boy/dog stuff. It is done with a delicate touch because these kids could act. Don't take this stuff too seriously. Just sit and enjoy.
  • comment
    • Author: Мох
    Postman Wilson Daniels (Fred MacMurray) hates dogs and is allergic to them. His son Wilby is entranced by the new French girl Franceska Andrassy. She invites him to her home. She has shaggy sheepdog and from a painting, the family seems to have a shaggy dog for a long time. He stumble into a room and accidentally takes a ring. After reading the inscription, he finds himself turning into a shaggy dog from time to time. His slick friend Buzz Miller asks out both Allison D'Allessio (Annette Funicello) and Francesca to the dance. To solve the problem, Buzz gets Wilby to come along and lie to both girls. Just when things couldn't be more complicated, Wilby as a dog overhears a plan to steal military secret.

    This is a cute Disney family movie. It's got plenty of clean cut fun. Who doesn't like a dog in pajamas? It's nothing too hilarious. It's a light-weight comedy. There is a serious espionage story that doesn't really fit the tone. It is still funny at times but the darker material does take its toll.
  • comment
    • Author: Qumen
    After the opening titles, we see a view of 1950s suburb United States. Afterwards we see Wilson Daniels (Fred MacMurray) yelling at a dog to get off his lawn. A narrator tells us that Wilson loves his fellow man, but despises man's best friend the dog (mostly because he's a postman). But Wilson's oldest son Wilby Daniels (Tommy Kirk) inadvertently turns into a dog and has to uncover a group of spies who are planning to steal a missile. If that story line makes no sense, that's because it was written down. Trust me the story is a lot better when you watch the movie. Even though it may not make any sense when you read my review it will when you watch it. The acting is also good. MacMurray plays the average American everyman and does a really good job with it. When all these strange things happen to Wilson, he pretty much goes along with it. Most of the runtime is actually spent on Wilby, because he's the person that actually turns into the dog. So Wilby sees all these things that Wilson is pretty much oblivious too for the majority if the film. Even at the end when Wilson is being hailed as a hero he still doesn't really know what jut happened to him. The rest of the cast also turned in a great performance. I highly recommend this movie. It's available on DVD and VHS so if you can find a copy check it out.
  • comment
    • Author: Marirne
    Here's another flick from the past that I actually saw in the theater during it's initial run back in 1959. My Mom and Dad would take me to the movies as a kid and it was usually a Disney picture like this one. Watching them today is a little weird because they don't have that same magical quality unless you're with someone of the same age I was back then. That's why I bring my granddaughter over for company when tuning in to these old time films.

    The story's a blast for youngsters. Watching young Tommy Kirk turn into a Brataslavian Sheep Dog is a highlight of the picture and he gets to do it a number of times. The tale borrows from ancient fables of shape-shifting creatures and black magic, with a little bit of Lucretia Borgia thrown in for good measure. But you know, there might have been something to all that magical stuff - right after Franceska (Roberta Shore) cleans the cut above Buzz Miller's (Tim Considine) eye, all trace of the cut disappears!

    What's kind of interesting are those scenes of the Shaggy Dog driving Buzz's roadster and later on the police car. The Disney folks figured out a way to make it look like a dog was really driving the car, wagging tongue and all. Not too much of a problem today of course, but this was over fifty years ago and the special effects department did a pretty good job.

    For Annette Funicello, this was her first feature film, and even though she's not a principal, she still has a fair amount of screen time. Not to belabor the point, but it was cool way back when to see one of the Mousketeers make it to the big screen. This was also about the time I started becoming familiar with the names of the actors and actresses in the movies I saw. I happen to recall both Bob Hope and Bing Crosby being asked in separate interviews who they thought the richest person in Hollywood was. Without batting an eye or needing time to think about it, they both answered with the same name - Fred MacMurray.
  • comment
    • Author: Bulace
    The Shaggy Dog is an inventive family farce from the folks at Disney's live action unit. It plays more like a radio or television sitcom than as classic Hollywood cinema. The lead actors are appealing: Fred MacMurray is charming, even in one of his least sympathetic father roles; Jean Hagen is the sensible wife who maintains order; Disney teen idol Tommy Kirk is the troubled son; there are a bevy of other child actors and of course, one mustn't forget the sheepdog that causes most of the pandemonium.

    Not to spoil the plot and tell you how the animal comes to cause so much chaos, but the poster advertising the film does indicate there is a scene where the dog drives a sports car while chasing after Russian spies. This is heightened for laughs, and I must say that the premise allows for great sight gags, like the kind that might be found in a Harold Lloyd or Marx Brothers film. It is obvious the writers have used their imaginations and have brought a very visual comedy to the screen.
  • comment
    • Author: Tori Texer
    Over the last few days,I've been in the mood of watching a fun family film.As I went looking at my DVDs,I spotted a film that my dad had given to me a while ago with Fred MacMurray-who I hugely enjoyed seeing in the excellent Absent-Minded Professor starring in.

    The plot:

    After having gotten back from being left behind at a local museum by his "best friend" and a new next door neighbour (who he secretly has a crush on)Wilby Daniels discovers that a strange looking ancient ring has ended up in one of his jean pockets.When he reads out the inscription on the ring,he turns into his neighbours dog!!.Due to his father saying that he will shoot any dog that comes into the house (this is because he had a lot of trouble with dogs when he was a postman.)

    Because of this,Wilby decides to stay with the newly-arrived neighbours.Whilst there,Daniels discovers that the neighbours are not as sweet as they seem...

    View on the film:

    Whilst the last half an hour of the film has a very entertaining Mad Mad Mad Mad World-style chase,an odd thing about the screenplay by Bill Walsh and Lillie Hayward,is that they offer no explanation as to how the neighbours dog returns when Wilby turns back into a human.Also,perhaps due to the films age,the ending (where Wilby seems pretty happy to hear that the girl he had a crush on is being sent back and questioned by the CIA!.) gives the movie's ending a surprisingly nasty taste.

    Although he is not given as bigger role as I would have liked,Fred MacMurray gives a good performance as Wilson Daniels,who has trouble dealing with all the crazy chaos around him.Tommy Kirk also gives a very strong performance as Wilby,by showing all the frustrations that he has to try and manage,because of his transformation.

    Final view on the film:

    A fun film for the whole family,with very good performances from MacMurray.
  • comment
    • Author: Anarawield
    This one had me laughing so hard,, i seriously cannot remember laughing so hard at a movie in a long long time,, for starters,, the look on the cop's face throughout the movie was priceless. Fred MacMurray was great a the dad,, as he had all of those years on My Three Sons. Anette Funicello was also pretty darn good in this,, i loved the dog driving through town and waving at the police officers, as he went by,, then you got the dog telling his dad that he really is his son,, and the shaking the hand bit,, just put me on the floor laughing,, i kinda wish that Hollywood would make something more like this in the future,, even if it's only once a year,, go black and white,, get back to old school, this movie was just a pure heartfelt joy to watch, and i think that everyone should at least watch this once for some good natured laughter.
  • comment
    • Author: Zainian
    Cranky mailman Wilson Daniels (a delightfully charming portrayal by Fred MacMurray) has a vehement disdain for dogs. Things get hairy (both literally and figuratively) when his likable misfit son Wilby (a wonderfully amiable performance by Tommy Kirk) gets stricken by a magical ring that causes him to transform into a big shaggy sheepdog. Wilby has to perform an act of heroism by thwarting an international spy ring so he can break the spell. Director Charles Bartun, working from a witty and good-natured script by Bill Walsh and Lillie Haward, relates the zany plot at a constant zippy pace, maintains a pleasant and frothy tone throughout, and stages the slapstick gags with praiseworthy brio (amusing comic highlights include the dog disrupting a swanky dance party, a hapless patrolman's sidesplitting constant run-ins with the talking pooch, and a marvelously wacky last reel car chase). Moreover, the characters are well-developed, sympathetic, and above all even pretty believable as everyday folks who find themselves caught up in a fantastic situation. Extra kudos are in order for the uniformly sound acting from a tip-top cast: MacMurray and Kirk shine in the lead roles, with fine support from Jean Hagen as Wilson's doting wife Freeda, Kevin Corcoran as Wilby's mischievous little squirt kid brother Moochie, Tim Considine as Wilby's hip pal Buzz Miller, Roberta Shore as fetching French hottie Franceska Andrassy, Annette Funicello as the sweet and adorable Allison D'Allessio, Cecil Kellaway as the jolly Professor Plumcutt, and Strother Martin as no-count criminal Thurm. Sam the dog is simply amazing as the titular canine. Legendary voice actor Paul Frees provides the narration and even has an uncredited minor part as disbelieving psychiatrist Dr. J.W. Galvin. The theme song is an absolute groovy gas. Edward Colman's crisp black and white cinematography makes neat occasional use of fades and dissolves. Endearing family fare.
  • Complete credited cast:
    Fred MacMurray Fred MacMurray - Wilson Daniels
    Jean Hagen Jean Hagen - Freeda Daniels
    Tommy Kirk Tommy Kirk - Wilby Daniels
    Annette Funicello Annette Funicello - Allison D'Allessio
    Tim Considine Tim Considine - Buzz Miller
    Kevin Corcoran Kevin Corcoran - Moochie (Montgomery) Daniels
    Cecil Kellaway Cecil Kellaway - Professor Plumcutt
    Alexander Scourby Alexander Scourby - Dr. Mikhail Andrassy
    Roberta Shore Roberta Shore - Franceska Andrassy
    James Westerfield James Westerfield - Officer Hanson
    Strother Martin Strother Martin - Thurm
    Forrest Lewis Forrest Lewis - Officer Kelly
    Ned Wever Ned Wever - FBI Chief E.P. Hackett
    Gordon Jones Gordon Jones - Captain Scanlon, Police Chief
    Jacques Aubuchon Jacques Aubuchon - Stefano
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