The Shaggy Dog, said to be the first live action film by Walt Disney set in the present, is about what's called 'shape-shifting'. According to the screenplay suggested by Felix Salten's The Hound of Florence, there used to be a great deal of shifting of shapes, from man to beast and sometimes back.

The Shaggy Dog, said to be the first live action film by Walt Disney set in the present, is about what’s called ‘shape-shifting’. According to the screenplay suggested by Felix Salten’s The Hound of Florence, there used to be a great deal of shifting of shapes, from man to beast and sometimes back.

There are a good many laughs on this simple premise and the script’s exploitation of them. The only time the film falters badly is in its choice of a gimmick to get the boy-who-turns-into-a-dog turned back, for good and all, into a boy. According to the legend, it takes an act of heroism on the part of the shifting shape to be restored.

Fred MacMurray plays the father of the two boys, Tommy Kirk and Kevin Corcoran. MacMurray himself is a mailman physically allergic to dogs. Young Kirk accidentally transforms himself into a large, shaggy sheep dog when he comes into possession of a spellcasting ring once owned by the Borgias.

Where MacMurray has a good line, he shows that he has few peers in this special field of comedy. Jean Hagen, as his wife, is pretty and pleasant in a more or less straight role, while the two boys handle their comedy nicely.

The Shaggy Dog

Production

Walt Disney. Director Charles T. Barton; Producer Bill Walsh (assoc.); Screenplay Bill Walsh, Lillie Hayward; Camera Edward Colman; Editor James D. Ballas; Music Paul Smith; Art Director Carroll Clark

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1959. Running time: 101 MIN.

With

Fred MacMurray Jean Hagen Tommy Kirk Annette Funicello Tim Considine Kevin Corcoran
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