HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Prayer Before Dawn, A
Ragewar
Lowlife
Fashionista
Elizabeth Harvest
Moulin Rouge!
Free Solo
Mifune: The Last Samurai
Stan and Ollie
Girl in the Spider's Web, The
Up from the Depths
Guardians of the Tomb
November Man, The
Overlord
Sebastiane
Lifechanger
Circle of Two
Hell Fest
Oklahoma!
Nutcracker and the Four Realms, The
Vigilante Force
Haunting of Sharon Tate, The
Paradox
Peppermint
Sharkwater Extinction
Isn't It Romantic
Sink the Bismarck!
Possum
Submergence
Slaughterhouse Rulez
   
 
Newest Articles
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
How 1970s Can You Get? Cliff Richard in Take Me High vs Never Too Young to Rock
A Perfect Engine, An Eating Machine: The Jaws Series
Phwoar, Missus! Sexytime for Hollywood
He-Maniacs: Ridiculous 80s Action
All's Welles That Ends Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 1 on DVD
Shut It! The Sweeney Double Bill: Two Blu-rays from Network
Network Sitcom Movie Double Bill: Till Death Us Do Part and Man About the House on Blu-ray
No, THIS Must Be the Place: True Stories on Blu-ray
Alf Garnett's Life After Death: Till Death... and The Thoughts of Chairman Alf on DVD
Balance of Power: Harold Pinter at the BBC on DVD
Strange Days 2: The Second Science Fiction Weirdness Wave
Strange Days: When Science Fiction Went Weird
Ha Ha Haaargh: Interview With Camp Death III in 2D! Director Matt Frame
Phone Freak: When a Stranger Calls on Blu-ray
   
 
  Shaggy D.A., The Ruff JusticeBuy this film here.
Year: 1976
Director: Robert Stevenson
Stars: Dean Jones, Tim Conway, Suzanne Pleshette, Keenan Wynn, Jo Anne Worley, Dick Van Patten, Shane Sinutko, Vic Tayback, John Myhers, Richard Bakalyan, Warren Berlinger, Ronnie Schell, Jonathan Daly, John Fiedler, Hans Conried
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Wilby Daniels (Dean Jones) has hit a rough patch recently when he returned home with his wife Betty (Suzanne Pleshette) and son Brian (Shane Sinutko) to discover their belongings had been cleaned out. He learned from his seafaring neighbour the Admiral (John Myhers) that a removal van had visited the house and he thought they were leaving – they weren’t, but their stuff was, against their wishes. To make matters worse, that night their remaining belongings, including the last items of clothing other than what they were sleeping in, were stolen as well while they slept, and this makes up Wilby’s mind to run for District Attorney, since the present one “Honest” John Slade (Keenan Wynn) is doing nothing but damage…

But what has that to do with turning into an English sheepdog? Good question, and one which this comedy was able to crowbar in with some difficulty during the first half hour; you may remember the original movie where Tommy Kirk was transformed thanks to a magic ring owned by Lucretia Borgia, just read the inscription and he was canine in body but not spirit. In the seventeen years since that hit, Kirk had become rather a problematic figure for Disney who produced it thanks to controversies in his private life that had been made public, therefore their reliable go-to guy in this era for a leading man Dean Jones was recruited to take over the now grown up role. Aside from the time spent in the makeup chair to render him in the mid-transformation stages, a lot of white fuzz and a wet, black nose basically, it must have been an easy gig for him.

That was down to the star not being needed on the set for about half the movie for many of his scenes were played by the dog, with Jones in voiceover in conjunction with the special effects and editing to make it look as if the dog was speaking. This may sound absolutely ri-goddamned-diculous but in practice it looked… absolutely ri-goddamned-diculous, an item of lunacy for more reasons than its predecessor was. The title, for a start, was an indication that we were in the post-Watergate nineteen-seventies, as Honest John was anything but, so we had a character who habitually becomes a pooch fighting back against corruption in public office which was about as political as Disney would get.

Well, as political as they would get in their fiction, at any rate, but as with everything here the baddies were caricatures and the goodies cartoonish, so it was all really in the service of the slapstick with the customary pie fight offering the indelible image of Wynn walking into the melee and having one thrown at his face with such force that his cigar burst through its paper plate. By way of explanation – and this was nothing if not convoluted – that ring has been stolen by two crooks, the same two who burgled Wilby’s house, and sold on to ice cream man Tim (TV comedy legend Tim Conway) for a pittance since they couldn’t rid themselves of it on the black market. Tim has a sheepdog, and when he reads out the writing on it the mutt becomes Wilby in goofy quasi-werewolf fashion.

The mechanism for this remained obscure to say the least, but it didn’t matter, all that mattered was we would see the dog dressed in human clothes, rollerskating in a roller derby, and that old standby, driving. Just as before, the vision of a four legged friend behind the wheel of a car (and a van, in this case) was comedy gold, and summed up the ludicrous nature of the project, which would prove the last for veteran Disney director Robert Stevenson, here hanging up his megaphone after decades of faithful service including the all-time classic Mary Poppins. The Shaggy D.A. was not exactly at that level, and many observers at the time used it as a stick to beat the House of Mouse for its perceived drop in quality now that Uncle Walt was no longer with us, but if you forget all the behind the scenes turmoil at the studio of the seventies then you might find yourself chuckling merrily at the daft gags and frankly bizarre visuals, almost as if they were unaware of how weird they were getting, which always makes for an interesting experience. The cast were reliably professional. Music by Buddy Baker, including ahead of his time Jones rapping the theme.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1074 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
   

 

Last Updated: