Our beloved canine friends have always been a welcome addition to the world of cinema. Our fluffy companions have had many appearances in cinema in all genre’s. Whether the survival film ‘I Am Legend’ or cute wholesome Disney films like ‘Homeward Bound’ the array of animal movies is large. In this blog I want to talk about the companions that not only have been by our side in real life but on screen.
‘Rescued by Rover’ is the first movie to launch the concept of dogs in film in 1905, featuring the first known canine movie star Blair, a Border Collie. Owned by the director and producer of ‘Rescued by Rover’ Cecil Hepworth. Since then dogs have become welcome editions in the media especially on the topic of films, so let’s talk about some of our iconic pooches. Most notably and probably one of the most recognised, on the topic of collie’s ‘Lassie’ is one of the most iconic dogs, with a TV series broadcasted on CBS from September 1954 until March 1971. Originally a short story before having a novel written about her later on. The TV series was very popular running for 500 plus episodes before having a series of movies later on.
We have various genres of which our furry friends have been featured including horror, which is not. Stephen King’s novel Cujo was brought to the screens in the 1980’s. Cujo was a St. Bernard that had become rabid and the story is about a mother and son trapped in a car. Even in animated movies our canine friends have had many features, especially in Disney, No.1 for this theme. Movies such as wholesome family film Lady and The Tramp, a romantic tale about a Spaniel from a loving family and a stray mutt bonding over their misunderstandings of being a pet. Also, Homeward bound. One of the first Disney movies to feature live animals featuring Chance and Shadow alongside feline friend Sassy as they go on adventures. Already it’s clear that dog’s have a welcomed place in the film industry especially.
However, it’s only been in recent years that dogs have been treated well. As of now there is plenty of legal rules that make sure the animals are treated well on set. But even recently there was worries about using animals on set. As recent as 2017 ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ was under fire after footage leaked of filming taking place of a very stressed dog appearing to be mishandled. Here is the article BBC discussed (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38659155). With the media backlash the movie was boycotted and didn’t perform well when it finally did come out in cinema’s.
The industry continues to grow and so will the inclusion of animals in film, but all we can hope for is ethical treatment in future productions