After reading Susan Orleans book about Rin Tin Tin, I just had to see one of the silent films. I found a copy on Amazon and got my chance to see it. I have to mention that I am the owner of a sable colored German Shepherd who is 7 years old and quite the dog. Susan described the film and mentioned that Rin Tin Tin's expressions were a large part of the film's appeal. As I watched the film, I agreed with what she said but I kept finding myself thinking of my own German Shepherd and her expressions and mannerisms. Lee Duncan must have been an exceptional dog trainer to get all of these scenes on film. One can see how millions of viewers fell for the amazing Rin Tin Tin and his exploits. I can hardly wait to watch the film a second time with my wife. One may wonder how realistic these scenes might be. I can tell you that some of them are not too far from the truth. One night I was walking my German Shepherd by a housing project ( I live in NY) and there were two very tall guys approaching who had obviously served time based on their conversation. My dog was doing her business as they approached. She suddenly launched herself into the air with her teeth and jaw open and headed straight for one of the guys private parts. I yanked her back with the leash about six inches before contact. Many four and one ten letter word were used by the two guys but in the end nothing happened to me or the dog. My dog sensed or smelled some very bad vibes and did her job. This has not happened since in three years. Without going into other examples, my point is that German Shepherds have a unique combination of intelligence, sense and athleticism that lead to some truly amazing behaviors for an animal. This film, while a bit melodramatic at times, captures the breed's unique abilities and anyone that has ever owned a German Shepherd will love the film and see a few reflections of their own dog in Rin Tin Tin.
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