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Dog Shy (1926) More at IMDbPro »


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H.M. Walker (titles)
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Release Date:
4 April 1926 (USA) See more »
Charley is afraid of dogs, and one chases him into a phone box, which a stuffy aristocrat has just left to get more change... See more » | Add synopsis »
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"The Howling Hour" See more (7 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Directed by
Leo McCarey 
Writing credits
H.M. Walker (titles)

Produced by
Hal Roach .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Ben Model (2005 alternate version)
Cinematography by
Floyd Jackman (photographed by)
Film Editing by
Richard C. Currier (film editor) (as Richard Currier)
Music Department
Ben Model .... musical score performer (2005 alternate version)
Other crew
F. Richard Jones .... supervising director
Hal Roach .... presenter
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
USA:22 min (2005 alternate version)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:TV-G (TV rating)


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"The Howling Hour", 11 May 2011
Author: Steffi_P from Ruritania

The most famous silent comics tended to be part clown and part acrobat, pulling off hair-raising stunts, pratfalling all over the platform, and generally getting thrown about with little concern for their own safety. Charley Chase was a few years older than the likes of Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd, and a good degree less flexible. The more athletic brand of slapstick was not for him. However, far more than his contemporaries, he put comic expression into his face. Never one for subtlety, he revelled in the somewhat old-fashioned styles of broad pantomime, working it in a way that seems fresh and funny.

Chase starred in a series of shorts for the Hal Roach studios, a comedy factory of consistently decent quality. Speedily made, these shorts tended to be rather haphazard in structure, as Dog Shy reveals. The story seems to have two openings, first introducing the situation with the girl, then bringing Charley on the scene, but they don't flow together well and look like they were put together from two separate pictures. The plot is soon woven together, and there is an overarching love story, but logic and consistency don't much of a look in. The first few minutes go to great lengths in establishing that Chase's character is afraid of dogs, but ten minutes later we see him exercising and bathing a dog, his former fear (which provides the very title of the thing) inexplicably vanished.

But coherence isn't really the point of Charley Chase shorts, which tend to be a fast-paced bundle of oddball gags, especially those directed by the great Leo McCarey. McCarey's work is by this point looking increasingly professional, using a lot of long takes and careful arrangements to get the maximum value out of a comic performance. What cuts there are exist mostly for comic timing, especially in the brilliant "howling" finale. The jokes do tend to bounce off one another rather randomly, as no doubt cast and crew were all pitching in their ideas, but their execution has a good degree of cleverness and subtlety. A neat example is Charley's confusion over the "Duke" and his bath. We don't actually see Charley trying to bath the duke. Instead, we get a lengthy build-up to it, setting up our expectations. We later see an indignant duke running down the stairs half-undressed as Charley chases him with a scrubbing brush. The suggestion of what happened is funnier than would have been the actuality.

And then there are the talents of Mr Chase himself. That face of his goes through a massive range of expressions in Dog Shy. Chase was a master of the double-take, and actually had lots of different ways of doing them depending on what kind of shock he has had. Take for example his sudden stop mid-bow when realising he has been asked to bath the duke, and then the different double-take he does when hearing his dog howl answered by a kitten. For a slapstick comedy made so far into the silent era, Dog Shy contains a lot of pantomiming – that is, characters acting out their lines like a kind of improvised sign language, even when they are stood right in front of each other. Chase is however very good at making this sort of thing funny, such as his "Come up for your bath" routine which gets ever more elaborate, combined with an innocently cheerful grin. Chase may have been a little old-fashioned, but he did old-fashioned well.

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