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... at least for the next twenty years or so. Henry Barton (Allyn
Joslyn) has returned from service in WWII with a better job than he
left, at least that's what his boss tells him. Henry was a crime beat
reporter on a New York paper before the war, and now he's an editor.
Unfortunately he's the science editor and he barely got out of high
school with science and math not being his best subjects. He badly
wants his old job back, but a woman took over his job while he was
overseas and she doesn't want to give it back. It turns out she likes
the crime beat too.
Thus he hatches a plan to crack a local racketeering case figuring his boss will have to give him the crime beat job back if he does. In the process Henry runs afoul of a beautiful cop (Carol Landis), her trained Doberman is stolen, and to make matters worse the dog is going around assisting in bar robberies along with a man wearing Henry's very unique tie, thus making it look like Henry is in on the robberies. And from there things just get stranger and goofier.
This film is for sure a valentine to the immediate post war period when women were still filling so-called "mens' jobs" and the men were none too happy about it, the nuclear age had just begun, and gangsters seemed just a little out of place in this brave new world. Note that the biggest stars in this film have the smallest roles - John Ireland just starting out as a one of the racketeers and Frank Morgan as a bad guy as well.
Highly recommended as a moment frozen in time and for the goofiness of it all as well. Thanks to Fox Movie Channel for showing this rare little gem. This is a particularly rare event considering Fox Movie Channel has recently been taken over by teenagers who presume their viewers prefer "Horton Hears a Who" to "The Hustler".
Allyn Joslyn, Carole Landis, and Rodney the Dog star in "It Shouldn't
Happen to a Dog," a 1946 film. Joslyn plays Henry Barton, a returning
WW II vet who returns to his newspaper job, only to find out he's no
longer assigned to crime, but science, and a woman has his job.
Disgusted, he's determined to solve a crime so he can get his job back.
He goes to work on a local racketeering case, and meets a beautiful woman, Julia (Landis) and her dog (Rodney), a Doberman who is also a war vet. When the bar they are all in is robbed, Henry mistakenly thinks that Julia and Rodney robbed the place, calls it in to his paper, and Rodney ends up on the front page. It turns out that Julia is a policewoman, and she's not happy.
The plot gets crazier, with Rodney taking off and winding up for a time with a mobster's henchman (Harry Morgan) who commits some robberies wearing not only Henry's distinctive tie but has Rodney with him.
Joslyn, a character actor who played few leads, is quite funny here, and the story is amusing. Landis, who committed suicide two years later, is quite beautiful and does a good job. Unfortunately, true stardom would elude her. Rodney is fabulous. Jean Wallace gives a nice performance as the woman who took Henry's job.
When the men got back from the war, the women had gone to work, and this film is a reflection of that adjustment. Everyone is shocked to meet a "lady cop" and Henry bemoans the fact that a woman took his job.
Nice film, interesting time in history.
With all the fine canine actors in Hollywood of the time (1946), why
bother with humans at all. Besides, humans cost a lot more and complain
a lot. Here Rodney the Doberman gives a fine performance, even if he
does rob a saloon, sneeze at the wrong time, and sleep on the job.
Still, he does help catch the crooks, get officer Pirelli promoted out
of Flatbush, and bring lovebirds Julia and Barton together. Pretty good
for an actor with no dialog, except an occasional woof-woof.
On the whole, the movie's an entertaining little crime comedy, with Joslyn in good addled form as a reporter, and Landis in good curvaceous form as a lady cop. I never could figure out exactly the plot, but who cares since that's not what drives an amusing trifle like this. It's also a good chance to catch up with future TV stars like Henry Morgan (MASH) and Reed Hadley (Racket Squad). Actually, what caught my eye among the usual hijinks were our heroes running amidst what looks like a real downtown traffic scene. Watch for it. Usually such setups are filmed on the lot, as are other street scenes in the movie. But not this particular one, and it's kind of scary.
All in all, the screenplay meanders too much to concentrate its humor, but still manages a share of chuckles.
"It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog" is a silly film...not exactly genius but
enjoyable as well as one of Carole Landis' last pictures.
When the film begins, Henry Barton (Allyn Joslyn) is upset because he's been demoted at the newspaper where he works. He no longer is covering the police beat and desperately wants to. So, when he mistakenly think that a pretty lady (Landis) with a Doberman robbed a bar, he calls in the story to the paper...only to soon learn it was a hoax. However, the dog COULD help him earn his way back...if only he can catch up with this missing Dobie and his pretty owner.
This film is inconsequential fun. Plus, I liked seeing some familiar character actors as the hoods (Reed Hadley, John Ireland and, oddly, Harry Morgan). It's definitely in the 'turn off your brain and just enjoy' category!
By the way, Joslyn is RARELY a leading man and almost always plays supporting roles. It's nice to see him in the lead for once.
Carole Landis was one of the 1940s most beautiful and talented stars.
Sadly she committed suicide just two years after she made this film. It
Shouldn't Happen To A Dog is not the greatest movie she ever made but
it's a fun comedy and Carole gives a wonderful performance. She plays a
female police detective (unusual for 1946) whose partner is a very
smart and well trained Doberman. William Gargan plays a reporter trying
to solve a crime - he becomes her love interest. The plot is a little
silly - there is a mix-up over a robbery and Rodney runs away only to
be found by a mobster. Rodney of course steals every scene he is in!
The supporting cast includes the lovely Jean Wallace and Harry Morgan.
This was Carole's last film at Fox and if you are a fan you should
I'm so happy that the Fox Archives has released this movie on DVD. It' available to order at Amazon now.
Watching It Shouldn't Happen To A Dog I had to wonder whether 20th
Century Fox had purchased this story from Paramount. It seems so much
like a Bob Hope vehicle.
If it had been a Hope vehicle Hope as the main character would have received top billing instead of Carole Landis. Clearly the action centers around the main male character played by character actor Allyn Joslyn. Fresh back from the army Joslyn can't get his old job back as the crime reporter. He's now the science reporter and is busy trying to figure out atomic energy while Jean Wallace is learning the nuances of crime reporting.
But when there's a story about a missing witness Whit Bissell who was ready to testify against racketeer Reed Hadley, Joslyn goes right to work. The problem is that he's running up against undercover policewoman Carole Landis and her partner, a large former military Doberman pincher answering to the name Rodney.
Rodney for a trained dog is quite an independent sort. Still he's the real hero as he's the one really responsible for seeing justice done.
Joslyn was funny, but I could never see him getting the girl. This is an amusing film, but it should have had Bob Hope in the lead.
In a good way, I mean. Somebody at Fox had an understated sense of
humor, and put it on the screen in "It Shouldn't Happen To A Dog", a 70
minute comedy which gets funnier as it goes along, with tongue firmly
implanted in cheek. It almost plays like a British comedy as it eschews
slapstick for subtlety. Modern audiences have little or no frame of
reference for subtle humor.
Allan Joslyn, who was a supporting actor in lots of forgettable movies, is better here than in most of the others. Maybe finally getting the lead in a film energized him and he puts everything he's got into his role as a reporter back from WWII who finds his old job occupied - by a woman. Determined to get it back he fabricates a story about a robbery in a bar - accidentally - and things go from bad to funnier.
Guys, I have to tell you this picture gets a huge shot in the arm from Carole Landis... need I say more? Not only an eyeful, she's very good as the owner of a dog who's the prime suspect in the robbery. If it sounds like a wacky plot, you're right. See it if you get a chance. There are lots of familiar faces you'll recognize in this shaggy dog tale.
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