5.4/10
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Oh Heavenly Dog (1980)

A murdered detective must avenge his murder after he is reincarnated as a dog.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Benji ...
Benji a.k.a Browning (as Benjean)
...
...
...
Bernie
Stuart Germain ...
...
Freddie
John Stride ...
Alistair Becket
...
Montanero
...
...
Lady Chalmers
...
Quimby Charles
...
Mr. Easton
Albin Pahernik ...
...
German Clerk
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Storyline

Browning is a PI with a bad cold, who's sent to investigate a case by a mysterious client.He stumbles across the body of a young woman and is stabbed to death, and when he wakes up in heaven, they tell him he's "marginal material," and they can only decide on his final destination through one last assignment: to go back and solve his own murder. As a dog. A cute fluffy little dog (Benji). Undaunted, Browning begins to investigate the case as best he can around his canine disabilities (dialing the phone presents a special challenge) to solve the murders, save the girl, and see justice done. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Chevy Chase and Benji team up for big laughs in this tail of murder, mystery and puppy love. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language and some mild scenes of violence and sensuality | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 July 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Beniamino agente segreto  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$6,216,067 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The female dog Benji was apparently the only actress to ever refuse to do a scene with Omar Sharif, according to the official "Benji" website. It states: "Omar's acting style is so intense, Director (Joe) Camp reports, that Benji could feel his intensity, and freaked out every time Omar touched him. This broke Omar's heart, and he was afraid the dog hated him, which was, of course, not true. In the end, to get the scenes, Camp wound up putting on Omar's coat, and being his hands in the scene(s)." See more »

Goofs

Benji couldn't have been listening to the woman at the gallery who mentioned the Senator "swooshing down the slopes" since it was established he was tied up in the car at the time. It is possible that he heard it if Jackie taped it, but it was never revealed that she was recording at the time. See more »

Quotes

Browning: So Beckett's birthday was 6 months ago, or 6 months from now depending on how you look at it.
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Crazy Credits

After nearly all of the end titles have passed, "WOOF!" appears on the screen as the final title. See more »


Soundtracks

Song for Guy
written by Elton John
published by Joddrel Music
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User Reviews

 
Left field ain't a bad place to be
16 August 2006 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

For the third Benji feature film, director Joe Camp decided to head far out into left field. After two films told from a dog's perspective and that consisted mostly of Benji running, it was a good move to do something drastically different, and it produced a film that matches the first one in quality.

The first unusual thing that Camp did was to hire three stars who were big box office attractions in 1980--Chevy Chase, Jane Seymour and Omar Sharif. The previous two films featured unknowns.

Next, he made Oh Heavenly Dog essentially a human story. The film really hinges on Chase's character, Benjamin Browning, who becomes a pawn in a relatively complex plot of deceit. Camp displayed an affection for conspiracy-like action/thriller subplots in the two previous films, but here that becomes the primary focus, and because of this, the script is better written and paced.

The criminal aspects of the first two films had something of an odd fit within films that were essentially geared towards young children (as did the plethora of untranslated Greek in the second film), but in Oh Heavenly Dog, Camp aims for a combination of an older, tween and teen crowd as well as adults. This is made quickly apparent in another unusual feature--a strong sense of humor, Chevy Chase-style. There are implicit gay jokes and lots of sexual innuendo jokes here. There is also very natural sounding, light profanity. And less humorously, but also more adult, there is a bit more violence.

Even more left field for a Benji movie in 1980, Oh Heavenly Dog quickly heads for the fantasy genre, and through this, Benji becomes and remains something of a fantasy character. It's a move that's completely unexpected, plotwise, but it works remarkably well. Camp's purely fantasy settings and characters are very entertaining and even a bit charming.

Because of the plot and Chase, and maybe somewhat as an intentional move directorially, most of Oh Heavenly Dog plays like a typical Chase detective film, like Foul Play (1978), or like the Fletch films (1985 & 1989) that came later. I hadn't paid much attention to Chase for awhile--I was one of the people a bit turned off by his off-screen behavior, as evidenced in his interactions with the Howard Stern Show, for example--but Oh Heavenly Dog has reawakened my interest in him, because he's excellent here. It's reminded me of how great he was in so many other films, even including later ones like Man of the House (1995).

And what a coup Camp managed in getting the music he did for Oh Heavenly Dog. Paul McCartney's "Arrow Through Me", one of my favorite solo songs of his, fits the film perfectly. Euel Box even gives us orchestral variations on it throughout the film. Camp also managed to get a couple Elton John songs, and used Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition for an art gallery scene. The music helps support an already fantastic film.


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