Australian Screen

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Gone to the Dogs (1939)

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clip Two dopes and a dog

This clip chosen to be G

Clip description

George (George Wallace), Henry (John Dobbie) and their dog Aloysius are trapped in the haunted house, the lair of master criminal Dr Sunderman. They encounter a variety of scary effects designed to frighten them away.

Curator’s notes

Gone to the Dogs employs a series of well-worn movie comedy routines, some of which are borrowed directly from silent film. The haunted house as criminal lair premise comes straight from a 1921 Buster Keaton comedy, The Haunted House, but Hall also makes good use of design and special effects shots in this sequence. In terms of comedy, the film will try just about anything to get a laugh, as evidenced by the rising dog’s ears in this clip, followed by a reversal shot in which the dog takes shelter. These gags were already hoary in 1939, but they contribute to the film’s cheerful silliness. Although it’s not up to the standard of Let George Do It (1938), Wallace’s first film with Ken Hall, there are moments of inspired lunacy in Gone to the Dogs. Clearly George Wallace and Ken Hall were determined to have fun with this picture, Cinesound’s last before the coming of war.

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