HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
True Don Quixote, The
Babymother
Mitchells vs. the Machines, The
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Antebellum
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Settlers
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
Honeymoon
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
   
 
Newest Articles
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
   
 
  Plague Dogs, The A Dog's Life
Year: 1982
Director: Martin Rosen
Stars: John Hurt, Christopher Benjamin, James Bolam, Nigel Hawthorne, Warren Mitchell, Bernard Hepton, Brian Stirner, Penelope Lee, Barbara Leigh-Hunt, John Bennet, John Franklyn-Robbins, Bill Maynard, Malcolm Terris, Judy Geeson, Dandy Nichols, Patrick Stewart
Genre: Drama, Animated, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Rowf (voiced by Christopher Benjamin) is drowning. He fights to keep his head above water but his strength is weakening and eventually he slips beneath the surface, unable to struggle any more. As his body sinks to the bottom of the tank, he is hooked by the collar and brought out, placed on a surgical table and revived; still weak, he is then returned to his cage with the rest of the dogs used for vivisection. Snitter (John Hurt), who is kept in the cage next to his, notices that the mesh between them is loose and burrows his way in beside Rowf as they damn the "white coats" who have put them in this situation. But then they notice that the door to Rowf's cage has been left ajar...

After the success of Watership Down, producer and director Martin Rosen settled on adapting another Richard Adams novel for animation, and The Plague Dogs was the result. Not that it was welcomed in the same way as its predecessor, as this was a much more gloomy work, a sorrowful howl of anguish at the way animals are treated for experimentation in laboratories not only across the United Kingdom, but across the world as well. Understandably there was very little to be cheerful about here, and its late autumn-encroaching winter setting did little to lighten the overall tone of deep seated misery.

The film was notable for being animated without any rotoscoping, that is without any footage being shot so the filmmakers could animate over it, and this was before computers really took over in the making of cartoons, meaning every frame was hand drawn and coloured. Not that this is an especially colourful film, in fact you could be mistaken at times for thinking this a monochrome motion picture with its grey landscapes and overcast skies featuring prominently. All this leaves a feeling of not so much desperation in the plight of the two dogs, but more a sense of futility, as if even though they have escaped they are still doomed.

While you may spend most of the film wondering when the two main characters are going to die, never the most uplifting of experiences at the movies, you can at least be engrossed in their fight for survival. When Rowf and Snitter (Hurt's voiceover work here is excellent in its sympathy) realise that they can leave the room where their fellow dogs are kept, they end up hiding in an incinerator. They have a narrow escape when another dog, which has died, is shovelled in with them and they scramble out of the place through a handily-dog-sized vent just before the gas is switched on. Free at last!

However, their problems are just beginning because it soon becomes clear that they have to find food and shelter. Snitter is a canny hound and recommends to Rowf that they find a kindly master to take care of them, but this is easier said than done and he has the disability of his recent brain operation holding him back, confusing his mind and dredging up his guilt for accidentally killing his previous master in a road accident. Actually, Snitter is one unlucky chap, because when it looks as if he has found someone to take care of him he mistakenly hits the trigger on the man's rifle and shoots his face off. As you can see, the dejection of the plot is laid on pretty thick, and the action is always presented from the dogs' point of view to render it all the more painful for animal lovers. Although Rowf and Snitter team up with a wily fox called the Tod (James Bolam), you can tell they are not going to make it when the possibility of them carrying bubonic plague arises and the need to hunt them down is all the more pressing. The film is curiously unsentimental in its attempts to wake the viewer up to animals' plight, but was more effective than its detractors might have admitted, repetitive as it is. Music by Patrick Gleeson.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 5524 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: