Cute Animals in Film 2012: The Year in Review

So it’s come to this again. Another year has passed and I’m still inexplicably taking screengrabs of cute animals in high cinema. I haven’t been as broad in my viewing as in years past. A big chunk of my watching was Dirk Bogarde, whom I wrote my master’s dissertation about. There was no shortage of cute animals in his films though, as you’ll see. The man himself was quite a dog lover. The picture directly above is of the man himself in his pad with his hound, mildly terrifying an interviewer on the eve of the release of Victim in 1961. Enjoy this selection and here’s to many more in 2013! (See last year’s selection of the cutest animals in film). If there was ever any doubt, I’ve concluded the donkey is art cinema’s animal of choice (perhaps tipping their hat to the ‘saint of cinema’). Pulp cinema loves a dog, as you’ll see.

Bogarde in Conversation

Despair 2

Despair (Fassbinder/1978)
Doctor in the House

Doctor in the House (Thomas/1954)

Elgar 2 Elgar 3 Elgar 4 Elgar

4 stills from the beautiful Elgar (Russell/1962)

Forbidden1 Forbidden2 Forbidden3

3 stills from Forbidden (King/1949), which follows British cinema’s abiding interest in the meddlesome scamp of a dog interfering in murder…

Partners in Crime?

…as here in the educational short Partners in Crime (1949)…

Man's best friend and man, in clinch

Man’s best friend and man, in clinch

…and here in Obsession (Dmytryk/1949) saving our hero from a dip in an acid bath

My Brother's Wedding 2 My Brother's Wedding

Dog washing in a bathtub in My Brother’s Wedding (Burnett/1983)

My Little Chickadee 2 My Little Chickadee

This goat stands in for Mae West against W.C. Fields advances in My Little Chickadee (Cline/1940)

Of Gods and Men donkeys

Donkeys=high cinema proven again in Of Gods and Men (Beauvois/2010)

Passe Ton Bac D'abord

A mournful pup towards the end of Passe Ton Bac D’abord (Pialat/1979)

Pett and Pott 2 Pett and Pott 3 Pett and Pott 4 Pett and PottGoing at it like cats and dogs in the short film Pett and Pott (Cavalcanti/1934)

Serpico 1 Serpico 2 Serpico 3 Serpico 6

Pacino and a hilariously incongrous range of pets for an undercover agent in Serpico (Lumet/1973)

Silent Running 2

One of the last survivors of Bruce Dern’s madness in Silent Running (Trumbull/1972)

Sleeping Tiger

Bogarde teases this pup in The Sleeping Tiger (Losey/1954)

The Blue Lamp

This dog tries to lodge a police complain in The Blue Lamp (Dearden/1949)

The Entertainer

Everyone loves a monkey in The Entertainer (Richardson/1960)

The Hole The Hole2

This little yapper raises the alarm in The Hole (Dante/2009)

The Killing

You can tell this is early Kubrick because he’s still got the heart to include a puppy in The Killing (Kubrick/1956)

The Letter

These pups react to Bette Davis’s shoot out in the opening scene of The Letter (Wyler/1940)…

The October Man

John Mills gets some puppy love in The October Man (Ward Barker/1947)Train of Events

Penguins offer a spot of variety in Train of Events (Cole, Crichton, Dearden/1949)Yield to the Night

Diana Dors finds comfort on death row with a kitty in Yield to the Night (Lee Thompson/1956)

Youth in Revolt

 Youth in Revolt (Arteta/2009)

There are two notable absences of cinematic animals that I would have loved to have included. I watched Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers and Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths  back to back at the London Film Festival and both have a central dog character (and both left me feeling greatness had been squandered but that’s another story for another time).

Best animal of my viewing of 2012 was The Awful Truth. An hilarious screwball comedy with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne from 1937. In most of the films I’ve selected here, the animals play an incidental, or at best a prop-like position. Mr Smith (played by one Skippy the dog) is a full character in this film, and is the focus of many brilliant set pieces. This is Mr Smith’s portfolio.

vlcsnap-2012-09-12-23h23m30s196 vlcsnap-2012-09-12-23h25m28s101

vlcsnap-2012-09-12-23h25m56s129 vlcsnap-2012-09-12-23h25m24s51

Mr Smith is forced to choose in court between Grant and Dunne as their surrogate child. vlcsnap-2012-09-12-23h24m00s243 vlcsnap-2012-09-12-23h26m38s37 vlcsnap-2012-09-12-23h28m45s17 vlcsnap-2012-09-12-23h27m00s253 vlcsnap-2012-09-12-23h26m43s83 vlcsnap-2012-09-12-23h29m00s167 vlcsnap-2012-09-12-23h29m36s24


1 Comment

January 1, 2013 · 5:54 am

One response to “Cute Animals in Film 2012: The Year in Review

  1. Where WOULD we be without our animal friends!? This is such a fun post – love the goat in bed! Alison

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