That Weird Dog… Daddy, a timeless Disney classic

That Weird Dog… Daddy, a timeless Disney classic
In 1976, Robert Stevenson wrote one of the most underrated Disney classics ever, That Strange Dog ... by Dad, original title The Shaggy DA. Based on the novel The Hound of Florence by Felix Salten (Bambi's dad, so to speak) from which, in 1959 a prequel was also made, Jeremiah, Dog and Spy directed by Charles Barton.

The cast of the film includes Dean Jones, Suzanne Pleshette, Tim Conway and Iris Adrian. Dean Jones is one of the best-known faces of Disney cinema until the end of the seventies and among his most famous appearances we remember the one in A Beetle All Matto of 1968 which gave him fame and prestige, writing his name in the annals of cinema.

We remind you that the film That Strange Dog… by Dad is available, for all subscribers, in streaming on the Disney Plus online platform.

In canis corpore transmuto, the story of That Strange Dog… of Daddy

Jeremiah, Dog and Spy and that Strange Dog… of Daddy are inextricably linked in terms of plot and references. The two films talk about the curse of a mysterious ring, which belonged to Lucrezia Borgia, which would transform men into dogs. The 1976 film, however, has an extra gear and appears better structured than its prequel which is between the fairy tale and the adventurous story and appears as a not too happy attempt to transpose Salten's novel on the big screen. Everything is approximate and barely hinted at, while the comic ideas are not very effective, just as the direction and interpretation are very modest.

In this metamorphosis of Ovidian memory, one can recognize the red thread that connects the two films. The protagonist is always the same Wilby Daniels, played by Dean Jones, who in the 1959 film is a little boy who takes the form of Chiffon, his neighbor's dog. In Stevenson's film, however, we find a grown up Daniels, a successful lawyer running for the election as District Attorney. A man with a splendid family and a wife who dedicates herself body and soul to her husband's electoral campaign.

But, the story of Wilby Daniels is linked to a very particular ring which, it is said, belonged to the Borgia family and who has the power to transform men into dogs by reading the following formula, engraved on the jewel, In canis corpore transmuto. With the arrival of two thieves in the city in possession of the magical ring, Daniels' life will never be the same again, and the man will resume turning into a dog just as he had in his youth. From this breaking of the balance in the plot of the film, there will be many ups and downs that the dog will have to face, especially when his unspeakable secret is discovered and the bad guys will want to imprison him forever to avoid his rise to District Attorney.

Very interested are the parts where the dog-Daniels makes a strong friendship with the ice cream man who, later, will help him in his fight against organized crime which, little by little, conquers the city and bribes the police. The area boss, in fact, will give Daniels a hard time, especially after discovering his secret, he will try at all costs to imprison him and eliminate him from circulation. Obviously, the film will end with a very nice reversal of the parts!

A film for children and for families

That Strange Dog ... of Dad offers many food for thought as a film for children, but also families can appreciate its contents four decades after its realization. The film is certainly a cheerful and brilliant comedy, the comic scenes are not lacking and the ups and downs give the plot that extra sprint that makes it appealing even to a younger audience.

But, the film also manages to give many points for human reflection and, above all, on the father-son relationship and on the empathy of an indissoluble bond like the one that binds parents to their children. But the Disney film is also about friendship, in fact it will be the new friendship that binds Daniels to the ice cream maker that will make possible the salvation of the future District Attorney, otherwise condemned to be brutally suppressed by the dog guard.

The importance too of the group is identified in the film as a central aspect in the recomposition of equilibrium, it will in fact be the other dogs destined to have a destiny entirely similar to the Daniels dog to rebel against the system and subvert the rules of cause and effect and, mainly, those of law of nature that the strongest always wins over the weakest.

Disney has always accustomed us to the didactic themes in its products, in this it once again reaffirms the importance of teaching through children's storytelling , becoming more and more fundamental in the formation of the young people of yesterday and today. The 1976 film does not appear to have aged badly, as they say, on the contrary, it offers a series of very current food for thought, and also the special effects used in the making of the film make you smile and reflect on how much has changed to date. film industry.


That Strange Dog… by Dad is a highly enjoyable film for an evening in the company of the youngest members of the family. Viewing is also recommended at school, the film, due to its history and the didactic power of the narrative, offers, at a didactic level, the development of the basic skills of the axis of sociality, making children learn the value of family, of friendship and of the group as a resource.

The acting of the cast is impeccable, all the actors are great professionals and many of them appear in several Disney films of those years. Dean Jones himself is one of the best-known faces of the entertainment majors and a symbol of healthy cinema made to meet the most immediate needs of families. From this perspective, too, That Strange Dog ... of Dad manages, on several fronts, to outline the aspects of quality films for children, combining entertainment and teaching, always taking into account the important scale of universal values ​​that Disney always carries in its works, thus contributing to the training of the little ones.

We recommend the purchase of The Hound of Florence, the story from which Geremia, dog and spy and That strange dog… of dad are taken.

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