Sep 27, 2008

ESR presented... Dogpound Shuffle


Way back in the eighties, I encountered a film title called Dogpound Shuffle while browsing through the TV Guide at 2 AM, was intrigued by its quirky synopsis, and switched over to Channel 11. And I was hooked. 20 years later, I had found a used VHS copy of the film (which had fleetingly been released by Key Video) and was delighted to see that it still worked its charms. (I had mentioned this re-discovery in one of my first ever blog postings.) Last year, I had the good fortune of finding a 16mm print, and had waited for a good opportunity to show it.

As of this writing, Dogpound Shuffle would be the fourth film I had shown at Trash Palace (with the exception of contributing to the educational film festival in the summer), and this was the film I was most looking forward to show. It didn't matter to me if only two people showed up-- to me, this film is an object of beauty, and I just wanted it to be seen. This screening was truly done out of love-- any prospect of making money was secondary to me.

This little fable, shot in Vancouver in the mid-1970's, features Ron Moody (from Oliver!) as a hobo (and former tap dancer) whose beloved dog Spot is captured by the dog catcher. Along comes David Soul (pre-"Starsky and Hutch") as a tramp who can play a mean tune on the harmonica (that is, when he doesn't have something to eat in his hand), and so the two former a music-and-dance act to raise the thirty bucks to get the dog out of the pound!

To my delight, this was one of the most satisfying screenings I've done anywhere. The audience ate the film up-- they laughed at all the right places, and were also moved at all the proper spots. And you just had to be there, to witness a bunch of forty-year-old tattooed males go "Awwww" when Spot does his little dance. What a night-- at the end, I was refreshed as though I drank from the holy mountain. I know my deepest thanks to Stacey and Dan, not just for inviting me into the Trash Palace family, but for allowing me to take a chance and show a film like this.

1 comment:

Patricia said...

Hello!
Until I read your comments about the movie Dog Pound Shuffle, I thought that the movie that I had watched in the late 70's was a figment of my imagination. I was flipping channels and ran across the movie at 2:00 in the morning. It was such a poignant movie that brought tears and joy as I watched it. I would like to see a remake of the movie and/or find it on VHS, DVD. It's my favorite movie of all time. The remake would have to be in black and white so as not to lose the ambience of the original.

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