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Dogs and Spirituality in the Movies


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Swithin, I think this is a lovely idea. You realize we are heading into swampy ground here, but I'm game. The very first movie images of heaven that come into mind are (having recently watched the movie, The Lovely Bones, and having read the book years ago) those of the Heaven portrayed there, of course a 70s-era murdered teenage girl's after-life experiences. The cinematography is stunning, the artwork in place is viscerally moving, and the idea of meeting other murder victims and bonding with them is intriguing. I loved it, although the film is rather loosely based on the book. And of course, it is not a Classic, but it is a beautiful, albeit difficult, movie to watch due to the subject matter.

 

Edited by: jbh on Mar 5, 2011 11:16 AM

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I love that commercial. And speaking of dogs, I now remember why I haven't watched Lassie movies for years. Son of Lassie is on, and I cannot watch Lassie movies without tears. I recall being around 9 years old, watching Lassie Come Home, and bursting unexpectedly into tears near the end. My heart was breaking and it was quite a shock to have such over-burgeoning emotion, such uncontrollable heartbreak over a movie. I recall being so embarrassed in front of my parents, since being 9 years old was very mature in my mind. And those dogs! Aren't they simply great actors! I do have a question: How did the Germans know Laddie was an English dog? I never heard him say a word.

 

I have another question (a real one). Does anyone know approximately when animal protection laws came into effect in the movie industry? Many old movies depict scenes in which innumerable horses were maimed and/or killed, especially the epics. This always upsets me. Love the epics (MsW, I'll reply to your post eventualy) but hate the cheapness of animal life portrayed in them.

 

Edited by: jbh on Mar 5, 2011 1:26 PM

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Whoa. . . Lassie Come Home came into my consciousness around 11:30am Eastern time, but didn't have time to post. I was amazed to find it posted here. Laws of attraction.

 

I was thinking Lassie Come Home is a grail journey for the Collie and the obstacles she must overcome, including giving life lessons to others as well as learning them. I need to see the film again; it does have a ring of spirituality about it, for Lassie as well as young Roddy McDowell's character.

 

Edited by: casablancalover on Mar 5, 2011 6:41 PM

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The dogs in *Tortilla Flat* and Spot in *Slaughterhouse Five* have very specific, recognizeable reactions to spiritual phenomena; you can find their experiences described and classified to some extent in Rudolf Otto's book *The Idea of the Holy*. I was reluctant to include the donkey Balthazar, despite his "journey" and his being one of the screen's most potent religious symbols. And so I'm not too sure we can include Lassie, although maybe we better, because there seem to be precious few exact representations of what I'm referring to.

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jbh wrote:

<< have another question (a real one). Does anyone know approximately when animal protection laws came into effect in the movie industry? Many old movies depict scenes in which innumerable horses were maimed and/or killed, especially the epics. This always upsets me.>>

 

A Film and Television unit of the American Humane Association was created after the movie "Jesse James" (1939) which had a blindfolded horse ridden off of a cliff and to its death. :(

 

This doesn't mean that accidents and infractions hasn't occur since.

 

Modern movies uses special effects and CGI to mimic the harming of animals which is not offensive since I know its not real. One of my best scenes is that cow being riddled with bullet holes by machine gun in "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" and another becoming road kill. What a riot, LOL!

 

Now another scene by which is the saddest (even though its fake) is in "The Fly II" by which a dog got completely scrambled after going through a Star Trek like transporter. (Now you know why Bones McCoy hates those things.) We can find comfort in that there is no such thing as a transporter so scrambled dog and monkey turned inside out didn't really happen

 

Edited by: hamradio on Mar 5, 2011 8:09 PM

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TORTILLA FLAT is a sweet little movie, and that's a beautiful scene. I'm a man who loves his little dog! The book is a delight. As much a collection of stories as a novel, it's the lightest and funniest Steinbeck piece I know. Very good reading.

 

Woody Allen said his first wife was an atheist and he was an agnostic. They could never agree on what not to believe in!

 

Edited by: redriver on Mar 6, 2011 4:33 PM

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There is an ep of the classic Twilight Zone where a southern guy's hunting hound helps him discern heaven from hell.

 

There is Dick Powell playing "Rex Shepard" in *You Can Never Tell*.

 

There is "Blood," the dog in *A Boy and his Dog*, who seems as human as any of the humans.

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