Since a few of you have rushed to Amazon.com to order Won Ton Ton, thought I would continue with another not-so-well-known dog movie. Oh Heavenly Dog is a 1980 comedy flick starring Chevy Chase, Jane Seymour, Omar Sharif, Alan Sues, and Benji.
Like Won Ton Ton it won no awards, got goofy scenes, nothing great about the plot or the performances, critics hated it, but a select audience (like me) love this movie.
Chevy Chase plays a private investigator named Benjamin Browning who is called to investigate a murder. When he arrives at the scene and finds a dead woman, the bad guy suddenly steps out from the shadows and stabs Browning to death. Once dead, he finds himself at the intake processing area for the *newly deceased*. (Formerly known as The Pearly Gates.) His file is in such disarray, that it cannot be decided if he is destined for Heaven or Hell. In order for him to improve his record for acceptance into Heaven, he is given the chance to return to Earth. But the catch is that they have no available human bodies for him to use, so he is to return to Earth as a dog. Naturally he protests but he is quickly informed its either return as a dog, or return as a rat.
Once back on Earth as a dog, he finds that his case is also being investigated by a magazine journalist named Jackie Howard (Jane Seymour). Apparently this murder turns out to be quite a political scandal and Jackie intends to write a novel about it. They keep running into each other in their separate investigations.
Of course Benji/Chevy Chase falls madly in love with the beautiful Jackie and cuddles up to her as only a dog would by hiding in her car, jumping into her bubble bath, and burying his wet little nose into her cleavage. She, in turn, becomes smitten with the little canine. They solve the mystery, dog gets the girl, but not exactly in a way that you would think.
It was panned by the New York Times and by Roger Ebert. You can read Ebert’s review here but WARNING! Spoiler Alert!
Even Chevy Chase refused to watch the finished movie. Said it was the worse role he ever accepted.
I think it was great. I loved watching Benji perform and having much of the movie shot from a dog’s perspective. Alan Sues had a small part but was a riot. And Jane Seymour is just too beautiful and graceful to not like.
It was filmed in Canada instead of London and Paris (as set in the movie). Animals had strict quarantine requirements entering Europe – six months. So shooting had to be done elsewhere. And the dog was not really Benji, it was his daughter, Benjean.
The DVD was released back in 2006 and is kind of hard to find. You may be able to order through one of Amazon.com’s resellers. It is available on Netflix. You could also try Walmart.
The movie features songs by Paul McCartney and Elton John. One of Elton John’s songs, Return to Paradise, is featured in this movie. Not one of his most famous songs, but one of his loveliest.
It’s not the summer blockbuster but a nice movie without sex, drugs, and gory severed body parts.