The Gay Dog

The Gay Dog is a 1954 British comedy film directed by Maurice Elvey and starring Wilfred Pickles, Petula Clark and Megs Jenkins.[1] It was filmed at Southall Studios, and features Petula Clark singing "A Long Way to Go", written by Joe Henderson and Leslie Clark (Petula's father).[2]

The Gay Dog
Directed byMaurice Elvey
Produced byErnest Gartside
Written byPeter Rogers
Joseph Colton (play)
StarringWilfred Pickles
Petula Clark
Megs Jenkins
Music byEdwin Astley
CinematographyJames Wilson
Edited byStanley Willis
Production
company
Distributed byEros Films (UK)
Release date
  • June 1954 (1954-06)
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish

Plot

A miner, Jim Gay, owns a greyhound, "Raving Beauty", which has been very successful in races at the local stadium called Rodney Park. But his bets on the dog are not winning him much money, so Gay hits upon a plan to lengthen its starting odds and clean up at the bookies. He and his friend Peter (a fellow miner) initially pretend that Raving Beauty is ill and the rumours soon spread around the local community. However upon visiting the vicar Jim and Peter find out that the vicar is looking after his brother's greyhound called Prince of Eren who is due to compete in the same race as Raving Beauty on the Saturday. Peter attempts to find out more about Prince of Eren and forms a relationship with the vicar's daughter Peggy. He eventually finds out that Prince of Eren has good form from Shelbourne Park and his breeding bloodlines relate to Mick the Miller. Jim and Peter then tell the local community that Raving Beauty is fit and well because they know Prince of Eren is most likely to win and want a better starting price.

On race day Jim and Peter bet Prince of Eren at odds of 7-1 while the local community bet Raving Beauty to evens. Both greyhounds perform well but Prince of Eren wins as expected but the local community realise that Jim and Peter knew more, which results in Jim getting a black eye. However Jim has won enough money from the bookmakers to buy a motor car, give the vicar a donation for his charities and to pay back the locals their stake money. The film ends with a Jim and Maggie going on holiday in their new motor car but Jim sits in the back with Raving Beauty. A sub plot sees Jim's daughter (Sally) and the vicar's son (Leslie) get engaged to be married.[3][4] [5]

Cast

Critical reception

  • 'TV Guide' wrote, "comic situations abound but fall far short in the execution, which is surprising coming from eminently competent director Elvey." [6]
  • 'Monthly Film Bulletin' wrote in 1954, "this unimaginative film version of Wilfred Pickles' stage success has gained little from the transference, apart from the use of authentic locations which give an impression of realism. Wilfred Pickles presents an interesting character study of a hard-working miner, whilst retaining his customary mannerisms. Petula Clark gives a sensitive performance." [2]
  • 'Today's Cinema' also wrote in 1954, "Pretty Petula Clark is as fresh as ever and gives a well-ironed performance. In Russell Enouch (who later changed his name to William Russell) she has a romantic partner with good looks, modest charm and considerable ability." [2]

Scenes

The greyhound racing scenes were shot mainly at Belmont Stadium in Durham an independent track (unaffiliated to a governing body).[7] However the final race actually shows the greyhounds racing around two different tracks, Belmont and a much larger unidentified stadium (possibly New Cross). The portrayal of 1950s independent greyhound racing is reasonably accurate.

References

  1. "BFI | Film & TV Database | The GAY DOG (1954)". Ftvdb.bfi.org.uk. 16 April 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  2. "The Gay Dog". Petulaclark.net. 23 June 1954. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  3. "The Gay Dog (1954) - Reader's Digest Shop". Shop.readersdigest.co.uk. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  4. "The Gay Dog (1954) | BFI". Explore.bfi.org.uk. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  5. "The Gay Dog - Maurice Elvey (1954)". Radio Times.
  6. "The Gay Dog Review". Movies.tvguide.com. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  7. Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File. Ringpress Books. ISBN 0-948955-15-5.
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