It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog


1h 10m 1946

Brief Synopsis

Reporter Henry Barton, just out of the Army, is chagrined to be made Science Editor while his old crime reporter job goes to Bess. Against orders, Henry probes a racketeering case, and is in a Brooklyn tavern when beautiful Julia comes in with a well-trained Doberman Pinscher and with the dog's aid proceeds to rob the place... or does she? More complications ensue, with a "battle of the sexes" undertone.

Film Details

Release Date
Jul 1946
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog" by Edwin Lanham in Collier's (25 Aug--8 Sep 1945).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,207 or 6,279ft (8 reels)

Synopsis

Reporter Henry Barton has returned after wartime service to his newspaper, The New York Record , to find that his police beat has been given to a woman reporter, Bess Williams. On April Fool's Day, Henry, now promoted against his will to science editor, pleads unsuccessfully with Mitchell, his supervisor, to allow him to investigate the Mike Valentine crime story. Having procured a tip on the whereabouts of Olive Stone, the missing girl friend of Chester Frye, an income tax preparer for Valentine's gang, Henry rents Olive's vacant room, where he finds a small photograph of her. As he shows the photo at nearby Nick's Bar & Grill, Gus Rivers, a gunman for Valentine, overhears him. After Gus leaves, a stranger, Julia Andrews, enters and asks Nick for scraps for her dog Rodney, a doberman pinscher and war hero. After the dog threatens Nick, he complies with her request. The lights then go out, and when they come on again, Julia and Rodney are gone, and seventy dollars has been taken from Nick's money box. After Henry calls in the story, Joe Parelli, an intoxicated off-duty policeman, admits that he took the money as a prank. The false story, however, appears on page one of the paper, and when the police investigate, Joe suggests convinces Henry to steal the dog until interest dies down. Henry kidnaps the dog from Julia's apartment and takes it to the apartment he has just rented. When Julia, who turns out to be a policewoman, confronts Henry, he says the dog ran away, and as they search, Henry slips away to his apartment, where he finds Gus, who has been sent to take him to Valentine. Seeing that Gus is impressed with Rodney, Henry gives him the dog. When Julia sees the newspaper story about the robbery at Nick's, she threatens to arrest Henry, but he promises to retract the story and get the dog back. Meanwhile, Gus, inspired by the story, robs another bar with the dog. Henry then goes to see Valentine, who offers money for Henry to find Frye. As Henry leaves Valentine's hotel elevator, he sees Gus with Olive, but Valentine's hoods prevent him from following. He then finds Julia in the lobby, and when he identifies her as a police officer, it blows her cover, as she, coincidentally, also has been investigating Frye's disappearance. She is about to arrest Henry again, but they see a hood take Olive into a taxi and follow in another. They stop the first cab, but lose Olive in the crowd. Henry promises to get Rodney back and worries that Olive will soon leave town with Frye. A romantic attraction between Henry and Julia has been growing, and by the end of their long cab ride together, they awaken with his arm around her and kiss as she leaves. After Henry finds Rodney in his apartment, Joe, believing that Henry committed the robbery involving Rodney, comes to arrest Henry, but Rodney threatens Joe, allowing Henry to leave and meet Julia at Nick's, where she has located Olive. They find Frye hiding in the back of the bar and learn he is Nick's cousin. Meanwhile, Rodney releases Joe, who then follows the dog to locate Henry. Valentine and his hoods arrive at Nick's, and although Frye promises not to testify against him, Valentine plans to get him drunk and pose a drunk-driving crash over the cliffs at the Palisades. Just then, Rodney leaps in a back window and attacks the hoods, as Julia retrieves a gun and Joe arrives. Henry and Julia confess their love for each other, and as he calls in his story, she says she will retire so she can lay down the law to him. Rodney licks Henry's ear while he is on the phone, and Henry believes it is Julia as he learns that he has been put back on the crime beat and that Bess has returned to society news. He then gives Mitchell a headline for Bess: "Newspaperman Marries Cop."

Film Details

Release Date
Jul 1946
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog" by Edwin Lanham in Collier's (25 Aug--8 Sep 1945).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,207 or 6,279ft (8 reels)

Quotes

What's the matter, mister? Married?
- Joe Parelli
No... too much plutonium.
- Henry Barton
Plu...ton...? Myself, I never use it.
- Joe Pirelli

Trivia

Notes

According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, three days of shooting were done at Warner Bros. Studio press releases give the following information: this was director Herbert I. Leeds's first film following four years in the Army, during which he was a Strategic Service Officer, and it was the first film in two years for actor Charles Tannen, who also had been in the Army. This picture marked the screen debut of Jean Wallace. Patricia Knight was to make her screen debut in this film, but her appearance in the final film is doubtful. The film also marked the screen debut of "Rodney," a four-year-old, eighty-five pound doberman pinscher owned by Rudd and Frank Weatherwax (owners of "Lassie"), who successfully petitioned the American Kennel Club to change the dog's name from his original name, "Griff." The International Association of Policewomen sent Mrs. Irma Buwalda, a former regional director, to assist Leeds as technical advisor. A Hollywood Reporter news item from November 1945 states that Marshall Neilan was to be this film's associate producer, but no confirmation of his involved with the produced film has been located.