Benji

Benji

Synopsis of Movie

In 1974, in the middle of The Towering Inferno, Earthquake, another Godfather movie and two comedy classics from Mel Brooks (Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein), a little low-budget family film starring a scruffy dog snuck into the cinemas. Arriving with little fanfare, Benji hung on to become one of the biggest successes of the year, and an all-time famly favorite.

Loveable terrier Benji (played by canine thespian Higgins) lives alone in an abandoned house until he is adopted by a young brother and sister tandem. In their care, Benji learns about love, acceptance and other emotions shared by humans and animals alike. Later, when his pals are kidnapped, Benji’s canine cunning is put to the ultimate test.

Shot mostly from a dog’s-eye-view, Benji was Higgins’ picture throughout. The dog obliged with one of the finest performances ever from an animal actor. The story was simple and earnest, but never condescending or childish, proving that even in a world of infernos, mafiosos and monsters, there was still room for a plucky little pooch with a heart of gold. This is not to say that Benji is not without it's tense moments. Benji's inablility to communicate directly with human beings gives the film moments of real fear after the children of his adoptive family have been kidnapped and only Benji knows where they are being held prisoner. Climaxing in frustrating scenes where Benji's urgent calls to action are ignored as the random antics of a dog. That, coupled with a series of emotional flashbacks of the death of Benji's former owner as seen from the dog's own perspective made for a cinema first: an animal unprecedented levels of personification. Benji had depth, feelings and a believable backstory.

Movie Release History

1974 - Benji
1977 - For the Love of Benji
1980 - Oh, Heavenly Dog
1987 - Benji the Hunted

Movie Sub Categories

live-action
drama

Movie Studio

Mulberry Square Prods.

Cast

Mary Patsy Garrett
Paul Allen Fiuzat
Cindy Cynthia Smith
Dr. Chapman Peter Breck
Lady with the Cat Frances Bavier
Officer Tuttle Terry Carter
Bill Edgar Buchanan
Riley Tom Lester
Henry Christopher Connelly
Linda Deborah Walley
Mitch Mark Slade
Lt. Samuels Herb Vigran
Floyd Larry Swartz
Second Policeman J.D. Young
Mr. Harvey Erwin Hearne

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