The Shaggy Dog

The Shaggy Dog (1959)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Cast: Fred MacMurray, Tommy Kirk, Kevin Corcoran, Tim Considine, Roberta Shore
Extras: Commentary Track, Featurettes

In time to coincide with the remake starring Tim Allen, the original 1959 "The Shaggy Dog" has been released on DVD by Walt Disney Pictures. In this film, a young boy is transformed in his neighbor's sheepdog by a magic ring. With a father who is allergic to dogs, a little brother who's eager to turn him into a pet, a neighbor girl he falls in love with and a ring of spies, Wilby (Tommy Kirk) certainly has his hands full… or his paws for that matter… to break the spell and turn himself back into a real teenage boy.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment is presenting the original black and white version of the movie on this disc as well as the colorized version, which is 10 minutes shorter. The transfer of both versions is a bit of a mixed blessing, lacking quite a bit in detail and definition. It is particularly evident in the colorized version where oftentimes image detail becomes a blur. The colorization of the film is weird-looking to say the least with pastel, unnatural-looking hues that are without shades and often turn the picture into a single color tinged screen. The prints are mostly free of defects, though occasional speckles are evident. The compression shows some signs of minor artifacting and the lack of definition in the transfer seems to be a direct result of a fairly low bitrate used to compress these films, combined with an image that is sometimes a bit grainy.

The audio on the release is adequate, presented in the original mono English language track. It is harsh and tinny sounding, clearly dating the movie.

As additional extras the releases contains an commentary track with Tommy Kirk, Kevin Corcoran, Tim Considine and Roberta Shore, the kids from the movie, as they recall the production of the film. A featurette on the kids of "The Shaggy Dog" is also included, covering much of the same area. Additionally a featurette remembering Fred MacMurray is also included.

"The Shaggy Dog" is fun little romp in traditional 50s Disney style. It is entertaining and charming but clearly shows its age in its presentation and its content. Still, for fans, this is a decent release.