Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dogpound Shuffle

(Jeffrey Bloom, 1975)
Sure it's sentimental - it's a movie about a tap-dancing hobo rescuing his dog for God's sake. And the sentiment is touching and charming in itself. But it doesn't contaminate the portrayal of homelessness per se - behind Ron Moody and David Soul's shambolic charm is a penetrating sensitivity to the ways in which the world is organized to exclude them. From class-phobic dog pound attendant to gave-at-the-office homemaker, we see a world of economic apartheid through their eyes, and by watching them we can see the resourcefulness, breadth of experience, and human sensitivity that their nemeses overlook. Soul's attaching neediness is the flip side of Moody's dropout autonomy, but both showcase their capacity for generosity and joy. Bloom's first effort as writer-director (he went on to bring us "Blood Beach") wastes few words - most information is communicated between the lines, and the film moves between the points of its simple journey with confidence and economy. And about that dog - he's really cute.

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