It Stars Dick Powell

This black-and-white Universal mystery stars veteran movie actor Dick Powell as a German Shepherd. Yes, that’s right, Dick plays a dog. At the start, we see Rex, a German Shepherd, eating some poisoned dog food. Rex is soon on his way to animal heaven, where he is greeted by a lion sitting on a throne. He pleads his case to go back to Earth so he can avenge his own murder, and he is soon on his way back as his wish is granted. We then see Dick Powell for the first time. He is playing a private eye (Rex Shepherd), sitting at his desk with his feet up. Oh, and his right hand is dipping into an open bag of Kibble while he munches away deep in thought.

The sight gags and Powell’s brilliantly-played doggie mannerisms sell the premise. Watching Powell scratch behind his ear while investigating the case is a hilarious reminder of who Rex really is and keeps the viewer in on the gag.

Supporting cast

Ellen Hathaway (Peggy Dow) is the love interest that used to take care of Rex when he was a dog. To complicate matters, Rex, the German Shepherd, was rich and Ellen is whispered to have murdered Rex for his fortune. Not only does Rex, the private detective, want to clear her name, but Ellen is in danger as the murderer is after her for the money. Think you know where this is going?  You haven’t a clue.

Joyce Holden holds her own step by step with Powell as the former thorougbred champion race horse, known as Golden Harvest/Goldie Harvey, who comes back to Earth to help. Watching the two bounce off each other as former four-legged animals keeps you glued to the screen as you start to believe this all might be true.  The script by Lou Breslow and David Chandler is dynamite. as the two reparte with quotes that make you want to back it up to make sure you heard it correctly. It is all summed up when Rex explains the subterfuge to Goldie: “Oh Goldie, these are humans we’re dealing with. You can’t tell them the truth and expect them to believe it.”

Behind the Camera

Maury Gertsman’s camera work keeps the pace firmly rooted on the set, giving the feel of being based on a stage play. Lou Breslow also directed, keeping the control focused on the dialogue and a pace as quick as the script. The sets are more dictated by the budget than a desire for a classic stage fee. Produced by Leonard Goldstein, the man who brought you Ma and Pa Kettle, this movie leaves you wanting a sequel just to know what else is out there in this world.


What animal would you come back as?