In the thread 'Movies Endings That Made You Cry', Umaril Has Returned mentioned the animated film, 'The Plague Dogs'. He said that it was a very cruel movie on many levels, about two dogs who go through hell when all they wanted was to be loved. This rang a bell for me, so I did a little digging this morning.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Plague_Dogs_%28film%29
The Plague Dogs was based on a novel by Richard Adams, author of Watership Down. The film was produced by the same person who directed Watership Down, Martin Rosen. It tells the story of two dogs who had been subjected to horrific animal experimentation, their escape from the lab, and their pursuit by their captors.
It sounds like a terribly sad movie, right up there with Grave of the Fireflies. I watched the first ten minutes on YouTube this morning and could not watch any more, despite the excellent storytelling and adaptation of cinematographic technique. What makes me think that I have seen it before is the strange familiarity of Snitter, a dog who has had experimental brain surgery, when he said that 'the white coats are definitely not masters'. I'm sure I've seen this, but fortunately I don't recall it. I remember movies like Watership Down, The Happy Prince (1974) and The Mouse And His Child (1977), but this one is only familiar, and I don't actually recall seeing it properly.
What strikes me is the very modern and dramatic direction. It opens with a view of water, and suddenly becomes something else, and you realize what is going on. It's graphic and frightening right from the get-go, and you'd never show this to a young child. The director's use of real-life cinema technique is striking, too. The way a character's face is illuminated by a sudden match-strike, or how a room illuminates in a v-shape from the lights in the ceiling, you see that in real life, in cinema, not normally in a cartoon.
If it wasn't so sad I would watch it all the way through. As it is, it will be like Grave of the Fireflies for me, where I can only watch the first ten minutes and then stop because I can imagine how much worse it is going to be.
Does anyone else remember this film?