THE WOLF DOG (1933)
Article #1228 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-25-2004
Posting Date: 12-22-2004
Directed by Colbert Clark and Harry L. Fraser
Featuring Rin Tin Tin Jr., Frankie Darro, George J. Lewis
A boy slated to be the heir of the Courtney fortune finds himself constantly in danger due to the machinations of his guardian. The guardian is also after the secret behind a sailor’s invention: a device that can blow up vehicles by igniting the gasoline within.
One of the things I enjoyed about THE ADVENTURES OF REX AND RINTY was that the serial was actually telling their stories; it was only as that serial progressed that the story shifted to that of the humans and the animals became secondary characters. This serial accomplishes that trick halfway through the first episode; top-billed Rin Tin Tin Jr. plays a dog who crashes in the jungle with his owner, and becomes the leader of a pack of wolves. He is then rescued by a young boy who is also on the run, and that pretty much ends his story arc; from then on, he mostly pops up on occasion to defend the boy against those who wish to kill him, and even then he plays second banana to the sailor who is the boy’s primary defender. On its own terms, it’s entertaining enough, and the villain does a good job of convincingly pretending that he’s actually a friend so it’s understandable why it takes a while for everyone to catch on. Unfortunately, the budget constraints shine through; at the top of each episode, a greater than usual amount of footage is used from the previous episode to lead into the cliffhanger, and practically every episode from the fourth one on recycles footage from one of the earlier episodes. Quite frankly, I prefer REX AND RINTY.