The Gay Dog

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The Gay Dog
"The Gay Dog".jpg
Directed by Maurice Elvey
Written by Peter Rogers
Based onThe Gay Dog by Joseph Colton
Produced byErnest Gartside
Starring Wilfred Pickles
Petula Clark
Megs Jenkins
Peter Butterworth
Jon Pertwee
Cinematography James Wilson
Edited byStanley Willis
Music by Edwin Astley
Distributed by Eros Films
Release date
22 July 1954
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Gay Dog is a 1954 British comedy film directed by Maurice Elvey and starring Wilfred Pickles, Petula Clark and Megs Jenkins. [1] It was filmed at Southall Studios, and features Petula Clark singing "A Long Way to Go", written by Joe Henderson and Leslie Clark (Petula's father). [2] The film was based on a play by Joseph Colton; also starring Pickles and Jenkins, it had run at London's Piccadilly Theatre for 276 performances from June 1952 to February 1953. [3] The film was shot at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith with sets designed by the art director Cedric Dawe.



A miner, Jim Gay, owns a greyhound, "Raving Beauty", which has been very successful in races at the local stadium called Rodney Park. His bets on the dog are not winning him much money, so Gay hits upon a plan to improve its starting odds so as to win more money.

His friend Peter (a fellow miner) and he initially pretend that Raving Beauty is ill, and the rumours soon spread around the local community. Upon visiting the vicar, however, Jim and Peter find out that the vicar is looking after his brother's greyhound, called Prince of Erin, which is due to compete in the same race as Raving Beauty on the Saturday. Peter attempts to find out more about Prince of Erin and forms a relationship with the vicar's daughter Peggy. He eventually finds out that Prince of Erin has good form from Shelbourne Park and his breeding bloodlines relate to Mick the Miller. Jim and Peter then tell the local community that Raving Beauty is fit and well because they know Prince of Erin is most likely to win and want a better starting price.

Meanwhile, Jim's daughter Sally (Petula Clark) is attending the Women's Institute to avoid Peter, who is also her unwanted suitor. There, she meets and falls in love with a final-year medical student who is lecturing the group on first aid.

On race day, Jim and Peter bet Prince of Erin at odds of 7-1, whilst the local community (who would normally bet on Raving Beauty) bet on Raving Beauty where the odds are still 1-1. Both greyhounds perform well, but Prince of Erin wins. The local community realise that Jim and Peter knew more, which results in Jim getting a black eye. Jim has won enough money from the bookmakers, though, to take a taxi home, give the vicar a donation for his charities, and pay back four family members their stake money.

Meanwhile, Peter offers to be the best man at Sally's wedding and goes off with Peggy.

The film ends with a Jim and Maggie going on holiday to Blackpool in a new motor car with Jim sitting in the back with Raving Beauty. A subplot has Jim's daughter (Sally) and the vicar's son (Leslie) get engaged to be married. [4] [5] [6]


Critical reception


The greyhound racing scenes were shot mainly at Belmont Stadium in Durham, an independent track (unaffiliated to a governing body). [8] However the final race actually shows the greyhounds racing around two different tracks, Belmont and a much larger unidentified stadium (possibly New Cross). The portrayal of 1950s independent greyhound racing is reasonably accurate.

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  1. "BFI | Film & TV Database | The GAY DOG (1954)". 16 April 2009. Archived from the original on 26 January 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 "The Gay Dog". 23 June 1954. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  3. "Production of the Gay Dog | Theatricalia".
  4. "The Gay Dog (1954) - Reader's Digest Shop". Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  5. "The Gay Dog (1954) | BFI". Archived from the original on 13 July 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  6. "The Gay Dog - Maurice Elvey (1954)". Radio Times.
  7. "The Gay Dog Review". Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  8. Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File. Ringpress Books. ISBN   0-948955-15-5.