Reviewed by: John Dickerson
Mixed identity is played for mostly innocent laughs in this Disney story of a couple that’s “gone to the dogs.” “The Ugly Dachshund” is actually a Great Dane who is raised in a brood of dachsies and thinks that he is one of the petite “wiener-type” dogs. Dean Jones and Suzanne Pleshette star as the often frazzled “parents” of the pups.
Naturally, the canines team up to wreak much havoc in the household, including one very funny scene of a backyard party gone awry. As you would expect with an earlier generation Disney flick, “The Ugly Dachshund” is geared for the family, with husband and wife even occupying separate beds (per the movie and TV moral codes of that era). Likable character actor Charlie Ruggles adds a nice grandfatherly influence as the family’s veterinarian.
The movie is slightly undermined, however, by a bit too much of a nasty undertone in the fairly frequent bickering and jealousy by the couple over their dogs. While there are no profanities uttered, less offensive phrases such as “shut up” and “you idiot” left a bad taste in what could have been a much sweeter-spirited film. There are no blasphemies against God’s name, but no references to Him in a positive light either (He is simply ignored, as is often typical).
“The Ugly Dachshund” has no sexual scenes, and violence is limited to a few silly pratfalls from the Great Dane’s cavorting. Humor which might be questionable by some is derived from a slightly intoxicated man in the party scene and a pair of Japanese caterers who call the Great Dane a “rion” (“lion” as pronounced in the stereotypical Oriental accent).
All in all, “The Ugly Dachshund” offers some decent fun, but closer analysis reveals some early signs of the moral mess that is now Disney and most of Hollywood. When God is left out of the picture, it is only a matter of time before everything “goes to the dogs.”
Year of Release—1966