With the release of both Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore and Marmaduke, we decided to bring together some of the most famous furry faces of film. They walk, some talk, a few even frighten, and more often than not these cat and dog sidekicks outshine their human co-stars.
Frank the Pug
If most talking mutts have the cute factor in spades, Frank the Pug from the Men in Black films is the exception to the rule. Some might point out that Frank isn’t actually a dog at all, but rather an alien posing as one, which begs the question why he chose such an otherworldly ‘disguise’? Less than blessed in the looks department, Frank makes up for it with sheer attitude, delivering some of the films’ best one liners. He’s more than earned his place in the dog hall of fame, and if you disagree, well you can kiss his “furry little butt”.
Lasagne loving Garfield first gained fame as a comic strip and cartoon before making the leap to the big screen. Say what you like about the Garfield films, his acerbic wit and Bill Murray’s deadpan delivery make this ginger tom one iconic cat. Lazy, selfish and constantly berating his owner Jon and canine friend Odie, Garfield is the perfect example of how much there is to love and loathe about man’s feline friend. Now, if only his movies didn’t suck…
Unlike most other dogs or cats on this list, Toto doesn’t say a word in The Wizard of Oz. Well, unless you count his constant yapping that is. It’s not only in his dark brown coat that Toto resembles Marmite. You may find his eternal loyalty to Dorothy heart-wrenchingly sweet, or you could find him to be one irritating little ball of fur. As polarising as he may be, there’s no denying Toto’s presence in the world of film. The image of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tinman and the Cowardly Lion skipping down that yellow brick road wouldn’t be complete without that scrappy mutt biting at their heels.
Puss in Boots
When the first Shrek film was released, it wasn’t so much the grumpy green ogre as it was his talkative donkey sidekick that stole the show. Little did the imaginatively named Donkey know, he was soon to be usurped as everyone’s favourite jabbering animal when Puss in Boots made his feature debut in the sequel. Voiced by Antonio Banderas, Puss’ Spanish swagger and dazzling sword skills stole the show, making him a fan favourite. It’s little wonder he’s getting his own spin-off film next year, so expect to see more of this dangerous, womanising and downright adorable boot-clad cat.
Pixar know a thing or two about creating memorable characters, and Up‘s Dug the dog proves it. With the aid of a hi-tech collar, golden retriever Dug is given the ability to talk, but unlike other anthropomorphic canines he does so with his own unique, and hilarious, syntax. Literally putting a dog’s theorised thoughts into words makes for some of the film’s best laugh out loud moments. If Garfield is the satirical embodiment of how a cat thinks, then Dug is the equally clever personification of dog mentally, exemplified perfectly by his line “I have just met and I love you”.
I’m starting to think Hollywood has a real prejudice against any cat other than a ginger one. Yes, Jones, aka “Jonsey”, may just look like another orange fluff ball, but he’s a cat worth dying for. Or Ripley seems to thinks so. While he spends most of his screen time in Alien hissing at both the ship’s crew and their alien intruder, Sigourney Weaver risks life and limb in the eleventh hour to save the only other surviving life form on board. Perhaps the feline equivalent to Toto, Ripley’s quest to save her cat had half the audience cooing, and the other half screaming “LEAVE THE FRICKING CAT YOU STUPID WOMAN!” Either way, he made to the sequel, which is more than I can say for most of the crew.
A veteran of television for a good thirty years before his cinematic debut, Scooby Doo is everyone’s favourite crime solving Great Dane. Not that there’s much competition… And not that he does much crime solving. Indeed Scooby seems more at ease running from trouble than he does facing it head on. Still, he’s done all right for himself even with that ridiculous speech impediment, just don’t get me started on his obnoxious cousin Scrappy.
Originating from Lewis Carroll’s book Alice in Wonderland, the Cheshire Cat has made numerous film appearances over the years, but one thing is certain to stay the same – that wide-mouthed grin. Mischievous, smart and a little sinister, the Cheshire Cat is always too willing to lend a helping hand to poor confused Alice, with varying results. Seen most recently in Tim Burton’s adaptation under the nickname “Chessur”, his menacing smile and big bright eyes make him perhaps the scariest cat of the bunch… Sorry Garfield.
Last but by no means least is the one and only Lassie. This dog’s film career spans an incredible sixty years, which isn’t bad when you consider the lifespan of your average collie. But of course Lassie is far from average. This dog can seemingly do anything; forget the fire brigade, forget the police, heck you can forget Superman, if a volcano’s about to erupt or a tornado’s brewing, all you need is Lassie. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating, but the point is Lassie is one dog you want around when things look bad. I bet she could even sort out the recession if you gave her an account book and one of those little pencils.