The Doberman Gang, Dog Whisperer Cesar Millán’s favorite movie about four-legged robbers

It’s very simple: if you’ve ever seen a Doberman dog rob a bank, you’ll never forget it again. That is the wonderful impact of this action comedy with bank robbery. Almost 50 years have passed since the premiere of The Doberman Gang and the memory, even of some scene, is indelible in the memory of the spectators. Many, perhaps most, keep it in mind because of the times it has been shown on television, and surely the three films starring this breed of dogs are mixed in their memory.

A bank robber is frustrated because human errors complicate each of the plans. You can’t figure out how to solve this until you get the idea of use trained dogs to be able to carry out a new robbery. The absurd plan is accepted by his accomplices and he hires a dog trainer so that the robbery can be carried out correctly. The funny thing is that to form the band he chooses Doberman dogs. For the thief, these dogs have all the qualities to carry out the robbery, including the ability to frighten the bank employees and attack the security guard if necessary.

The filmmakers know that the script is absurd but precisely for that they work very well the tone of the story. It is an action movie, it has a police plot, but also a lot of sense of humor. It is quite a discovery how these elements manage to work together. We have the classic hit setup, rehearsals, timed plan, and everything we know about robbery films, including differences and gang fights.

But we also have dogs, which although they are quite professional assailants, they are still animals. There can be someone less disciplined whose instinct leads him to chase a dog, something that also happens in the films of assailants. The Doberman Gang has the clever idea to add another dog to the band, a bulldog that makes for comic relief and brings a lot of ridiculous but equally hilarious gags. To that we must add a couple of songs on the soundtrack, either to the use of the 70s, adding rhythm and sympathy. Despite its dramatic moments, the film always has a light and funny tone.

A scene from The Doberman Gang, which would have two sequels

The aftermath took advantage the unexpected success of the film, although none was as valued as the original. Even critics saw something positive in the 1972 film, for its pacing, lightness, and narrative effectiveness. It was a full-fledged heist movie, without failing in any aspect of that genre. A curiosity is that in the third installment of this kind of saga, top-level actors are incorporated, unlike what happened with the other titles. None other than the legendary Fred Astaire starred The Amazing Dobermans (1976), together with Barbara Eden and James Francis.

But if the film lacked one more approval, it was received in 2008. Nothing less than Cesar Millán declares in episode 27 of the fourth season of his show The Dog Whisperer that The Doberman Gang it’s his favorite movie and that with his family he has seen it more than 100 times. If someone who loves dogs so much endorses it, it is clear that something good will be in the movie. Let’s remember that although it is a fiction, the dogs had to be trained to do the different feats that are seen on the screen.

And for all those who live with joy every time there are dogs in the movies but suffer thinking about how hard a shoot must be, The Doberman Gang it has a very important element that marks a before and after in the history of cinema. The famous poster of “No animals were harmed in the making of this movie”, indicating endorsement by the American Humane Society first appeared in The Doberman Gang. This element became increasingly important for commercial cinema. Judging by what you see on the screen, it’s clear that not only were they not hurt, it also appears that everyone had a lot of fun.

The Doberman gang, more than watchdogs
The Poster for The Doberman Gang, 1972

Now that movies cost hundreds of millions of dollars and fall apart in large production runs without reaching their destination, it is always healthy to remember these simple, starless films with half the cast non-human and with a plot filmed seriously but not taken seriously. Pure entertainment, leaving a great memory even when decades have passed since its premiere.


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