This essay explores the ubiquity of dogs in cinema as means of eliciting fear, love and excitement. Although dogs have acquired several universally recognized traits in society, their depictions on screen vary wildly and do not cohere to form a singular meaning. Dogs appear in many roles: as “good boys” in domestic comedies, as the hero in a coming home flick, and as the muscle to a villain; they have been commercialized, anthropomorphized, weaponized, and racialized. This essay looks as the various ways in which dogs are depicted and what their varying symbolism represents.



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