Benji movie poster

If you want to start a kid on the road to understanding the importance of consistency of point-of-view (and show them a terrific time at the movies) there is no better place to start than Benji. Why are people surprised to learn that Alfred Hitchcock was a fan of Benji movies? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! Low-angle shots of Benji walking towards the camera intercut with forward-moving shots seemingly taken from the pup’s POV is about as Hitchcockian as it gets. One year before the advent of the steadicam, series creator and director Joe Camp had perfected the Benjicam. I’ll put Camp’s (and cinematographer Don Reddy’s) smooth, eye-level tracking shots from the pooch’s perspective up against no less than Kubrick’s rack-and-pinion tours of the Overlook. Made in response to the death of the studio system and the glut of adult-oriented films that followed, the “little movie that could” raked in $45 million on a $500,000 investment and spawned a handful of worthy sequels. 1974.

Scott Marks

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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