The Dog, Blu-ray (2014)

The Dog, Blu-ray (2014)

Documentary on John Wojtowicz – lover, husband, soldier, gay activist, mama’s boy, bank robber
Directors: Allison Berg, Frank Keraudren
Studio: Drafthouse Films/ Cinedigm No. 23 [11/4/14]
Video: 2:35:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 1080p HD
Audio: English DD 5.1
Subtitles: English
Extras: Audio commentary with both directors and curator Thom Powers, Many deleted scenes, Theatrical trailer, 14-page booklet, Digital download
Length: 100 min.
Rating: *****

A fascinating documentary – made over a ten-year period – on the life of John Wojtowicz, which in some ways is even more interesting that the feature film which starred Al Pacino. You may find the real story behind the guy who inspired the movie to be even wilder and more interesting. Wojtowicz was obviously a bit off mentally, but the amazing story of his larger-than-life persona will keep you interested from start to finish. One thing that quite a bit of time and footage is used on is the gay activist movement and his life as a gay man. It even explores the Stonewall riots and how he became known as “The Dog.”

Various eyewitnesses recount the bank robbery, including one of the hostages. (One of the two men who assisted him in the robbery was shot and killed by police.) His partner, for whom he claimed he robbed the bank so he/she could have a sex-change operation, is surprisingly feminine-looking. Their relationship certainly had its ups and downs. It was actually money from the making of the feature film that paid for her eventual operation. Considerable footage is shown of his mother, who is quite a personality herself, and reveals a great deal about both him and herself. All the characters involved are shown in some detail.  It shows how after he got out of prison he had the audacity to pose with a gun for people for money in front of the actual bank which he had robbed.  It is a bit of downer toward the end as he is shown to have cancer and is obviously dying.

—John Sunier

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