Several weeks ago Tom, Mark and I came across an old movie with dogs walking on hind legs, smoking, conspiring and loving on TCM. After a little research, I learned that the movie was "The Dogville Murder Case" and was just one of many shorts featuring dogs.
This article filled me in: More Barks Than There Are in Heaven
The Extremely Bizarre Story of MGM's Dogville Shorts
Then I found the original shorts (not all, and sadly not the one we originally saw) on TCM's website.
A flat-out parody of MGM's own Broadway Melody, it featured showgirl Queenie (the Anita Page role, taken by a very glamorous Oscar) pursued by the evil Mr. Curr (not Jiggs, for a change, but a very threatening-looking black dog) and protected by her boyfriend (the reliable Buster).
Matt and I watched this last night. They had a dog named Al J. Olsen who performed Mammy and had white hands.
The Big Dog House
A prison film parody, released in September of 1930. In this tale, sales clerk Buster is set-up by his boss, Jiggs, who wants to make time with his girl (Oscar, of course, in one of his greatest dramatic performances). Newspapers noted the huge cast, the tiny prison uniforms, and Jiggs' debut in a villainous role.
A fairly high-budget African adventure, with Buster in the dashing title role, Jiggs all done up in blackface and Afro wig, and Oscar in the Edwina Booth role, complete with a very fetching long blonde wig.
Love - Tails of Morocco
This drama featured Foreign Legionnaires reminiscing about the women who done them wrong (Oscar was, of course, a dance-hall girl who two-timed poor cowboy Buster). One racy pre-Code line got past the censors: two gossipy dogs say about a third, "I hear she had her tail lifted!"
The Dogville Murder Case (also known as Who Killed Rover?)
This one was downright weird: detective Fido Vance is hired by a nervous bride to protect her husband, Rover, from greedy relatives. Rover is kidnapped and -- in a twist unheard of in a real MGM film -- is killed before Vance can save him. "I regret to inform you that you are now a widow," he tells the bride, who shrieks, "eeek!" and keels over. The End. There is also a very funny police line-up, featuring a dead ringer for Marie Dressler (a bulldog named Laddie), and a gay dog who was "strolling in the park." Filmograph felt it was "amazingly clever," and felt "the dogs are perfect in their difficult roles."