Entrusted to the care of Jeff (Jim Dale), the jolly animal psychologist of a British space research centre, shaggy Old English Sheepdog Digby unwittingly laps up a top-secret solution that the young psychologist has sneaked out of the lab to perk up his roses.
As a result, Digby expands to giant proportions overnight and keeps on growing, much to the dismay of Jeff, who fears his “borrowing” is too evident to hide.
Trying to throw the dog’s owner – a small lad called Billy (Richard Beaumont) whose mother (Angela Douglas) also works at the space research centre – off the trail of his now mammoth-size animal, Jeff tells the boy he has sold it and has to resort to eating a can of dog food to prove it.
In the dark of night, accident-prone Jeff disguises the growing Digby in a horse costume with the hopes of smuggling him to his aunt’s country home.
But a couple of crooks (John Bluthal and Norman Rossington), soft-shoeing their way through a robbery, foil his plan when they spot Digby’s market potential and sell him to a circus.
Now 30-feet high, Digby becomes a national attraction for the circus and an international incident when he spots his former owner in the circus audience and bounds, tail-wagging, from his chained platform. Following his master’s voice, Digby pulls down the big top and, by his sheer size, terrorises the countryside.
The space centre mobilises its international forces to bomb the “rampaging monster”, while Jeff and young Billy race against the bumbling military with a solution of their own.
Director Joseph McGrath packs in laughs wherever he can with Mad magazine-like barbs and some subtler satire running through the clever script.
The cast is a joy and the film is a zany bit of British whimsy designed to entertain just about everybody. Principal Jim Dale has a mischievous flair, which he ably demonstrates in Digby. Spike Milligan appears as a verrrry interesting German psychiatrist.
Kenneth J. Warren
The Great Manzini
Dog Home Manager