Everyone knows about Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, and Benji. The true canine cinema buff may be familiar with StrongHeart, but few people know that the first dog film star appeared on screens a full decade before silent star StrongHeart. Her name was Blair.
Rescued by Rover was was made in England by Cecil Hepworth. It was a family affair. The script was written by Hepworth's wife Margaret and she played the role of the mother in the film. Hepworth directed, built and painted the scenery and played the role of the father. Their young daughter played the baby in the film, and the family dog Blair took on the role of the heroic Rover.
The film was one of the first to feature a fictional narrative, rather then a recording of a spectacle. The story is simple: a baby under the care of a neglectful nurse is kidnapped by a disgruntled gypsy women and the distraught parents are beside themselves and powerless to do anything. However, the loyal family dog tracks the kidnapper and then returns home to lead the father to her lair. The plot has been recycled a million times since its inception in Hepworth's film.
Rescued by Rover was so popular that Hepworth had to re-shoot the film twice after the negatives wore out from repeated viewing. The popularity of Blair the dog as Rover caused Rover to become a household name and one of the most popular canine nomenclatures for years. Its sparked a craze for canine focused films that lead to the careers of StrongHeart and Rin Tin Tin in the twenties and thirties.
Here is the film in its entirety, watch and enjoy!