Clifford, the big red dog who will give children a Merry Christmas

CRITICAL – New film adaptation of the character created by Norman Bridwell, this pretty childish fable features a 7-meter dog, as clumsy as it is endearing, with which children aged 5 to 12 are sure to identify.

It is not very well known in France, but in the United States, it is an institution. Imagined in 1963 by designer Norman Bridwell (1928-2014), Clifford the big red dog has sold more than 126 million copies of his adventures translated into 13 languages ​​since its creation. A star in the pantheon of American children’s literature, edited for nearly sixty years by Scholastic.

After an animated series and a first film released in 2004, Clifford is back in the cinema. The plot features a young college girl, Emily Elizabeth (Darby Camp), who receives as a gift from a mysterious magician Mr. Bridwell (played by the mischievous John Cleese) an adorable little red dog.

At the heart of this single-parent family, little Emily feels more isolated than ever. Her mother being on business trips, the young girl transfers all her love to this clumsy but endearing puppy. What will not be his surprise to discover the next day when he wakes up that the small animal who does not stop doing stupid things has transformed into a giant dog of 7 meters. Guarded by her uncle Casey, a young man as whimsical as he is unpredictable, Emily embarks on an incredible adventure, full of twists and turns across New York.

This cute, childish fable about difference is led by director Walt Becker (Alvin and the Chipmunks). Each child will be able to identify with this big dog who tries at all costs to be nice, but who spends his time stumbling and doing stupid things.

The other trump card of the film is the presence of former Monty Python John Cleese, a sort of mysterious and funny Doctor Dolittle, who felt that Clifford would be perfectly happy with Emily. John Clesse’s “pythonesque” grain of magic works wonderfully and punctuates with an offbeat, even nonsensical humor, certain sequences of the film.

Former Monty Python John Cleese © Paramount 2021

Recall that originally Clifford the big red dog is a series of children’s books that chronicle the adventures of a dog so large that his mistress, a little girl named Emily Elizabeth, can ride him. No longer able to live in the city, Emily and her family quickly decide to move to the imaginary island of Birdwell where the girl will experience many adventures in the company of Clifford.

Created in 1963 by American illustrator Norman Bridwell, the big red dog Clifford should have been originally called Tiny. © Paramount

Another anecdote, the designer Norman Bridwell initially wanted to name the dog Tiny. But his wife dissuaded him because she found the pun a little too easy. It was she who suggested the name Clifford to him, in reference to an imaginary friend from his childhood.

At the American box office, the film Clifford has already generated over $ 38.2 million in revenue, making it a real year-end hit, in the wake of the new Disney Encanto, the fantastic Madrigal family.


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