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Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood

Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood is a 1976 American comedy film directed by Michael Winner and starring Bruce Dern, Madeline Kahn, Teri Garr and Art Carney. Spoofing the craze surrounding Rin Tin Tin, the film is notable for the large number of cameo appearances by actors and actresses from Hollywood's golden age[2][3] many of whom had been employees of Paramount Pictures, the film's distributor.

Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Winner
Written byArnold Schulman
Cy Howard
StarringBruce Dern
Madeline Kahn
Art Carney
Phil Silvers
Teri Garr
Ron Leibman
Music byNeal Hefti
CinematographyRichard H. Kline
Edited byBernard Gribble
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • May 26, 1976 (1976-05-26)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1.2 million[1]



Larger cameos

Brief Cameo appearances


The film was originally called Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Warner Bros. It was based on the career of Rin Tin Tin. The story was written by Cy Howard in 1971. He hired Arnold Schulmann to write the script. It was developed by David Picker at Warner Bros. He took the script with him when he moved to Paramount, causing the title to be changed. Filming started in August 1975.[4]


Richard Eder of The New York Times declared, "What saves the movie, a jumble of good jokes and bad, sloppiness, chaos and apparently any old thing that came to hand, is Madeline Kahn ... What she has — as W. C. Fields and Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin had — is a kind of unwavering purpose at right angles to reality, a concentration that she bears, Magoolike, through all kinds of unreasonable events."[5] Arthur D. Murphy of Variety reported that "this project might have worked to a degree of whimsy. But the alchemy in the direction has turned potential cotton candy into reinforced concrete; Winner's 'Death Wish' is funnier in comparison."[6] Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Sixty guest stars can't save 'Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood' ... from its unrelentingly crass tone and steady stream of unfunny jokes. Unquestionably, the best performance is given by an appealing German shepherd named Augustus Von Schumacher, who plays Won Ton Ton."[7] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film two stars out of four and called it "a scattershot comedy that can't make up its mind whether to be 'wholesome family entertainment' or a smutty film industry in-joke. It goes both ways."[8]

John Pym of The Monthly Film Bulletin wrote, "Michael Winner does not have Mel Brooks' frenzied gift for marshaling this sort of material; and, to make matters worse, the script attains a level of parody no higher than Ron Leibman's mincing caricature of Valentino, embellished with little more than the standard mannerisms of the familiar theatrical queen."[9] Gary Arnold of The Washington Post stated, "This tacky exercise in mock nostalgia may be added to that recent, weirdly miscalculated genre that includes 'W. C. Fields and Me,' 'Gable and Lombard' and 'The Day of the Locust' ... They may be presented as uninhibited, madcap spoofs of Old Hollywood, but they tend to end up illustrating the New Hollywood at its most crass, insecure and condescending."[10]


  1. ^ SECOND ANNUAL GROSSES GLOSS Byron, Stuart. Film Comment; New York Vol. 13, Iss. 2, (Mar/Apr 1977): 35-37,64.
  2. ^ The New York Times
  3. ^ The New York Times
  4. ^ To Rinny With Love and G Rating Haber, Joyce. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 27 Aug 1975: e10.
  5. ^ Eder, Richard (May 27, 1976). "Miss Kahn Lifts 'Won Ton Ton'". The New York Times. 30.
  6. ^ Murphy, Arthur D. (May 5, 1976). "Film Reviews: Won Ton Ton, The Dog Who Saved Hollywood". Variety. 18.
  7. ^ Thomas, Kevin (May 26, 1976). "Hollywood in 'Won' Dimension". Los Angeles Times. Part IV, p. 1.
  8. ^ Siskel, Gene (May 31, 1976). " Won Ton Ton can't save bad script". Chicago Tribune. Section 2, p. 9.
  9. ^ Pym, John (August 1976). "Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 43 (511): 177.
  10. ^ Arnold, Gary (May 28, 1976). "'Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood'". The Washington Post. B9.

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