Pick of the Litter DVD Review

  • Directors: Don Jr. Hardy, Dana Nachman
  • Disc Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: December 4, 2018
  • Run Time: 81 minutes

        Don’t get me wrong; I like dogs, but I was concerned that the cuteness of a handful of puppies was all that Pick of the Litter might provide as appeal. Oh boy, was I wrong. Following the journey of five puppies on the road to becoming guide dogs for the blind, the film provides an empathetic and educational glimpse into the two-year process. And there are cute puppies.

        Dana Nachman and Don Hardy’s insightful documentary is hardly innovative, but it also doesn’t need to be. Since Nanook of the North, documentaries have served as a way for viewers to step into the shoes of another, if only temporarily. As a vehicle for this purpose, Pick of the Litter is exceptional. Not only can we empathize with the hardships of a blind person, follow the struggles of the volunteers and trainers working to get the dogs ready, but we also step into the furry steps of the five dogs working their way through the program.

        There is some suspense to the narrative as well, because there is no guarantee that all (or even any) of the dogs being trained will actually become guide dogs. Many of the dogs are cut along the way, so that only the ones with the best skills and temperament are actually given the positions. But I didn’t necessarily see the stories where the dogs were cut as sad, because some of the dogs seem to desire nothing more than being an average dog. With that being said, Pick of the Litter offers no material that couldn’t be viewed by a dog-loving family member of any age. At only 81-minutes, it is a brisk view that has something to engage all age groups. It isn’t a challenging documentary, but one with heart to spare.

        The DVD release doesn’t have any special features.

Entertainment Value: 8.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 8/10
Historical Significance:  6/10
Special Feature:  0/10

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