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Book by J. R. Ackerley, filmed with Alan Bates as Frank, and Gary Oldman as Jonny. Ackerley called it 'a fairy story for adults'. Johnny, married with a child, is imprisoned. His Alsatian dog, Evie, goes to live with his mum and dad, despite the fact that he'd rather it went to live with Frank, Johnny's lover. Frank doesn't want the dog.

Frank goes to visit Johnny's parents, begins to feel sorry for the dog, and starts to take it for walks. Eventually he becomes very attached to the dog, but by this time, the parents don't want to lose Evie either. They keep telling Frank 'we think the world of you' - but he's not having Evie.

When Johnny is released, Frank gets the dog, and Johnny returns to his wife. In the last episode, pretty much, Frank and Evie meet Johnny and his wife and kid in the park. Frank feels the last pangs of love for Johnny die as the couple walk away from him. He begins to see that he's got the best of the bargain, namely the dog.

The film is great stuff: Elizabeth Smith plays Johnny's mother, and makes a very fine job of it. The book, though, is heart-breaking. The slow evaporation of Frank's love for Johnny, his sympathy with the plight of the dog, Johnny's desire for a more normal family life with a plain spouse and an unremarkable kid instead of a more passionate one with Frank, who thinks the world of him, are all massively poignant.

Ace.

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