So it turns out that Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson is re-making the British movie The Dambusters. One of the veterans – George “Johnny” Johnson – helped with the project and reports in this interview that what he’s seen of the movie is great stuff. The thorny question is, as afficianados will realise, what are they going to call the dog?One thing’s for sure – it won’t be by his name. Here’s the problem: the leader of the 617 Squadron raid – Guy Gibson had a black labrador dog. It features in several scenes in the 1955 movie, but unfortunately (if you don’t want to know what happens to the dog, look away now) it comes to a sticky end just before Gibson and co take off. Gibson in fact instructs his crew chief to bury the dog in the middle of night because “we may be going into the ground about the same time” or words very close to that.
In the original, the dog is regularly greeted by his name. These days, even in the UK, when the movie is shown (as it frequently is) the name is dubbed over to something like “old boy”. This is prone to generate strong feelings. You can read both sides of the discussion here; and some more trenchant views here.
The dog’s name? Well, perhaps you should look away again, it’s Nigger.