Barking Dogs Don't Fite is the 167th Popeye cartoon,
released by Famous Studios on October 28, 1949. It features Popeye the Sailor as the main protagonist, Frenchie the poodle as co-protagonist, Olive Oyl in a non-romantic role as Frenchie's owner, Bluto as main antagonist, Killer the bulldog as co-antagonist, and a mongrel stray dog as a comic foil. It is a semi-remake of the 1937 Fleischer cartoon Protek the Weakerist, and in its theme of bullying of the undersized and the effeminate, it follows closely in the footsteps of 1935's Adventures of Popeye.
The cartoon begins with Popeye paying a call on Olive, who is in her kitchen laundering something in a washtub. In response to Popeye's question, "What's dunkin?," Olive responds that she has a "secret surprise." She blows the soap suds off her washing to reveal a miniature French poodle, impeccably coiffed with a platinum Lana Turner hairstyle, fluffy white bracelets, and pronounced eye shadow. She sprays perfume on the animal's face and underarms with an atomizer in the manner of the valet of wrestler Gorgeous George. And then she bids him to "Be a nice pooch, and give Popeye a smooch," which he proceeds to do in the European manner, on both cheeks, as the orchestra plays the opening bars of "Love In Bloom."
Olive dangles a dog leash and commands Popeye to "take Frenchie bye-bye." Popeye bristles at this directive, and replies, "That sissy dawrg?? Oh, no, I won't!" But Olive is insistent, and the scene fades to the dainty little dog prancing proudly down a walk while Popeye conceals himself behind a brick wall. A stray dog resting against a trash receptacle bursts into mocking laughter, and Popeye covers his head with his shirt. The mutt then does a caricature of Frenchie, with his ears formed into a bow atop his head, lipstick, and a mincing gait, which adds to Popeye's embarrassment.
The scene fades again and we see Bluto marching down the middle of the road in what appears to be a rough part of town, accompanied by a large mean-looking dog with a spiked collar. Aggressive trombone music plays. Bluto wears his street-tough outfit (worn by him in Gym Jam and Floor Flusher, and by his father in Baby Wants a Battle) of a red stretch muscle shirt and bowler hat. His arms are massive and his shoulders are twice as wide as his waist, an intimidating sight indeed. He pauses, amused, to watch his dog chew up an iron horseshoe and spit it out (to the sound effect of machine-gun fire) and spell his name "K-I-L-L-E-R" on a board fence.
Popeye sees what is coming and hurriedly hides Frenchie under the back of his shirt. But the telltale leash drags on the sidewalk, and Bluto sees it and grabs it. He then holds Popeye aloft by the neck with one hand and dangles Frenchie teasingly over Killer with the other, who is eagerly licking his chops. He drops the tiny dog into the pitbull's gaping maw, but the quick-witted poodle causes the bully dog to bite down hard on his own tongue instead.
Killer is angered, and pursues Frenchie through a pile of mops, past a sign that reads "Quiet--Hospital Zone" (which Killer respects), and through a chest of drawers at a used furniture outlet. Finally, Frenchie seeks his escape by racing into a pipe at a construction site that is too small to admit his pursuer's bulk. However, the street-wise bulldog pivots the pipe around, and when the poodle runs out the other end he hits Killer's head, by then morphed into a solid brick wall. Quick to realize the potential for further humiliation, Killer utilizes Frenchie's kayoed body as a pogo stick, driving his head into the iron pipe with each succeeding leap.
Through this all Bluto laughs uproariously. Popeye makes an attempt to rescue Olive's precious pet from certain annihilation, but Bluto grabs the sailor and flings him into a lamppost, which bends to hold him helpless as the musclebound menace dishes out one explosive blow after another (Bluto's father would utilize the same technique in Baby Wants a Battle). A short distance away, Killer ties up Frenchie and uses him as a speedbag. Finally, Bluto grabs a huge wooden maul and gives Popeye one final blast, which shatters the lamp standard and knocks his badly beaten foe into a pothole in the middle of a roadway. One final punch from Killer sends little Frenchie flying right next to Popeye.
To top off his violent rampage Bluto lifts a huge barrel of asphalt over his head and flings it in the direction of the pothole. The barrel smashes to bits and spreads its contents over the two prone victims. Then we see the pair of vicious bullies driving a steamroller and gleefully tooting the whistle, apparently ready to "seal" their victory right into the street pavement.
At the last possible moment we see a hand extend from the black goo holding some object. As the tar drips off we are able to make out that it is a tin can with a label that reads "SPINACH." The human hand pours half of it into the canine's mouth and then takes the other half for itself as the first bars of the Popeye theme song blare triumphantly. Suddenly, the approaching steamroller is held aloft by a small dog, and Popeye gives the vehicle a massive punch of his own.
In the last scene Bluto is imprisoned in an asphalt-heater as he makes a vain attempt to flee from an angry Popeye. The vengeful sailor shovels coal into the burner, and thick black smoke billows from the terrified bully's mouth. Frenchie utilizes the holes of a manhole cover to turn his tormentor into a chain of sausage links. Then we see Popeye proudly carrying the no-longer-foppish poodle as he sings, "He won at the finich, 'cause he ate his spinich, he's Frenchie the fightin' man!" The dog then toots Popeye's pipe in agreement.
- Barking Dogs Don't Fite at the Internet Movie Database