Tuesday, December 07, 2010

White Dog

Valkoinen koira / Vit hund. US © 1981 Paramount Pictures Corporation. EX: Edgar J. Scherick, Nick Vanogg. P: Jon Davison. D: Samuel Fuller. SC: Samuel Fuller, Curtis Hanson - based on the short story "Chien blanc" (1970) by Romain Gary. DP: Bruce Surtees. FX: John Frazier. PD: Brian Eatwell. COST: Ellis Cohen (men), Gail Viola (women). Make-up: Adelbert Acevedo. M: Ennio Morricone. ED: Bernard Gribble. LOC: Los Angeles, Wildlife Way Station (San Fernando Valley). CAST: Kristy McNichol (Julie Sawyer), Paul Winfield (Keys), Burl Ives (Carruthers), Jameson Parker (Roland Gray), Christa Lang (sairaanhoitaja), Samuel Fuller, Paul Bartel, Martine Dawson, Neyle Morrow, Dick Miller, Samantha Fuller. 90 min. A vintage print with Swedish subtitles by Stig Björkman viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 7 Dec 2010.

Revisited a strong anti-racist drama which was a high point in Samuel Fuller's late career. It had only a limited release because of its controversial subject matter but its greatness has been belatedly recognized.

The title animal is a white German shephard dog which has been trained as a puppy as an attack dog - to attack black people.

White Dog is one of the all time best dog films, along with Rin-Tin-Tin, Lassie, White Bim Black Ear, and the Finnish Myrsky (Storm) by Kaisa Rastimo (about an attack dog puppy rescued from the Berlin Wall).

The performances are fine. White Dog may be Kristy McNichol's best film. Paul Winfield and Burl Ives are powerful as seasoned animal trainers who have a hard time convincing the young actress that it may be impossible to un-train a killer dog. The dog's performance is convincing, and the film is especially interesting for owners of gundogs.

White Dog is essential Samuel Fuller because of its controversial and uncompromising anti-racist subject matter. There are the intensive close-ups, including extreme close-ups of eyes, and other Fullerian hallmarks, but the film is more linear, more mainstream, more like conventional tv drama than his other masterpieces.

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