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White Dog
     

White Dog

4.4 5
Director: Samuel Fuller, Kristy McNichol, Paul Winfield, Burl Ives

Cast: Samuel Fuller, Kristy McNichol, Paul Winfield, Burl Ives

 
The great maverick filmmaker Samuel Fuller saw his Hollywood career come to a inglorious end in 1982 with the typically offbeat drama White Dog; Paramount Pictures, expecting an exploitation thriller for the drive-in and grindhouse market, were unhappy with the stylish and contemplative film Fuller gave them, and the National Association for the Advancement of

Overview

The great maverick filmmaker Samuel Fuller saw his Hollywood career come to a inglorious end in 1982 with the typically offbeat drama White Dog; Paramount Pictures, expecting an exploitation thriller for the drive-in and grindhouse market, were unhappy with the stylish and contemplative film Fuller gave them, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Black Anti-Defamation Coalition, responding more to Romain Gary's original novel and what they feared might be in the picture than factual information about the project, branded the movie as racist before it was ever completed or screened for the public. As a result, Paramount got cold feet regarding White Dog, and though it did well during its release in Europe, it went unseen in the United States after a token one-week engagement in Detroit, and never received an authorized video release in the United States until the courageous film fans at the Criterion Collection gave Fuller's film a long-overdue debut on DVD in 2009. White Dog has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.78:1, letterboxed on conventional televisions and enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16x9 monitors. The image looks just a bit soft, reflecting the very 1980s look of Bruce Surtees' original cinematography, but the color balance is spot-on and the source print is immaculate; the result is an attractive and entirely accurate presentation of White Dog, which was supervised and approved by Jon Davidson, the film's producer. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, and the fidelity is crisp and full-bodied. The dialogue is in English; option English language subtitles for the hard of hearing are included, but this disc contains no multiple language options. Criterion's DVD also features a short documentary on the making of White Dog and its troubled release history in America, featuring interviews with screenwriter Curtis Hanson, producer Davidson and actress Christa Lang-Fuller (the latter is also the director's widow). Other extras include a text interview with Karl Lewis Miller, who trained the dogs used in the movie, and a gallery of production photos. And as is their custom, Criterion have included an informative and beautifully designed booklet with the package, featuring intelligent and well-written essays from J. Hoberman and Armond White as well as a fascinating "interview" with the film's canine star conducted by Fuller for a film magazine in 1982. White Dog is by no means an ordinary film about race in America, but hardly anything Samuel Fuller did could be called ordinary, and it's both curious and unfair that a movie which so clearly decries racism should have a reputation for encouraging race hatred; hopefully, Criterion's DVD edition of White Dog will help rehabilitate its reputation in America and give this powerful, deeply personal work a chance to be seen in its native land.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
After attracting unwarranted controversy, director Samuel Fuller's White Dog went unreleased in the U.S. by its distributor, Paramount Pictures, effectively severing the auteur's ties to Hollywood once and for all. A disturbing, allegorical tale of a dog trained to attack only black people, the film was attacked on charges of racism long before its intended release date. In response, Paramount attempted to edit the movie; but Fuller took his final cut to Europe, where it found a more appreciative audience. A master at lurid, sensational social commentary, Fuller directs the film in his characteristically biting, urgent manner. Adapted by the director and Curtis Hanson from Romain Gary's novel, the material is as edgy and provocative anything in Fuller's oeuvre, though it's clear the film decried the central concept of racial hatred. All of the performers, including Paul Winfield, the little-seen Burl Ives, and the once-popular Kristy McNichol, handle the difficult material with care.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/02/2008
UPC:
0715515033923
Original Release:
1982
Rating:
PG
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:30:00
Sales rank:
22,802

Special Features

New, restored high-definition digital transfer of the uncut version, supervised and approved by Producer Jon Davison; ; New video interviews with Davison, Co-Writer Curtis Hanson, and Director Sam Fuller's widow, Christa Lang-Fuller; ; An interview with dog trainer Karl Lewis Miller; ; Rare photos from the film's production; ; Plus: A booklet featuring essays by critics J. Hoberman and Armond White, as well as a 1982 piece in which Fuller interviews the canine star of the film

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Kristy McNichol Julie Sawyer
Paul Winfield Keys
Burl Ives Carruthers
Jameson Parker Roland Gray
Lynne Moody Molly
Marshall Thompson Director
Bob Minor Joe
Vernon Weddle Vet
Christa Lang Nurse
Paul Bartel Cameraman
Martine Dawson Martine
Alexander Brown Man in Church
Dick Miller Actor
Clifford A. Pellow Actor
Parley Baer Wilbur Hull
Tony Brubaker Sweeper Driver
Karrie Emerson Sun bathing girl
George Fisher Ferryman
Samantha Fuller Helen
Sam Laws Charlie
Richard Monahan Assistant director
Neyle Morrow Sound Editor
Helen Siff Operator at animal asylum
Hubert Wells Trainer
Nick Vanoff Actor

Technical Credits
Samuel Fuller Director,Screenwriter
Daniel Attias Asst. Director
Ellis Cohen Costumes/Costume Designer
Jon Davison Producer
Brian Eatwell Production Designer
John Frazier Special Effects
Romain Gary Original Story
Bob Gravenor Sound/Sound Designer
Bernard Gribble Editor
Curtis Hanson Screenwriter
Richard Hashimoto Associate Producer
Geoff Hubbard Set Decoration/Design
Barbara Krieger Production Designer,Set Decoration/Design
Ennio Morricone Score Composer
Edgar J. Scherick Producer
William P. Scott Asst. Director
Bruce Surtees Cinematographer
Nick Vanoff Producer
Gail Viola Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Criterion Collection: White Dog
1. After Hours [7:01]
2. Bodyguard [4:31]
3. Runaway Dog [7:11]
4. Four-Legged Time Bomb [9:57]
5. Noah's Ark [8:17]
6. Reconditioning [11:10]
7. The Hand That Feeds [9:07]
8. Good Night, Sweet Prince [9:57]
9. Conspirators [5:05]
10. A Howling Success [1:16]
11. The Final Test [5:46]
1. Color Bars [10:35]

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White Dog 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This movie was quite thought provoking. It gets you to stop and think about how animals and people are influenced by their upbringing and surroundings.
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