Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Films In the Attic: The Infamous "White Dog"
Sam Fuller has made some breath taking visually interesting films that explored the dark nature of humans and what drives them to do what they do. His films had never been "safe" by any means but in 1982 he ruffled more then a few feathers with his controversial film "White Dog" Like Michael Powell with "Peeping Tom" the film was so hated that Fuller was black balled in Hollywood dismayed by Americas narrow thinking he moved to France. Sam Fuller never made another film in the U.S and a shame it was that we lost a wonderful story teller due to negative peoples assumptions.
For the longest time this was extremely difficult to see. Many of us underground film lovers had to to settle with bootleg copies. Finally the wonderful folks at Criterion Collection was bold enough to re release White Dog so a new generation could view it and maybe learn a little something about the beast in all of us.
Title: White Dog
Director: Samuel Fuller
Opener: I was trying to decide if I should tackle such a controversial film about racism. But then I thought that my readers are adult enough to handle anything I throw at them, and if they cant frankly they shouldn't be reading it. I`m not going to sugar coat things this movie will offend certain viewer no matter what color, but its important to understand that Sam Fuller intention was not to shock but to educate and more importantly entertain.
What I think I liked the most about the screenplay is, that fear of dogs is something that a lot of people can relate with. Its interesting that I don't see the dog as the villain of the movie but yet the racist trainer, who transformed a beautiful creature into a mindless killing machine. Yes this film tackles the issue of racism and I feel like its a topic that should be dealt with. Is this film racist, NO and its this misconception that drummed a wonderful director out of Hollywood.
What narrow minded people failed to understand is that the dog is taught to hate and that the ignorant owner instilled those values in him, and so it is with people. Hate is taught. OK so whats wrong with that message?
What the picketers also failed to see that this film shows how the dog pound system works and that the unwanted dogs that aren't cute puppies end up getting put to sleep. Their is a wonderful scene in which Kristies character goes to the pound and cries at the sight of all the unloved,unwanted dogs. Overall it gets right down to its a compelling story and entertaining to watch.
Visually: What I love a lot about the films of Sam Fuller is that he has such a interesting visual style and nothing is as awesome then the shot of the dog leaping through a glass window, scary and beautiful.Also notice the use of low shots, giving as the perspective of the dog.
Acting: TV mainstay Kristie McNichol is as always so cute shes its sick. But to be honest I was all ready to hate her in this but shes pretty good. The script affords her many chances to show her range. Everyone is pretty good, but of course the dog is the star of the film, hes lovable one moment and scariest then jaws the next!
Outro: We as a society have come a long way since this film was made, and still have a long way to go. And while we may not all agree on a lot of things I think we can all agree white,black yellow we all bleed red and while this doggy still has bite it didn't deserve to get put out in the cold and its nice that this dog is finally getting a pat on the head for a clever way to tackle a controversial issue.