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White Dog [Import USA Zone 1]
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SYNOPSIS One of the most controversial American films of the 1980s, Samuel Fuller's White Dog was originally withheld from release in the USA and has been rarely seen since. This head-on examination of racism remains a riveting and startlingly powerful film experience, with superb performances and a brilliant score by the great Ennio Morricone.
When a young actress (Kristy McNichol) adopts a stray white Alsatian she hit with her car, she soon discovers that the dog has been conditioned to attack any black person on sight. Its only chance is Keys (Paul Winfield), an animal trainer focused on breaking the dog's behaviour and finding a way to eradicate its vicious instincts.
An acclaimed and daring late-career highlight for its director, White Dog amply demonstrates Fuller's clear-eyed intelligence, impassioned humanity and filmmaking dynamism. Unavailable in the UK for decades, The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present its premiere in a new Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition.
- Gorgeous 1080p transfer on the Blu-ray, and progressive encode on the DVD
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
- 48-PAGE BOOKLET featuring an essay on the film by Jonathan Rosenbaum, the words of Samuel Fuller, his 'interview' with the dog, and rare archival imagery.
There is certainly no finer film on its subject --Time Out Film Guide --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Blu-ray.
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Après 18 ans d'absence Samuel Fuller nous concocte un film très fort et d'une grande originalité.
La musique est de Ennio Morricone et la distribution comprend: outre Kristy McNichol (Julie Sawyer), Paul Winfield (Keys), Christa Lang (Nurse), Vernon Weddle (Vet) et Jameson Parker (Roland Gray).
Début de l'histoire en bref: Julie Sawyer (une actrice) recueille un berger Américain ou aussi berger blanc après l'avoir heurté en voiture.
Elle s'aperçoit très vite après que le chien ai attaqué deux personnes (dont un homme lors d'une ballade en ville et blessé une amie de Julie), que les deux victimes étaient noires.
Le berger blanc a été dressé dès la naissance à s'attaquer aux personnes de couleurs.
Cette fois-ci il s'agit du meilleur ami de l'homme qui petit chiot fut frappé par des noirs (des sortes de SDF recrutés par un homme à la retraite). Forcément l'animal a gardé cela dans sa mémoire.
Le chien est alors confié à un dresseur (Keys - un noir évidemment) qui a pour seul but de soigner le chien blanc de son racisme involontaire plutôt que de le tuer.
Conscient du défi qu'on lui pose, Kays, dresseur d'animaux et habitué à des bêtes féroces de toutes sortes, commence un long et pénible combat avec le berger au pelage blanc comme la neige qui est ensanglantée parfois.Lire la suite ›
Chaudement recommandé en Blu Ray!!
Kristy McNichol est une jeune actrice américaine qui percute un soir un chien, un berger allemand blanc. Elle décide de le faire soigner et de la garder avec elle en attendant que son propriétaire se manifeste. Un soir, elle est victime d'une agression et elle est in extremis sauvée par ce chien. Elle s'attache à son sauveur. Un jour le chien disparait en chassant un lapin. Le soir même, sans raison, il s'attaque à un conducteur noir de camion. Petit à petit, elle découvre que ce chien d'attaque a des cibles de prédilection : les noirs. Et elle va découvrir l'origine de ce comportement et essayer avec un dresseur de le guérir...
Inspiré d'un roman de Romain Gary qui s'est inspiré de ce qui est réellement arrivé à son ami de l'époque Jean Seberg.
Je développe un peu car je préfère laisser les spectateurs découvrir ce film qui marque longtemps après sa vision. Les interprétations des acteur (dont le très bon Paul Winfield)sont très bonnes, le travail de réalisation est convaincant (je pense en particulier à une scène dans une église qui m'a énormément marquée) et le chien est parfait dans ce film. Difficile ensuite de ne pas voir la signification, le sens réelle de ce film. Les horreurs de la ségrégation et tous les maux qui l'accompagnent.Lire la suite ›
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What was falsely labeled an incendiary racist film that could provoke real life violence is instead a bold anti-racist parable about how racism is learned or taught. In the movie the metaphor is a dog that has been trained to attack people with dark skin.
The origin of the story is a harrowing true incident Romain Gary wrote about in Life magazine.
The movie story is simple. Julie Sawyer (Kristy McNichol in her first adult role) is a young actress who, while driving one night, accidentally hits a white German shepherd on a mountain road. She takes it to a vet and tries to find the owner. In the meantime, Julie grows attached to the dog. One night it saves her from a intruder who attempts to rape her. Later, the dog runs away and comes home bloody. On a movie set with Julie, the dog attacks a black actress. Julie realizes the dog has been trained as an attack dog so she takes it to "Noah's Ark" an animal shelter and training facility hoping the dog can be deprogrammed in some way. She is told that the dog is a "white dog," one trained to attack black people. At the facility, Keys (Paul Winfield), a dog expert sees this as an opportunity to see if racial prejudice can be unlearned.
This low-budget film is sometimes heavy-handed but is immensely watchable and the restored uncut widescreen transfer is, as with all Criterion editions, made from the best elements available and is very crisp and clean.
Kristy McNichol has a natural, winning charisma on screen. Her top billing is justified and she has an easy, believable chemistry with the dog (actually five dogs were used).
Paul Winfield dominates the latter half of the film. His performance is focused and intense. I was reminded of a superb dog story in which he starred, 1972's "Sounder."
The great Burl Ives has a small part as the co-owner of "Noah's Ark." It is great to hear that singular voice even if it is only in spoken words.
Director Sam Fuller had a reputation as a tough, cigar-chomping sometimes over-the-top, story-teller. He has been called "the tabloid poet." Fuller did not shy away from controversial issues and in fact helmed other films with racial conflict as a theme. He died in 1997 at the age of 85.
There's a wonderful featurette containing new interviews with producer Jon Davison, co-writer Curtis Hanson ("L.A. Confidential") and Fuller's widow Krista Lang.
This film was made for Paramount Studios in 1984, but they never gave it a theatrical release. The plot, about a stray dog taken in by Kristy MacNichol that is a "white dog", a dog trained to kill and maim black people, was considered too hot for them, and the film ended up being a legendary, unseen work. It ended up being the final film of the great Sam Fuller (who directed and co-wrote the screenplay with Curtis Hanson, the director of L.A. Confidential). Is the film great, or is it a disappointment? Well...
The film is mixed. When it works, it's very, very good, and when it doesn't, it's slightly embarrassing (which may have been another reason why Paramount didn't release it in the States). It's never cringe inducing or creaky, but there are notable flaws here. There is bad dialogue (some of which sounds dubbed in, and it's bad dubbing), overacting, some bad camera moves, sledgehammer music cues (especially during an early attack scene), and boring, arbitary secondary characters (Kristy MacNichol's boyfriend and a policeman, for example). The first third of the film is a bit dull. But when Paul Winfield enters the film (he's the trainer that attempts to cure the white dog of its racism), the film is much better. Winfield is great here, playing an entirely believable, passionate person who really wants to cure the dog of its hatred of black people. There are some powerful moments, like when Kristy goes to the pound to look for her dog. We see in long shot a dog placed in a chamber that puts him to sleep. We don't see the dog pass away (Fuller isn't exploitative), but he shows a close up of the chamber, which is powerful and sad. After that, Kristy becomes determined to cure her dog.
Fuller comes up with some excellent camera work (especially in the cage where the animal is retrained), great performances by the dog (there were five dogs portraying the white dog in the film), some funny humour directed at R2D2 (yes, the Star Wars robot), and a very powerful and memorable ending. Overall, it's a mixed bag, but its positives outweight its negatives. If you like Fuller, you should check this out. It's not perfect, but it's a memorable film. It was silly of Paramount not to release the film, but Criterion has done us all a favour. Not a perfect film, but still a good one.
That said, White Dog, based on a true story, is one film in a long line of Fuller's work throughout his career that have dealt with the issues of racism. The title dog is a white German Shepherd that is accidentally struck while on a dark road by a car driven by a young actress played by Krtisty McNichol (Eight is Enough). She takes the dog to a local vet then brings it home to heal while she posts signs in the neighborhood looking for its owner. The next night, an intruder, a white man, breaks into McNichol’s home and the dog rushes to her rescue, dramatically breaking through a glass window in slow motion - when it actually meant something back then - to subdue the perp, holding him until the police arrive. After the incident, the dog and McNichol lovingly bond and she brings the dog to the studio for an acting gig she has. While the dog rests peacefully on the studio floor, McNichol's acting partner, a young black woman, begins to speak her lines which wakes the dog from its slumber. The dog jumps up and viciously attacks the black actress. McNichol soon discovers that this dog is a white dog, a dog purposely trained to attack black people. Enter Paul Winfield, a black man who is an animal trainer for films. McNichol brings the dog to him in the hopes he can reprogram it - himself determined by the challenge to the break the dog of it’s racial attacks. In the meantime the dog escapes its steel kennel and kills an elderly black man in a church. But still Winfield wants to wipe the programmed hate out of the dog this time by making himself the bait. While he succeeds in one aspect the dog’s rage is refocused but it turns on another character forcing Winfield to shoot the dog dead.
Fuller’s subject matter has always been somewhat controversial; and so much so for White Dog, which came out in 1982, that the NAACP at the time thought this film incited racism, which is exactly the opposite of what Fuller was aiming for. According to wikipedia, “Fuller was a staunch integrationist for his hiring of black actors for non-stereotypical roles.” After a limited release the film was shelved by Paramount until 2008 when the Criterion Collection released it on DVD. While somewhat dated in its look, the script by Fuller and Curtis Hanson (LA Confidential), raises legitimate questions on the subject of racism in our county. There is no doubt that race relations have come a long way but have the seeds of racial equality been planted deep enough to grow through a foundation of renewed hate of people of color in our society today? In light of the recent and unprecedented amount of white police officers shooting black people I would say not. And for these police officers, like the dog in the film, the question remains, is racism a curable learned behavior or mental illness that is treatable, or are we hardwired to be racist and maybe there is no cure?
Now, Sam, am I being sold on the idea that the only cure for racist white dogs is a bullet? My grandfather was an admitted racist. I was fortunate to be raised by a Mom and a Dad who did not see a color bar. Your movie has made me think about all of these variables from my own childhood --and I am still decompressing. This is the element makes White Dog such a great movie.
I have read a lot about this movie. Heard it was even based on a true story. The truth is, you will be watching a fictionalized account by the writer (Roman Gary) and his own wife's experience with a stray Alabama police dog trained to attack black people on site. Welcome to the 1960's.
Having seen this for myself, I now believe the opinions came from people that have never actually enjoyed the whole movie from their own comfortable perspective.
I Loved it. Please, Don't Shoot Me!