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White Dog (The Criterion Collection) (1982)

Kristy McNichol , Christa Lang , Samuel Fuller  |  PG |  DVD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Kristy McNichol, Christa Lang, Vernon Weddle
  • Directors: Samuel Fuller
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: December 2, 2008
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001GCATWA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,628 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "White Dog (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Samuel Fuller's throat-grabbing exposé on American racism was misunderstood and withheld from release when it was made in the early eighties; today, the notorious film is lauded for its daring metaphor and gripping pulp filmmaking. Kristy McNichol stars as a young actress who adopts a lost German Shepherd, only to discover through a series of horrifying incidents that the dog has been trained to attack black people, and Paul Winfield plays the animal trainer who tries to cure him. A snarling, uncompromising vision, White Dog is a tragic portrait of the evil done by that most corruptible of animals: the human being.

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
New, restored high-definition digital transfer of the uncut version, approved by producer Jon Davison
New video interviews with producer Davison, co-writer Curtis Hanson, and 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 new essays by critics J. Hoberman and Armond White, plus a rare 1982 interview in which Fuller interviews the canine star of the film

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THIS DOG STILL BITES! November 25, 2008
Format:DVD
In 1982, Samuel Fuller's "WHITE DOG" created a storm of controversy that resulted in a limited theatrical release with no follow-up video until now.

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).
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
This is one of those rarely seen, much talked about, "legendary" films that has never been released on home video, and has been rarely screened. Until now, of course.

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.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A highly controversial film February 8, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film

White Dog is one of the most controversial films of the 1980's and was suppressed due to it's controversy.

The film, loosely based on a true story is about an actress who adopts a stray dog and later discovers that the dog had been trained by to attack and kill black people. African-American actor, Paul Winfield, plays the role of an animal trainer who attempts to rehabilitate the dog.

The film follows both the case of a real actress who this happened to and to the real incidents in the South where racists trained dogs to do such horrific acts.

The film also stars Burl Ives in one of his few film roles.

I liked the film and saw it as a message on how racism is taught, and not inherent. The film was misunderstood and not widely released and this edition is it premiere on home video.

The DVD includes an interview with director Sam Fuller's widow, Christa Lang-Fuller, the film's producer Jon Davison, co-writer Curtis Hanson, and dog trainer, Karl Lewis-Miller. The DVD also includes behind the scenes photographs.

This is a film you won't soon forget.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating incorrect film February 14, 2008
This film is superb and I think little known as politically incorrect. Policy today, and ever at times of making this movie, wants to show all things in life, even the bad ones, have a solution, and a reasonable one, generally.
But Sam Fuller is wise and I think very experienced and his best and perhaps less commercial films, he show us there are good things in life, but there are also bad facets, and some have no solution. Not one humane solution at less, and simply you can convert a tiger in a sheep.
This is the case in this movie, with the real problem of racism at bottom. Racism is considered a vice to eradicate in mankind, but this "White Dog" show us in a very believable way there are things out of our capacity.
The plot is: a young white girl is fiercely defended from a intent of rape by a strong attack dog. The girl cares grateful of these apparently abandoned dog, a magnificent obedient animal. But one day there appear a black person and the dog attacks furiously. The girl is astonished as the incident repeats. She consults with some experts in animals who train them for circus, etc. The diagnostic is clear: the dog is a "White Dog", this is, a dog trained viciously for a cruel master to hate, attack and kill to black people. The main expert affirms from the beginning there are no cure for such criminal dogs, but a black employee wants to try and extirpate racism from the dog's brain.
That attempt has to cost interminable training sessions in a jail with protection against the fierce attacks of the dog, but when all seems useless, the dog finish in an apparent appeasement and ceases in attacking the black man.
The big deception is from there, the dog attacks white people; his racism is the same, only has changed the objective. Fascinating, magnificent film.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars white dog
I want to order this movie because I been looking for it for three years because I really like this movie
Published 5 months ago by mary swink
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Movie!
This excellent movie in my opinion has been overlooked.

A young actress hits a dog with her car. She takes the dog under her wing and nurses him back to good health. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Becky
5.0 out of 5 stars Whew!
Few words. Helluva flick. See it for yourself. Wow! Fuller really and truly out-did him self on this one. Read more
Published 8 months ago by konichiwa
3.0 out of 5 stars Controversial?
The fact that this film was so controversial when released speaks volumes about the paranoid P.C. times we live in....and it was released in 1982!!! Read more
Published 9 months ago by Timmy
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding drama film, well made, and a Criterion disc that is more...
This is Sam Fuller's disclosed diatribe against public hatred delivered through a metaphorical story about a girl and her dog. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Leslie Karen Rigsbey
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing, but somehow enlightening
While I had seen this when it first came out, it did indeed deserve another viewing - or two. A very interesting premise with great acting by an excellent cast, the plot was just... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ginny B
4.0 out of 5 stars Color Blind
The movie is kinda ridiculous but very entertaining, dogs and cats are color blind, you wouldn't be able to train a dog to attack a person based on color. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Michael Goff
1.0 out of 5 stars What was i thinking?
I couldnt get past how dated the film was and i didnt realize just how bad alot of the dialouge and acting were back then. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Maria P. Mason
4.0 out of 5 stars A lesson to learn. great movie for collectors.
This is an older film, It was a good warning in the past,/and even the present, about sick & abusive people, hurting people of color with trained attack dogs. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Sue
5.0 out of 5 stars Cruelty To Man and Beast Observed
This review is based on the CRITERION DVD release. Director Samuel Fuller's films are an acquired taste. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Grrrr
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