Paramount: How about Samuel Fuller's WHITE DOG (1982) getting a long overdue release?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Roderick Gauci, Dec 10, 2002.

  1. Roderick Gauci

    Roderick Gauci Stunt Coordinator

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    I wish Martin Blythe or someone at Paramount could comment on the actual status of this film.

    I have just watched it for the first time (on Italian TV), and I have to say outright that I really don’t see it as a racist picture at all! On the contrary, it deals extremely tactfully with its delicate subject matter, and nowhere does it condone such outdated (to say nothing of despicable) views.

    WHITE DOG was the iconoclastic director’s last Hollywood film - and one of his most remarkable, in my opinion - but it was never released to theaters in the U.S., forcing Fuller to take it to Europe instead! Twenty years after the fact, I should think Paramount has had enough time to reconsider and see fit to accommodate this important motion picture an official release, at least on DVD. One perhaps tends to forget that, hand in hand with the racial angle, the film also tackles another very sensitive issue: animal cruelty. This is also handled very well, especially in the scene near the end when the dog’s previous (racist) owner appears on the scene to claim it back.

    Despite the violence it commits, the dog is never portrayed as a ‘monster’ that should be destroyed like the ones we encounter in conventional horror films. However, it does carry undeniable connotations with the genre, and especially with R.L. Stevenson’s perennial DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE: like the leading character of that story, the dog seems to register two diverse and entirely opposing personalities - docile, protective and even playful with its mistress (Kristy McNichol), but then suddenly turning into an unstoppable beast out for blood whenever a colored person crosses its path!

    The ‘reconditioning’ scenes with Paul Winfield are exceptional, and really give one an idea of what trained animals have to go through before they finally learn to ‘perform’. The rather bleak final scene (so typical of Fuller) is especially powerful - and poignant.

    I truly hope that we will soon see this fascinating and thought-provoking film get a decent release on DVD: Fuller is criminally under-represented in this format, but it no doubt ought to be made available as well for its valid sociological aspects - which it does not exploit for sensationalistic value, but rather aims for maximum eloquence with a direct, realistic style that really should not offend anybody!
     
  2. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Real Name:
    Rex Bachmann
    Roderick Gauci wrote:

     
  3. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Screenwriter

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    Not cool, not cool at all. That was cheap and mean.

    Yes, it would be difficult to convince the video department to release a film that the studio wouldn't release twenty years ago, but it is not impossible. Everyone I have spoken to at Paramount in regards to my cause celebre, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN THE FABULOUS STAINS, have been good listeners and quite honest about the movie's status, so if I haven't gotten the green light I wanted, they have not dismissed me out of hand.

    Roderick's essay makes a good case for the film. I would add to that the constantly growing respect for director Fuller by this new movie generation. This is manifested in documentaries like IFC's THE TYPEWRITER, THE SHOTGUN, AND THE MOVIE CAMERA, and Fantoma's recent issue of his actual last movie.

    My suggestion is to offer a respected director -- Tarantino, Demme, Bogdonavich -- a chance to do commentary or a featurette on WHITE DOG, to draw the unfamiliar in. This is a strategy Paramount is already using, with their Kevin Reynolds/Ridley Scott "face-off" on THE DUELLISTS, and the long, if not successful, courting of Cameron Crowe for commentary on SUNSET BLVD. Names with clout do help find difficult films a home.
     
  4. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    I would love to see WHITE DOG on DVD as well as other Fuller pictures:

    PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET
    CHINA GATE
    RUN OF THE ARROW
    PARK ROW

    Any word on status of these?
     
  5. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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  6. Matthew Kiernan

    Matthew Kiernan Stunt Coordinator

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    With the publication of Fuller's autobiography (not to mention Trent Lott's comments), this would be an ideal time to put WHITE DOG out on DVD. Has the film ever had a home video release? I don't seem to recall.
     
  7. Derek Estes

    Derek Estes Stunt Coordinator

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    Has anyone heard anything lately? I would love to see this film released on DVD!
     
  8. Matt-R

    Matt-R Extra

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    White Dog has aired several times in the last few months on the "Scream" channel in Canada. Gives me hope that a dvd release isn't totally out of the picture.
     

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