7.1/10
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White Dog (1982)

PG | | Drama, Horror | 7 July 1982 (France)
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1:14 | Trailer
A trainer attempts to retrain a vicious dog that's been raised to attack black people.

Director:

Samuel Fuller

Writers:

Romain Gary (story), Samuel Fuller (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kristy McNichol ... Julie Sawyer
Christa Lang Christa Lang ... Nurse
Vernon Weddle Vernon Weddle ... Vet
Jameson Parker ... Roland Grale
Karl Lewis Miller Karl Lewis Miller ... Attacker
Karrie Emerson ... Sun Bather
Helen Siff ... Pound Operator (as Helen J. Siff)
Glen Garner Glen Garner ... Pound Worker (as Glen D. Garner)
Terrence Beasor ... Pound Driver
Tony Brubaker ... Sweeper Driver
Samuel Fuller ... Charlie Felton
Marshall Thompson ... Director
Paul Bartel ... Cameraman
Richard Monahan Richard Monahan ... Assistant Director
Neyle Morrow ... Soundman
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Storyline

Deprogramming a dog who kills Blacks is the ultimate challenge for an unorthodox African-American trainer. When a young Hollywood actress finds the injured stray, she nurses it back to health, not knowing it's a "White Dog" trained by a racist to attack only Blacks. Julie's appalled when the otherwise gentle, white German Shepherd breaks out, then returns from his nighttime foray dotted with human blood. Julie desperately races from trainer to trainer, advised to kill her pet, until the top Hollywood canine expert refers her to his former protégé, Keys. Written by David Stevens

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

...Trained To Kill [Video Australia] See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 July 1982 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Perro blanco See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$46,509

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$46,509
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ironically, the picture that cinematographer Bruce Surtees lensed before this film had a title also of "canis lupus familiaris" variety it being Clint Eastwood's Firefox (1982). See more »

Goofs

When the dog's owner shows up at Julie's house, he rewards her for finding his pet with an unwrapped Whitman's Sampler. That boxed candy is always sold with cellophane wrapper - presumably the filmmakers thought it would be more dramatic to have lid come off and candy fly all over the place when Julie threw it back at him. See more »

Quotes

Roland Gray: You got a four-legged time bomb!
See more »

Connections

References True Grit (1969) See more »

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User Reviews

 
WHITE DOG (Samuel Fuller, 1982) ***
15 June 2007 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

Adapted by Fuller and Curtis Hanson from the Romain Gary novel (to whom the picture is dedicated), WHITE DOG was the iconoclastic director's last Hollywood effort – and one of his most remarkable, in my opinion. However, due to accusations of racism, the film was never released to theaters in the U.S.; undaunted, Fuller took it to Europe instead!

Having watched it twice myself (first on Italian TV and now on DivX, both viewings compromised by the full-screen format – since it was originally filmed in Panavision – and the latter even more so by the VHS quality of the source!), I have to say that I really don't see it as a racist picture at all. On the contrary, the film deals extremely tactfully with its delicate subject matter, and nowhere does it condone such views! 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 handled just as effectively, particularly in the scene towards the end where the dog's previous redneck owner appears out of the blue to reclaim it.

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 – notably Robert Louis 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), then turning suddenly 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. The film is accompanied by a simple yet tremendously effective score by the great Ennio Morricone. From the cast, both McNichol and Winfield are superb; Burl Ives is admirably cast against type; Jameson Parker (from the SIMON & SIMON TV series) appears as McNichol's boyfriend; and there are nice cameos by the likes of veterans Marshall Thompson and Dick Miller, director Paul Bartel and even Fuller himself (as McNichol's agent).

Twenty-five years after the fact, it seems that Paramount has had enough time to reconsider its position and accommodate this important motion picture with an official release, at long last – which is rumored to be coming via a Criterion DVD, no less! I truly hope that we will soon see this fascinating and thought-provoking film receive the exposure it so well deserves: if anything, it ought to be made available for its valid sociological aspects – which it doesn't exploit for sensationalistic value but rather aims for maximum eloquence with a direct, realistic style that really shouldn't offend anybody...


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