White Dog Screen 98 of 10 reviews

White Dog

1982

White Dog Poster
  • Movies about relationships between dogs and humans are almost always founded on mutual sympathy; here, it’s subverted into mutual fear, with Keys as just one man, but the dog as an idea. Boosted by a gloomy Ennio Morricone score and the kind of off-kilter details that always defined Fuller’s style, White Dog remains sobering and, at times, troubling—Fuller’s last great film, before a final decade spent making baroque pulp pastiches and TV movies on French money.

  • It’s a weird move, really, and tough to pull off with any grace—but that’s just it: Fuller denies grace. The edits and the angles and the performances and the dialogue, all his materials, remain rough to the end. Yet, his vision is not simple cynicism; rather, he sees the world as stew, a bog of trained idiocy, and all we can do is form tactics for survival. It’s all about trying.

  • Famously suppressed in America, White Dog, Samuel Fuller’s uncompromising, poignant examination of racism, was deemed too incendiary for a sensitive public and too unmarketable for a studio seeking ”Jaws on Paws”. . . Restored and presented in its uncut original version, this is an inspired accomplishment by one of our greatest pulp philosophers.

  • Rather than giving racists ideas, Fuller was analyzing something that already existed. White Dog “naturalizes” racism in a strikingly unnatural way... What’s stunning about Fuller’s two-fisted allegory is how White Dog gives race hatred both a human and subhuman face. This terrific movie is even more remarkable than the travails it suffered on the road to recognition.

  • The central metaphor of White Dog is unsettling because it posits that racism—and its terrible psychological effects—have not vanished from the American social and cultural experience, and will not without a conscious effort. In this way it is Fuller’s most audacious film.

  • Fuller, the patriotic liberal whose muckraking style had always demonstrated a belief in the possibility of reform, is here saying that while racism is learned, it is also a poison that can never be banished from those it infects. A tabloid artist, Fuller reveled in the juice and force of melodrama, and he has been dismissed or ridiculed by those who believe art must be subtle. ''White Dog'' is among his most potent films, and also his most elegant.

  • A supreme example of Hollywood professionalism, WHITE DOG is lean and direct, its powerful anti-racism message delivered with a visual style that is pure Fuller. (The length of the master-shot in which the dog attacks a rapist is astonishing.)

  • [The white dog is] the litmus test for everything that’s best and worst about us, but in his ultimate innocence and helplessness he’s far from being the same as us. Like the children in Fuller’s war films, he’s the ultimate metaphor for the world we engender and nourish and ruin and try to redeem, a cause for some hope as well as despair. In Fuller’s marvelously fluid and tragically resonant story telling, the scope, limits, and consequences of our choices, our efforts, are indelibly clear.

  • What makes White Dog so moving, finally, is the naked simplicity, worthy of Griffith, with which Fuller deploys emotion: in the repeated close-ups of eyes as man and animal stare at each other in a futile attempt at mutual comprehension, in the sudden rushes of deep and playful affection, in the use of slow-motion to capture the mingled beauty and menace of the canine movements . . .A remarkable movie; probably a great one.

  • It is a Frankenstein tale. Fuller had little money and less time (a production strike was fast approaching), and “White Dog” is a rough piece of work, full of editing room shortcuts. At the same time, the set pieces speak volumes.

More Links