12th Apr2014

‘White Dog’ Blu-ray Review (Eureka MoC)

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Kristy McNichol, Paul Winfield, Jameson Parker, Helen Siff, Christa Lang, Vernon Weddle, Paul Bartel | Written by Samuel Fuller, Curtis Hanson | Directed by Samuel Fuller


In 1982, the late Massachusetts film-maker, Samuel Fuller (The Big Red One, Shock Corridor) took his place behind the camera to tell a story of racism, hope, neglect and terror in the wonderful, chilling, poignant and ruthless film, White Dog.

Based on a true life story that was published at one time in Life Magazine in the 1970’s, White Dog follows the character of Julie Sawyer (Kristy McNichol) who accidentally hits a dog with her car while on a night drive in a secluded forest-heavy area of the Hollywood hills. She takes in the dog after being informed that the pound would put him to sleep, and soon finds that the dog, a white German Shepard, though loyal to her, has a dark and violent tendency to attack black people on sight. A shocking and often incredibly tense film, we witness Julie seeking help in an attempt to rehabilitate and cure the dog of it’s bloodlust for the black race.

Paul Winfield (Star Trek II, Terminator) plays Keys, the man who takes control of the “white dog” and attempts to train it and break its racist ways. His performance holds the film together, and his scenes in which he and the dog interact are some of the films’ best.

The film, on its initial release, was buried by Paramount Pictures due to claims that the film gave off a racist message, a claim that is, on viewing of this film, a ridiculous and short sighted one. His final U.S film, Sam Fuller would move to France after the hugely negative reception that the film received and the harsh media attention it was given.

Some 32 years later and Eureka has released White Dog as part of its wonderful and respected “Masters of Cinema” label. The transfer of the film is beautiful and proves that Eureka is one of the best companies for releasing forgotten gems that exists today. The film is uncut and looks and sounds amazing, the reception today is a much different one, with the film being heralded as a forgotten and tortured classic that was ignored and belittled for reprehensible reason on its original release.

Along with a 48 page colour booklet and wonderfully striking cover-art, this newly restored and released dual-format set is a definite must buy.

White Dog is out now from Eureka.


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