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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Racism Stripped Bare
White Dog is not an easy film to sit through and it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way for a simple reason; it hits close to home. Racism did exist back then just like it does now and the film strips the idea of racism down to its simplest, by showing it for what it is; fear. And what clearer way to demonstrate this but centering the film around a dog who was raised to...
Published on 7 July 2011 by Atli Hafsteinsson

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A well- meaning B Movie
White Dog (1982)

Samuel Fuller, an admirer of the novel: Chien Blanc, (1970), by the French Writer Romain Gary, adapted the story, to which Paramount had bought the film rights in 1975, by making plot changes to the story of a dog who had been trained to attack black-skinned individuals.

The dog, being accidentally ran over by an aspiring...
Published on 5 April 2011 by Caneroad


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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Racism Stripped Bare, 7 July 2011
By 
White Dog is not an easy film to sit through and it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way for a simple reason; it hits close to home. Racism did exist back then just like it does now and the film strips the idea of racism down to its simplest, by showing it for what it is; fear. And what clearer way to demonstrate this but centering the film around a dog who was raised to fear and attack black people on sight.

Kristy McNicol has a natural, easy-going screen presence and delivers a solid performance as an actress whose adopted stray turns out to attack people. She is appalled when her loving, good-natured German Shepherd disappears and comes back stained with blood. When she takes him to a trainer to be rehabilitated, she learns that he doesn't attack just anyone, only black people. Since pupphyhood, the dog was habitually beaten and taught to associate black people with being attacked, until he attacks any black person on sight, before they get him. This is racism stripped to its barest; fear, taught to us, handed down by those we learn from. But can a simple creature like this dog be taught to overcome his fear? That's the task that the trainer, played by Paul Winfield, is set with. If he can cure this dog of his racism, then why can't people?

White Dog was controversial on its release, in fact some people insisted on branding it as a racist movie. There is nothing racist about it, except that it exposes the tumour in our society that is racism and what it essentially is. Things like this really have happened, racists trained their dogs to perform these terrible acts. White Dog is clever because the subject of racism isn't beaten over the viewer's head. The dog is the perfect demonstration of this. Here is a creature completely innocent of his terrible crimes, the guilty party being those who trained him. White Dog isn't afraid to take us along for the ride and show us what exactly this fear-ridden dog does, and we know that he only does these things because he's been programmed to do so, showcasing the true, subtle horror of racism. It's a graphic, tough movie that isn't easy to sit through, but it's an important film that should be appreciated, not feared. It's a sad thing that White Dog was so shunned because people branded it as a racist movie, thus showcasing prejudice of their own. What irony.

Even with its low budget, White Dog delivers the punches, and while it doesn't look like a polished film, it somehow works much better because of this. The performances all around are stellar. Outshining all, though, is the main character, the dog himself. It's downright unreal to witness an animal acting like that. Sad but sobering, White Dog is an intelligent film that you will walk away from fresher and more alert.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, great blu-ray transfer..., 13 May 2014
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This review is from: White Dog (Masters of Cinema) (Dual Format Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD] [1982] (Blu-ray)
Enough has probably been said about the movie in other reviews, I juts wanted to take an opportunity to make a comment on the blu-ray transfer... which in my opinion looked great. It's well worth an extra couple of quid to buiy the blu-ray version as I see someone else has posted a review that mentions the DVD quality isn't great. The book which comes as part of the blu-ray is also really good and even features an interview with the dog!!

Why the movie was banned at the time, I couldn't comment.. seems to have been a bit of sensationlism I think. When I have recommended the movie to people most have 'guffawed' the storyline and made out like I endorsed racism just by buying it! However upon watching it, pretty much everyone has agreed that it is a really powerful movie and - for lack of more appropriate term - have 'enjoyed' it.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dont be put of by the title., 18 Jan 2009
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This film has to be the MOST UNDERRATED film of alll time. It is absolutely brilliant and if people were,nt so blinkered in their out look of ths subject matter then maybe it might get the appreciation it so wholly deserves. Paul Winfield is the guy in the film who try,s to get the seed of evil out of the dogs brain, [ he is a black guy trying to teach a dog taught to attack black people , to be normal again] Just watch it and see how good and also how sensitively it handles the subject.
10 OUT OF 10
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4.0 out of 5 stars More drama/thriller and with some frightening and well handled messages about the widespread mayhem caused by breeding hate, thi, 22 July 2014
This review is from: White Dog (Masters of Cinema) (Dual Format Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD] [1982] (Blu-ray)
Emotional and controversial, White Dog is not a Cujo style horror. Nor is it as racially controversial as its history would make it seem, as far more hard-hitting films about race have made their point more succinctly than this. However, it is well directed and gripping.
When an aspiring actress hits a runaway dog with her car, she adopts it to save it from being put down at the dog pound, and it proves to be a loving and life-saving pet. Unfortunately, it quickly dawns on her that something is wrong, and after a few savage displays of aggression it becomes clear she's adopted an attack dog that was trained by racists to attack black people.
Unwilling to lose hope, she entreats a black animal trainer who usually works for movie productions to try to recondition the dog out of his dangerous training. Much of the movie is set around the tension and anticipation of whether the animal can be saved and made to represent less of a danger to society.
The acting can occasionally be a tiny bit less convincing than these days (but by no means bad), and some of the scenes aren't filmed with the slick camerawork and tension you'd expect these days, but it's a raw and emotional thriller with some standout sequences and a real punch to the gut. More drama/thriller and with some frightening and well handled messages about the widespread mayhem caused by breeding hate, this is a film worth watching.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... powerful film that handles the subject a racism far better than most, 12 Aug 2014
By 
This review is from: White Dog (Blu-ray)
this is a powerful film that handles the subject a racism far better than most. It is heartbreaking to watch this innocent dog
that has been abused and brainwashed to hate black people. The fact that curing this dog of racism would be the
biggest weapon against those that train these dogs really gets you thinking.I really don't know how anyone can brand
this film as racist as the films sole purpose is to remove that hate from the dog.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very underrated, 21 July 2012
I remember watching this cable in 1987. I always found this film very powerful and intelligent. I couldn't believe that white dog had flopped at the box office as the audience and critics accused this film for being racist which ok yes it got a dog that attacks black people. People don't realise that it how an actress tries to get the dog redemmed. I even notice on YouTube that certain viewers after 32 years still brand white dog racist. I gather it people who hasn't seen the film.

White dog is a great film.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars just as challenging a film then as it is now, 6 April 2014
By 
Rob Simpson "noframeof" (Middlesbrough, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: White Dog (Masters of Cinema) (Dual Format Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD] [1982] (Blu-ray)
This and Shock Corridor, I can happily say I'm a fan of this Samuel Fuller fella. A White Dog is a dog that has been trained to attack Black people and trainer, Keys (Paul Winfield) wants to cure a beautiful white German Shepard of its sickness. It’s instantly apparent why this is one of the most controversial American films of the 1980's as it goes for the jugular of racism, an issue that has rarely been attacked in cinema so aggressively.

An intense film at the best of times, White Dog is at its most unbearable in the sequences where Keys is training the dog with a full body protective suit and the longer he spends with the dog the more of the suit he takes off. There’s a visceral quality to the film that depicts this sick dog as a monster, a menace that wouldn't seem out of place in a slasher film. A theory that is validated by the camera work. In the scenes before the dog reveals its blood thirst the camera tracks behind him like John Carpenter did with Michael Myers in Halloween. Quietly observing this white dog stalk pray only to appear later with his fur covered in blood. Fuller knows what to show and what not to show. And when he does show the dog attacks, he does so to reveal just how deep the dog’s hate goes.

He who elevates White Dog from a timely rally against racism to a film that connects beyond that surface discomfort is Paul Winfield. His performance as the animal trainer Keys is psychical and impassioned, there’s a fierce determination in his eyes that makes you believe in him even when the dog kills. Many would have the dog put down, it’s a great testament to his (and to a lesser extent Kristy McNichol (Julie)) presence that you believe in his ability to achieve the impossible.

White Dog is incredibly intense film-making from Samuel Fuller and one of the great overlooked American films. And its not dated a day either, just as challenging a film then as it is now.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Movie!, 2 May 2014
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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. The dog becomes very close to her protecting her from a guy who breaks into her house.

But she learns that the dog is not the perfect dog. In fact the dog has been trained to attack and kill black people. The film sends out a very strong and clear message.

The negative part is the dvd copy. The picture quality looks like it's been transformed straight from VHS.

Apart from that - good movie!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dogs Dinner, 5 Nov 2013
By 
Arch Stanton (Cornwall, England.) - See all my reviews
A Californian actress runs over a big white Alsatian one night and whisks it off to the vets, in order to try and get it patched up. The vet succeeds and she has a new best friend, but that best friend has a real ugly streak, which leads to it viciously attacking people or disappearing, only to come home covered in blood.
With the actress now concerned it may be an attack dog and worried it may have to be exterminated, she takes it to an animal trainer and discovers to her disgust that the dog is in fact a 'White Dog', a dog which has been bred and brainwashed for the sole purpose of attacking and eating black folk... Which leads to her have no option other than to bring in the only dude on the planet that can help ~ a black, exotic animal trainer, who attempts to de~programme the race hate out of Whitey...

Surprisingly good this one and not as exploitative as it could have been. It poses some interesting questions, has some nice attack sequences that don't go over the top and is kept fairly exciting throughout by director Fuller. The cast are generally good, not least of all 'Hans' (and others) playing the white Alsatian, who puts in a really stellar performance. The storyline is obviously quite controversial, with some heavy handling, which leads to a little Sunday morning 'Lassie' style melodrama and plot holes that don't quite sit right with a modern audience, but that kinda comes as expected and I don't care about that anyway. Oh, and it's got a nice twist in the tail (sic) at the end.

My friend Alan is a big fan of this movie, having encountered it on pre~cert VHS back in the day and is convinced the Criterion version is cut, missing several mutilation shots, especially during the relentless and nasty church attack. . . Personally, I think time and memory can play tricks on you and it was never that gory in the first place.?

*****MINI SPOILER*****

This has an awesome scene, in which a sweet old guy and his two adorable young grand daughters call at the actresses home, in answer to the advert she's placed in the paper. Complete with cute smiles and a box of chocolates, as a thank~you, for taking care of their runaway pet dog! Needless to say the actress isn't very impressed with them, for what they've done!!

*****OVER*****

A solid horror thriller that deserves to be seen by a wider audience.

4.5/5
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ahead of its time - and ours, 11 Mar 2009
By 
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To say that "White Dog" is ahead of its time is an understatement, because I doubt if any studio today would put up the money to make a film as tough and as unsentimental as this about a subject which is so sensitive as racism. Even today this hasn't had a cinema release in the US, and shame on them.

The story - the adoption by an out-of-work actress, Julie (Kristy McNichol, of a German Shepherd she has accidentally run over at night, followed by the discovery that the dog has been programmed to attack white people, and the attempt by a black animal trainer to re-train the dog out of its "racism" - is very straightforward and simple, and on one level it is just that, a story, and a very exciting one too. But the ideas and questions that arise out of it had me and my partner talking about the movie all that night and the next morning. It's Samuel Fuller's great strength as a writer and director that he concentrates on narrative in the way only he can, and lets the themes arise naturally out of the action. And at the heart of the movie are two very harsh questions: If racism can be taught, can it be unlearned - or rather, can the hatred which is instilled ever be eradicated? And, if we don't talk to racists and try to persuade them, what are we going to do with them? Fuller doesn't offer answers, and it's his failure to provide intellectual comfort food which had studios running scared in 1982, and makes this movie so powerful.

There is a rough, raw B-movie energy to the film which adds to the power. Night colour is tempered by lurid red and blue filters, the editing is sharp and jolting as Fuller's always is, the camera has an in-yer-face feel, with huge close-ups. Twice he goes into Peckinpah-style slo-mo, but for shorter periods and for better purpose. This is a masterly piece of technical film-making, and an emotional roller-coaster which makes any discussion of the issues afterwards more intense; you feel you have lived it. And the final image is heart-breaking.

There are however three reasons why I don't give this the full five stars. First, the transfer quality is awful. Brash colours were intended, but there are parts when this film is almost unwatchable or indecipherable.

Second, the principals' acting is mainly B-movie quality (Jameson Parker as the boyfriend is particularly weak). There is however one stand-out performance in the cameo by Parley Baer as the dog's original owner. Truth to tell, the Oscars here go to the five dogs who played the poor mutt who is the victim in all this. (Fuller has problems with matching shots of the different canine actors, which also weakens the film slightly.)

Finally, the script is seriously weakened by the scenes of serious talking. Fuller isn't exactly preaching, but he's trying to create the background context for what is happening in the action. The result is extremely clunky, and not helped by the quality of the acting.

But ignore these failings, concentrate on what happens and the way it's filmed, and I guarantee you will be stirred and involved in ways most film-makers can only dream about.
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White Dog (Masters of Cinema) (Dual Format Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD] [1982]
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