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A well- meaning B Movie
on 5 April 2011
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 starlet, Julie Sawyer (Kristy McNichol) and having been brought back to full health by her, begins to show signs of loyalty and affection for its new owner whom he saves when she is attacked in her flat by a would-be raper. Soon after, the dog attacks an African -American friend of Julie, and then there is the discovery that the dog had been trained, from its early life, to attack Black -skinned people. In a bid to find a cure, the dog is taken by Julie to an animal compound, owned by a man called Carruthers (Burl Ives) where an animal trainer, called Keys (Paul Winfield), decides to reprogrmme the dog, so that its learned response is gradually unlearned.
Due to negative pre-release publicity, especially from the NAACP, which objected to the way Afro-American persons were depicted in the film, the film was suppressed by Paramount and was only released in the US, as a DVD, under the auspices of the Criterion Collection, in 2008.
Fuller, who directed the movie, and co-scripted it (with Curtis Hanson), immigrated to France, where he remained for many years, but subsequently returned to the US. He died, at his home in California, of natural causes, in 1997, aged 85.