“In its blunt, bludgeoning way, White Dog ranks among the toughest and most probing examinations of racism in American cinema,” writes Dennis Lim in the Los Angeles Times this week, on the occasion of Criterion’s special edition of the long-unreleased American cult classic. “Fuller’s brute-force direction gives this outrageous allegory the hyperbolic treatment it demands.”
Now that Fuller’s rough-and-raw fable, about a dog trained to attack black people, has been let out of its cage, critics are chomping at the bit to write about it. In the New York Post, Kyle Smith calls White Dog “an unsettling piece of work so far ahead of its time that, even today, films about racism—for instance, this fall’s flop The Express—seem trifling by comparison.”
Fangoria picked up on the film’s near horror-level imagery, which, Scooter McCraw writes, “is elevated by the thoughtful intelligence of an auteur who is looking to supply more than just cheap and easy thrills.”
And in the current issue of Film Comment, Lisa Dombrowski, author of The Films of Samuel Fuller: If You Die, I’ll Kill, has a historical piece on the production and studio suppression of the film (not available online). She describes White Dog as “an impassioned attack on racial hatred and every inch a Fuller film,” also explaining that “Fuller was not a maker of typical social-problem films, and rejected treating subjects with sanitized white gloves and the fixation on uplift with which liberal Hollywood carefully crafted most pictures addressing ‘difficult’ issues.”
And don't miss writer-director Curtis Hanson talking about writing White Dog, tonight, live, at 9:00 p.m., on blogtalkradio.
Update (19DEC08): Michael Atkinson discusses Fuller’s “smacked-face style” and this “Frankenstein tale” at IFC.com. And Entertainment Weekly calls White Dog “an inspired accomplishment by one of our greatest pulp philosophers.”