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http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/fuller.htm
USA 19
82

 

Samuel Fuller’s throat-grabbing exposť on American racism was misunderstood and withheld from release when it was made in the early eighties; today, the notorious film is lauded for its daring metaphor and gripping pulp filmmaking. Kristy McNichol stars as a young actress who adopts a lost German shepherd, only to discover through a series of horrifying incidents that the dog has been trained to attack black people, and Paul Winfield plays the animal trainer who tries to cure him. A snarling, uncompromising vision, White Dog is a tragic portrait of the evil done by that most corruptible of animals: the human being.

***

From the opening shot of a white flashlight piercing a black screen, Fuller's film is a model of intelligent simplicity. McNichol runs over a beautiful white Alsatian, takes it home to care for it, and discovers that the beast has been conditioned as a 'white dog' which attacks any black that it encounters. Rather than destroy it, she takes it to a black animal trainer (Winfield) to try to de-condition it... Just one of the many remarkable things about Fuller's impeccable treatment of racism is that it investigates that vile trait without showing a racist character; the dog is a perfect symbol for the confused and vicious conditioning that runs riot throughout the human world. Fuller has never heeded the false optimism of liberal creeds, and is well aware that there are no easy solutions to the problem; as the film's ending possibly suggests, you might just eradicate racism, but you'll never be rid of hatred. With Bruce Surtees' uncluttered camerawork, a superb score from Ennio Morricone, and fine acting throughout, this is one film of Fuller's which is most complex in its emotional sway: compassionate towards both animal and humans in the error of their ways, but fuelled by a seething anger. There is certainly no finer film on its subject.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: July 7th, 1982

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Comparison:

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

(Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT)

Box Covers

   

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 455 - Region 1 - NTSC Masters of Cinema - Spine #81
Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:29:57  1:29:52.845
Video 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.98 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 26,298,506,420 bytes

Feature: 26,292,207,168 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.92 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 1.0)  LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, None English (SDH), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• New video interviews with producer Davison, co-writer Curtis Hanson, and Sam Fuller’s widow, Christa Lang-Fuller (44:36)
• An interview with dog trainer Karl Lewis-Miller (text)
• 25 rare photos from the film’s production
• 30-page liner notes booklet featuring new essays by critics J. Hoberman and Armond White, plus a rare 1982 interview in which Fuller interviews the canine star of the film

DVD Release Date: December 2nd, 200
8
Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio:
Masters of Cinema

Aspect Ratio:  1.78:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 26,298,506,420 bytes

Feature: 26,292,207,168 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.92 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• 48-PAGE BOOKLET featuring an essay on the film by Jonathan Rosenbaum, the words of Samuel Fuller, his "interview" with the dog, and rare archival imagery.

DVD
 

Blu-ray Release Date: March 31st, 2014
Transparent Blu-ray case

Chapters 10

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' Blu-ray - March 2014: MoC's 1080P transfer with max'ed out bitrate improves in the expected areas - it's brighter, superior colors, detail and depth, the dog's coat is more pure, earth tones also improve, flesh tones warm. Criterion produce a damn good DVD (flat with a few compression artifacts), so how you see how much better the Masters of Cinema will depend more on your system... and discerning eye. No question the video looked tighter, crisper, with zero noise or artifacts - hopefully evident in the screen captures matches below. The 1.78:1 MoC shows a shade more information in the frame (top and bottom.) The UK rendering looks flawless to me - I doubt it can look any better for home theater consumption.

The Ennio Morricone score seems to be the biggest beneficiary of the LPCM Audio mono audio which sounds crisp and deep, if predictably flat. Masters of Cinema add optional English (SDH) subtitles and their Blu-ray disc is region 'B' coded. It is dual-format with a DVD included. No extras except one of The masters of Cinema's fabulous booklets - a 48-page treatise featuring an essay on the film by Jonathan Rosenbaum, the words of Samuel Fuller, his "interview" with the dog, and rare archival imagery.

A digitally bare-bones release but such an intriguing film to revisit - and the new Blu-ray a/v makes it the definitive way to see it in your home theatre. 100% recommended!  

***

ON THE DVD (2008): Sometime in 2007 a bootleg of this fascinating film (in 1.33 ratio from a VHS source) became available HERE. It has since been discontinued. This Criterion is advertised as 'New, restored high-definition digital transfer of the uncut version, approved by producer Jon Davison '.

It looks solid with decent detail, true colors and strong contrast. It is blemish-free and I have no complaints. There are minor artifacts but nothing that really bothered me. As it stands, overall the Criterion looks very acceptable and the best we will likely see this film on digital barring a Blu-ray release (of which I've heard no mention.)

Criterion offers original mono and has optional English subtitles.

Extras don't include a commentary but there is a new featurette with extensive interviews with co-writer Curtis Hanson, and Sam Fuller’s widow, Christa Lang-Fuller lasting almost 45 minutes. The interview with dog trainer Karl Lewis-Miller is in text screen with sporadic photos and there is also a click-thru gallery of 25 rare photos from the film’s production. Criterion have included a 30-page liner notes booklet featuring new essays by critics J. Hoberman and Armond White, plus a rare 1982 interview in which Fuller interviews the canine star of the film.

Perhaps unusually lighter on the extras but the film has been in high demand for cinephiles for years. This is a film you just have to experience - and I now consider it essential to my collection. 

Gary W. Tooze


Menus

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC


 

Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample

 

(Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


 

Screen Captures

 

(Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)
 

(Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)
 


(Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)
 

(Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)
 

More  Blu-ray Captures


Box Covers

   

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 455 - Region 1 - NTSC Masters of Cinema - Spine #81
Region 'B' - Blu-ray




 

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