White Dog

Director: Samuel Fuller
Year Released: 1982
Rating: 3.0

Leave it to the late, great Sam Fuller to take a fundamentally silly exploitation story and elevate it to pulp art. A struggling actress (Kristy McNichol) accidentally hits a big, fluffy German Shepherd with her car, nurses it to health and falls in love with it, only to realize its previous owner trained it to attack people of African descent, so she takes it to get 'reconditioned' by African-American trainer Paul Winfield. Fuller (with co-screenwriter Curtis Hanson) corrects a problem with the Romain Gary novella where the trainer 'turns' the dog to attack white people: here, Winfield makes it his mission to try to 'cure' the dog of all prejudice instead of giving up and terminating it. But the ending - which invokes Burgess's A Clockwork Orange - questions whether or not it's possible to eradicate hate once it's been so ingrained in one from youth: the canine goes crazy, unable to differentiate friend from foe.