Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane

As a child, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane freaked me out.  It stars a young Jodie Foster (who considers it one of her worst films -- it's not as she has done far crappier stuff than this) and Martin Sheen as a pedophile.  Foster is hiding a secret and bumping people off with poison.  Sheen is trying to get into her pants.  He's creepy.  She's creepy.  The entire movie gave me chills.  (It came out in 1977 in America and I probably saw it a year or two later, so I was about nine when I first watched it.)

While hardly a classic, this Canadian film still delivers, though I am far less disturbed by it these days.  Since it was the 1970s, it's not surprising this film was made (and I could actually see it being remade now, though not well), it still seems like an anomaly of cinema.  Maybe it's because of Sheen, or a brief nude scene with Foster (well, really Foster's older sister in real life because Foster didn't want to appear nude in the movie), but watching the film always gives me the feeling that something is a little ... off.

Those expecting a full-on horror movie will be disappointed.  This is more of a psychological thriller (despite how it was marketed when it came out), and I will say that the subject matter makes it quite effective as such.  And despite Foster's misgivings about the film, I think that any kind of serious study of her career will find this to be one of her more compelling works.

At the very least it is world's better than Nell or Maverick.  

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Apprentice (aka Mismarketing Erotica)

The Apprentice, also known as Fleur Bleue, was released last year in a special edition.  It was sent to me to review or Film Threat, though I'm still up in the air on whether or not I will submit it.  While the film looks good and is interesting, what I find odd is how it is promoted.

If you ever wanted to see a young Susan Sarandon's breasts, then you would think this is the be-all-end-all of such sightings.  In fact, if you simply read the back of the DVD box for this 1971 film, you would think this is some kind of erotic vehicle for Sarandon.  It has sex, it has Sarandon, but it is really about so much more.

I'm not reviewing the movie here regardless of whether or not I submit it to Film Threat, but I am complaining about Somerville House's willingness to focus on one aspect of the film in order to sell it.  Especially since it's Sarandon, who has never been the most erotic of actresses.  In fact, I would say her fans would be much more inclined to buy this film if a more fitting description were placed on the DVD box along with the fact that is one of Sarandon's first roles.  The press kit that came with the film did a fairly decent (though not spectacular) job of describing the film's place in cinematic history, so why not the stuff the consumer gets to see?  (Honestly, the film's actual story is far better than the implied one, but I'm also a fan of crime films and ones that look at the sociological aspects of clashing ethnic groups -- the French and the English in Canada in this case).

Sarandon is an interesting actor in her own right.  I'm not a huge fan, but I know quite a few people who are, and they would not be sold on this movie as an "erotic" Sarandon film.  They don't think of her as an erotic star, period.  For many of them, Thelma and Louise is pushing it.

I understand that companies have to sell movies, but promoting a film as an erotic Susan Sarandon piece is like promoting a film for being an erotic James Gandolfini movie.  Granted, I'm sure a lot of women find him sexy, but most people want to see him play a tough guy.  They don't care about seeing his ass.  It just makes me wonder: Who the hell was Somerville marketing this movie to?  Young guys?  They don't want to see Sarandon naked?  Sarandon's fans?  Ditto.  Older women?  Nope.  So who?

And maybe now we know why the special edition of this film was meant with little fanfare.