Friday, October 23, 2009
"Harold Williams is a perfect scapegoat! He's black!"
The year is 1962.
Frankie gets trapped in a school closet without The Neverending Story to keep him occupied, he's forced to spend his holiday weekend watching ghost children get assaulted and being choked to near-death from a masked intruder with a passion for strangling youngsters.
Things get a lot more boring for Frankie when his Italian corn-farming, iron-working family takes him home to await the fate of a framed man named Harold Williams, who's more affectionately refered to as "that black son of a bitch." Tension mounts within the community as Williams' family is harassed by white churchgoers (go figure). During all this, some sort of spirit woman stands outside of Frankie's window, the little girl from the closet hangs out by his Christmas tree, and the voice narration (think: Dreyfuss in Stand By Me) refuses to quit.
The production history of the film is deserves to be discussed. Determined to avoid working with studios, writer and director Frank LaLoggia teamed up with a relative who knew about the stock market. They turned their independent production company into a publicly traded penny stock. Eventually, they raised the 5 million bucks they needed to shoot and got to work. Once the film was completed, they shopped it around to distributors until they got the deal that worked for them. Unfortunately, the movie only went on to make about 1.7 million in the U.S. With all due respect LaLoggia and his vision, but I understand why more people didn't fall in love with film. 1. It's too long. 2. Nothing happens.
The ghosts don't haunt, they ask favors. The Lady in White is pretty much...a ghost who wears a white dress. Although, fans of "Who's the Boss" will be pleasantly surprised with the Sister of the Lady in White, a sequel I plan on writing. The mystery surrounding the cloakroom and series of murders that have taken place in the town eventually gets answered but it's all pretty unconvincing. Harold Williams is released but it wasn't clear why. The actual killer gives himself away. But while it may have its problems, I have to happy that the man who didn't want to make a studio picture didn't have to make a studio picture. Overall, the look of the film is very professional while the narrative is creative. I'm glad I saw it but I wouldn't watch it again.