Senior Editor
03.01.10 54 Comments

In 1982, Paramount Pictures completed but shelved a project called White Dog, mainly because it was about a super racist dog.  Says the trailer voiceover:

“The man who owned him, how did he turn he turn him into a racist dog?”
“It’s simple, really.  Find a black wino who desperately needs a drink… or a black junkie who’d do anything for a fix… and then pay them, to beat that dog of yours when he was a puppy.  And as the dog grew up, those methodical beatings by blacks planted that seed of fear in him, and that fear became hate, and that hate taught him to attack the color black.”

It’s too bad they shelved it like pussies, because it turns out it was actually a parable about whether racism is learned.

Director Samuel Fuller uses the film as a platform to deliver an antiracist message as it examines the question of whether racism is a treatable problem or an incurable disease. Critics praised the film’s hard line look at racism and Fuller’s use of melodrama and metaphors to present his argument, and its somewhat disheartening ending that leaves the impression that while racism is learned, it cannot be cured. Reviewers consistently questioned the film’s lack of wide release in the United States when it was completed and applauded its belated DVD release by Criterion in 2008.

Aw, poor racist dog, it’s not his fault. (how’d they get his lips to stay like that, anyway?).  A dog that hates black people is still better than a cat that looks like Hitler.

-Thanks to Joe for the tip

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