Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976)

I don't want to be one of those wankers who's nagging about how great the seventies where. The music was great, the movies where amazing and blahablablaha. BUT the thing is, the movies where great. Not all of course, but there was special feeling of breaking taboos and trying something new. Gone where the naive sixties, and here we have the cynical and sometime brutal seventies. Graphic violence became accepted, controversial issues where made into films and somewhere around here came The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane.

In a rainy little town in Canada lives a girl, Rynn, alone. But everyone thinks she's living with her father, the poet. Rynn stays alive with traveler checks and just being a very good liar. But she has something or someone down the basement, and the bitchy landlord (a perfect Alexis Smith) is getting more and more nosy... and more serious, her grown-up son Frank (Martin Sheen), the town pedophile, is just wanna do one thing to little Rynn... And that's it. I want you to see this classy little movie. Now.

To be honest, I'm not sure how to categorize this film. Is a thriller? Maybe. A drama, yeah sure! A childhood-drama. Yep. Horror? No. It's a bleak, but warm, black drama about smalltown life and how to cope with death, life and everything in between. It's such a script that it could have been made into a one-room-play, because most of the important stuff is happening in the livingroom. The dialogue is very good and delivered with an uncanny presence by a fourteen year old Jodie Foster. She's well backed by a very solid cast of supporting actors, and Alexis Smith is so disgusting that you want to see her dead at the same moment she arrives on the screen. Martin Sheen shows already here that he's one of the best actors around, and makes the pedophile so eerie and creepy that it's hard to forget his playful way of making contact with the child, and those eyes. At moment he shows up in a cape and hat, dressed like a magician... and it's like one of those classic movie monsters alive again. But human, the worst monster that is.

What makes this movie work is the actors and the location. But I've always thought Canada makes the best backgrounds to these kinda movies anyway. I'm sure it's not a movie for everyone, especially for people expecting a sleazy horror movie or a thriller with Tom Hanks chasing symbols in Europe. This is so much more. An impressive trip to the darkness of the human soul.

For us in Sweden this is a great day, because it's being released by Studio S in a nice anamorphic transfer. Uncut of course, with the notorius nude scene - which is not so sleazy at all. For fans of seventies quality cinema, here it is: The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane!

No comments: