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Zanna Bianca

White Fang
Colmillo Blanco / Croc-Blanc / Wolfsblut

Italy/Spain/France 1973
produced by
In-Cine Companía Industrial Cinematografica, Oceania Produzioni Internazionali Cinematografiche, Les Productions Fox Europa/Titanus
directed by Lucio Fulci
starring Franco Nero, Virna Lisi, Fernando Rey, John Steiner, Raimund Harmstorf, Missaele, Daniel Martín, Daniele Dublino, Carole André, Rik Battaglia, John Bartha, Luigi Antonio Guerry, Carla Mancini, Maurice Poli
screenplay by Guy Elmes, Thom Keyes, Roberto Gianviti, Piero Regnoli, Guillaume Roux, based on the novel by Jack London, adaptation by Harry Alan Towers (as Peter Welbeck), music by Carlo Rustichelli

White Fang

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The Klondike, time of the goldrush: The Indian Charlie (Daniel Martín) and his son Mitsah (Missaele) find a young dog/wolf halfbreed they call White Fang and which Mitsah befrieds pretty fast - much to the dismay of his father who thinks White Fang is dangerous. It is only when White Fang saves Mitsah from drowning that Charlie rethinks his point of view. However, the whole drowning experience (in the icey Alaskan waters no less) has left Mitsah in fever, so his dad has to bring him to Dawson City, a town full of cutthroats, for a Doctor ...

In Dawson City, Beauty Smith (John Steiner), the law of Dawson City, the richest man in town and the biggest cutthroat, takes an interest in White Fang, but when Charlie refuses to sell him, Smith has his men kill Charlie and snatch the dog ...

From here on, the good guys - journalist Jason Scott (Franco Nero) and gouvernment official Kurt Jansen (Raimund Harmstorf) - take things in Dawson City into their hands, befirend Mitsah, the nun Sister Evangelina (Virna Lisi) who looks after the boy, the flawed but good-natured priest Father Oatley (Fernando Rey) and the dancehall girl Krista (Carole André), who is really the priest's daughter but who has caught the eye of Smith. And before you know it, Scott and Jansen openly challenge Smith and save White Fang, whom Smith has set up to fight a bear - to collect a fortune in betting money from Dawson City's poor citizens. (Later, White Fang will pay back the favour by saving Scott's life.)

After much to and fro, Smith and his right-hand man Hall (Rik Battaglia) learn that a new goldrush has broken out in Nome, and they prepare to leave town before the golddiggers who have entrusted their gold with Smith find that out as well and will want to be payed out before leaving for Nome.

However, when Smith and Hall desperately try to persuade Krista to leave Dawson City with them and kill her in the process, her father witnesses the whole scene and now tells everybody about the gold in Nome - and soon enough, Smith and Hall are hunted by the entire populace, and when they have nowhere left to go, they take cover at a local dam which they threaten to blow up, to take the whole lynchmob after them to hell with them ... which is when White Fang attacks and takes care of Smith and Hall - before the dam blows up anyhow - but miraculously enough all the good guys survive and a rather schmaltzy ending sees White Fang - who should have been killed in the blast - and Mitsah reunited ...

 

First off I have to admit I'm not a big fan of films with dogs, nor do I like kids in movies too much, especially when they have dogs, but even setting my own preferences aside for the time being, Zanna Bianca is still less than a good film, the directorial effort of director Lucio Fulci (still a few years away from his zombie epics but a veteran director even then) is just too lazy to impress. Many of the action setpieces - especially the finale with the blown up dam - are done in such an underwhelming manner that one is really tempted top lose interest in the onscreen goings-on and can't help but wonder why tehy even bothered  - and for once, the scenes don't suck for lack of budget (after all, the dam is blown up alright) but simply lack of effort. Now I'm not saying that I myself would have liked the film much more with better action, but it would have been nice if they would have at least tried ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD