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This review appears direct to the web courtesy of THE CINEMA LASER.

LADY IN WHITE

LADY IN WHITE ($60) is a film that I truly love. Therefore, it pleased me to no end when I discovered that Elite Entertainment Inc. had acquired the Laserdisc rights to the never before seen director’s cut of this enchanting film. Writer/director Frank LaLoggia created something completely unique when he brought LADY IN WHITE to the screen. Part ghost story, part thriller, part coming of age story, part nostalgic look back on the sixties- LADY IN WHITE crafts all of these elements into a very human story. From the audio commentary, we learn that LADY IN WHITE is a very personal statement for its creator Frank LaLoggia. The film is semi-autobiographical in nature, at least in its depiction of family life, and much of it plays as a fond remembrance of growing up with an Italian heritage in small town America.

The story of LADY IN WHITE centers around 10 year old Frankie Scarlatti. On Halloween night 1962, Frankie is locked in his school’s cloak room by a couple of classmates. As night falls, an apparition of a young girl appears to him in the locked room. Frankie then witnesses the events of the girl’s murder, as they occurred ten years earlier, within that very same cloak room. Seconds after the ghost of the girl disappears, the killer breaks into the cloak room and begins searching for something. Instead of finding his objective, the killer discovers Frankie, and nearly kills him. While hovering near death, the ghost of the young girl asks Frankie to help reunite her with her mother, and finally put her soul to rest.

One would imagine that a film dealing with a child murderer would be exploitive. Nothing could be further from the truth. This film is gentle in nature, yet it deals with the harshness or the world in a realistic way. LADY IN WHITE is a truly warm, and well acted film which features characters so well drawn, that one can immediately identify with them. A very young Lukas Haas did a terrific job in bringing Frankie to life. His performance helps make LADY IN WHITE a memorable experience. Alex Rocco gives one of the best performances of his career as Frankie’s widowed father. Rocco’s very human portrayal is another key factor in the success of this film. Special kudos go to Renata Vanni and Angelo Bertolini for their vivid portrayals of Frankie’s grandparents. Katherine Helmond also works a bit of magic with her special role which holds the key to the mystery of LADY IN WHITE. Len Cariou, Jason Presson, Joelle Jacobi and Lucy Lee Flippin fill out the primary cast.

Elite Entertainment has given LADY IN WHITE a beautiful Letterboxed transfer which recreates the film’s proper 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Frank LaLoggia personally supervised the SuperScan transfer. The film’s cinematography has nostalgic glow, which the transfer faithfully recreates. The image is nicely detailed throughout, and the colors appear right on the money.

The digitally encoded Dolby Surround soundtrack has a very pleasing mix, which is suitably atmospheric, but packs a directional punch when required. LADY IN WHITE also features a newly mixed Dolby Digital soundtrack.The Pioneer pressing was quite clean across all four sides. The film is presented in CLV on the first two sides, and the supplements are CAV encoded on sides three and four.

The primary supplement feature is Frank LaLoggia’s audio commentary. The commentary is very informative. LaLoggia goes to great lengths to describe the creative and financial process of bringing this project to its completion. Since LADY IN WHITE was such a personal undertaking, it is amazing what LaLoggia had to go through to keep creative control. LaLoggia also points out the six minutes of footage that he has restored to the film, and explains the significance of the restored scenes. Other supplements include a promotional short film which was created for potential investors in LADY IN WHITE. Elite has also supplemented this release with other deleted scenes as well as alternated takes from the film. These scenes are presented in the form of time coded rough cut footage. Theatrical trailers, television spots, radio spots and a still gallery fill out the supplements.

As I stated above, I really love LADY IN WHITE. Elite Entertainment should be congratulated, yet again, for saving another genre classic from video obscurity.

 
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Laserdisc reviews are Copyright 1997 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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