Monday, April 27, 2009

Trailer Not on the DVD: The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976, Nicolas Gessner)

One of the very best of the Canadian tax shelter films, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane is, thankfully, available on a very affordable Region 1 DVD.  However, the DVD is barebones and does not even include the trailer.  The disc was released by MGM during the period in which Sony assumed stewardship of the studio's DVD division.  The trailers that had been commonplace on MGM DVDs up until then were often jettisoned.  Whether this trailer was not included because of music clearance issues or because Sony simply didn't care to include it, it did air on TCM at some point:

Nicolas, or Nicholas, Gessner helmed this small production and got terrific performances out of child actors Jodie Foster and Scott Jacoby (Bad Ronald) while developing a palpable tension and a very creepy atmosphere without resorting to a lot of blood and guts.  The great work by Foster and vets Martin Sheen and Alexis Smith, not to mention the wintry small-town Canadian locale, goes a long way towards establishing the film's unique vibe, which is disturbing and weird on a number of levels.  Extra praise must go to Sheen for taking on such a thoroughly tasteless and despicable character role. It's hard to imagine an actor of his stature playing such a part in this day and age.  His Frank Hallet is as evil as Mitchum's Harry Powell in Night of the Hunter, but with none of the inherent rascally charm that Mitchum brings to that film and just about any other he was associated with.  

As with so many hard PG films from this era, it's infinitely more adult than just about any R-rated film on today's screens, let alone PG or PG-13 ones. Gessner would go onto direct Obscure One-Sheet favorite Lisa Langlois in It Rained All Night the Day I Left (undoubtedly one of the worst film titles committed to celluloid).


J.D. said...

The late '70s and early '80s was a great time for low budget Canadian horror with films like TERROR TRAIN, BLACK CHRISTMAS, MY BLOODY VALENTINE and others. I haven't seen this one in ages and missed it when it was on TCM a little while ago. But you're spot on about the unmistakably creepy vibe and Martin Sheen's truly unsettling character. Good stuff!

Ned Merrill said...


It certainly was a Golden Age of sorts! The good thing is you can get TLGWLDTL on DVD very cheaply, or Netflix it, if you want to catch up with it again.

Anonymous said...

on the german region 2 dvd there are two trailers, the us version and the german one, which is completely different.