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    The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane

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    The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane

    Promotional poster for U.S. release

    Directed by Nicolas Gessner

    Written by Laird Koenig

    Based on by Laird Koenig

    Produced by Zev Braun

    Starring Jodie Foster Martin Sheen Alexis Smith Mort Shuman Scott Jacoby

    Cinematography René Verzier[1]

    Edited by Yves Langlois[1]

    Music by Christian Gaubert[2]

    Production companies

    Claremont Productions

    Zev Braun Productions

    I.C.L. Industries La Societe Filmel Ypsilon Films[2] Distributed by

    Astral Films (Canada)

    Cinema International Corporation (France)

    American International Pictures (US)[1]

    Release date May 1976[3][4]

    Running time 91 minutes[5]

    Countries Canada France

    United States[1][2][6]

    Language English

    is a 1976 cross-genre film directed by Nicolas Gessner and starring Jodie Foster, Martin Sheen, Alexis Smith, Mort Shuman, and Scott Jacoby. It was a co-production of Canada and France and written by Laird Koenig, based on his 1974 novel of the same title.

    The plot focuses on 13-year-old Rynn Jacobs (Foster), a child whose absent poet father and secretive behaviours prod the suspicions of her conservative small-town Maine neighbours. The adaptation, originally intended as a play, was filmed in Quebec on a small budget. The production later became the subject of controversy over reports that Foster had conflicts with producers over the filming and inclusion of a nude scene, but a 21-year-old body double (Foster's sister) was used. After a screening at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival, a court challenge was launched regarding distribution, and a general release followed in 1977.

    Initially released to mixed reviews, with some critics finding the murder mystery plot weak but Jodie Foster's performance more meritorious, the film won two Saturn Awards, including Best Horror Film and Best Actress for Foster. It subsequently attained cult status, with later critics positively reviewing the screenplay. Writers and academics have interpreted it as a statement on children's rights and variously placed it in the thriller, horror, mystery or other genres.


    1 Plot 2 Cast 3 Themes 4 Production 4.1 Development 4.2 Casting 4.3 Filming 4.4 Music 5 Release 6 Reception

    6.1 Critical reception

    6.2 Accolades 7 References 7.1 Bibliography 8 External links


    On Halloween night, in the seaside town of Wells Harbor, Maine, Rynn Jacobs celebrates her thirteenth birthday alone. She and her father, Lester Jacobs, a poet, had recently moved to the village from England. Frank Hallet, adult son of their landlady Cora Hallet, visits unexpectedly and, finding her alone, makes unwelcome sexual advances toward Rynn.

    The following day Cora Hallet comes to the house, first obtrusively poking around the garden, then coming inside and aggressively probing Rynn with pointed questions about herself and her father. Rynn says he is in New York with his publisher and taunts the landlady about her son's intentions. The situation becomes tenser when Mrs. Hallet insists on retrieving jelly glasses she left in the cellar. Rynn makes it obvious she is unwilling to let her landlady go down into the cellar, and Mrs. Hallet finally leaves. She returns later and opens the cellar trapdoor over Rynn's objections. Upset by what she sees there, Mrs. Hallet attempts to flee, but in her haste she knocks down the support. The cellar door falls on her head, killing her.

    Attempting to remove evidence of Mrs. Hallet's visit, Rynn goes outside to drive her car away but cannot start it. This attracts the attention of Mario, a teenager passing by. Mario is the nephew of Officer Miglioriti, a village policeman who previously had given Rynn a ride home from town. Mario drives the car back to town, and Rynn rewards him with a dinner she prepares at her house.

    Later, Officer Miglioriti stops by and tells them Frank Hallet has reported his mother missing. The officer asks to see Rynn's father, but Mario covers for Rynn by saying her father has gone to bed. Later that night, Frank Hallet makes a surprise visit. Suspicious, and looking for answers about the whereabouts of his mother and Rynn's father, Frank tries to scare Rynn into talking, cruelly killing her pet hamster. Mario chases Frank away.

    Rynn now trusts Mario and confesses her actual situation. Rynn's terminally ill father and abusive mother divorced long ago. To protect Rynn from being returned to her mother's custody after his death, her father moved them to America and made arrangements to allow Rynn to live alone, then committed suicide in the ocean when the tides would carry his body out to sea. Her father also left Rynn a jar of potassium cyanide, telling her that it was a sedative to calm her mother if she ever came for her. Rynn coolly recounts how she put the powder in her mother's tea and watched her die.

    Trust between Rynn and Mario blossoms into romance. On a cold, rainy day, they bury the bodies behind Rynn's house, but Mario catches cold. Suspicious of Rynn's continued evasions regarding her father's absence, Officer Miglioriti returns to the house one night and demands to see her father. Mario disguises himself as an old man and introduces himself to Miglioriti as Rynn's father.

    Source : en.wikipedia.org

    My streaming gem: why you should watch The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane

    Continuing our series of writers picking out lesser-known gems available to stream is an ode to a murderous Jodie Foster thriller

    My streaming gem

    My streaming gem: why you should watch The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane

    Continuing our series of writers picking out lesser-known gems available to stream is an ode to a murderous Jodie Foster thriller

    Kelli Weston

    Mon 7 Feb 2022 06.16 GMT

    9 C

    inema’s murderous children are legion, but Jodie Foster’s Rynn Jacobs in 1976’s The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane often falls among the forgotten. It was understandable given the especially prolific year she was having: memorable performances in Bugsy Malone, Freaky Friday, Echoes of a Summer and, of course, the behemoth of child star breakthroughs Taxi Driver. In fact, Rynn, more than any other character, emerges in the shadow of the child prostitute Iris Steensma (the role that landed Foster her first Oscar nomination) and becomes as much a casualty as a rather complicated double, no less worth seeking out.

    My streaming gem: why you should watch Karnan

    Read more

    While there had already been Mervyn Leroy’s supremely successful The Bad Seed, The Innocents obviously, and even Mario Bava’s Kill, Baby … Kill! in the decades before, the 70s gave way to a fount of diabolical youngsters on screen. From The Exorcist to The Omen, the marked fascination with corrupted and, what’s more, grotesque innocents seemed to announce certain other prevailing anxieties about the future of the family as we then knew it. Already the Vietnam war had begun to haunt and transform a generation, and the sudden, prominent coverage of serial murders upended the presumed safety of the middle-class home.

    The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, directed by Nicholas Gessner, at once belongs and yet feels alien to this spate of films, preoccupied with all manner of sinister threats to the nuclear family, none more treacherous than their own children, who so doggedly resist authority. Even now, after the film has grasped something of cult status, its genre – for all the pointed giallo influence – remains considerably knotty to define: part horror, part psychological thriller, part exploitation, part teen romance.

    Based on the 1974 novel by Laird Koenig, who then wrote the screenplay, the film follows the mysterious Rynn, a 13-year-old orphan living alone in a small Maine town. She is continually beleaguered by a revolving door of meddlesome neighbors: the cop Ron Miglioriti (Mort Shuman), with whom Rynn later becomes chummy; her overbearing landlady Mrs Hallet (Alexis Smith); and, most troubling of all, Hallet’s son Frank (Martin Sheen), a known pedophile who has managed to elude jail thanks to his powerful mother and hounds Rynn with his relentless attentions. They are all naturally curious about the whereabouts of her father, always conveniently locked away in his study or sleeping upstairs. Hers is a poorly veiled ruse, delivered with such persuasiveness that she often manages to convince them, against their own better judgment. But her peace is ever endangered by their hovering presence; no matter how inept or unwitting, they perpetually imperil her safety.

    She does finally meet a peer in the form of Miglioriti’s charming teenage nephew Mario (Scott Jacoby), an aspiring magician whose earnestness melts the otherwise remote, steely Rynn. Although she is alone, she never quite seems lonely until Mario arrives. But her precarious situation promises to be their undoing.

    The film originally opened to middling reviews and some – it turns out, revealing – controversy. Foster clashed with a producer during filming over the late inclusion of a nude scene, eventually performed by her then 21-year-old sister. It’s a jarring moment in a film where much of the tension, and indeed horror, is bound up in her one glaring vulnerability: her startling youth. For her part, Foster gives a remarkably (if unsurprisingly) sophisticated performance, preserving a childlike candor amid a cold and obstinate willfulness. She commands every frame, betraying traces of the formidable actor she would yet become. There are few, if any, echoes of Iris in her portrayal, but Rynn (wealth, class and thus, worlds apart) ends up parroting her condition anyway – the ever preyed upon girl child – though the nude scene both undermines and personifies (as do some leering contemporary reviews) the film’s otherwise cogent missive: few things pose more harm to children than those tasked to protect them.

    Doubly chilling then is how feckless these adults often are, for all the damage they threaten to wreak. Sheen embodies this most determinedly as Frank, all the more frightening for his artless menace: a blundering ghoul merely seeking opportunity. Interestingly enough, at this point Sheen was best known for Terrence Malick’s Badlands, where he himself played a killer teen, albeit under different circumstances.

    Here, the children are less calculated than they are resourceful. The act of “playing” becomes their only defense against pestering grownups, constantly intruding upon the home. And so in some ways The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane deserves this environment, where its dynamic suspense truly thrives.

    The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane is available on Amazon Prime in the US and UK

    Source : www.theguardian.com

    The Controversial and Provocative Exploitation Thriller The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane

    A question you tangle with often as a fan of...

    The Controversial and Provocative Exploitation Thriller The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane

    September 26, 2019 By Cameron Maitland


    A question you tangle with often as a fan of unusual and controversial movies is “Why should anyone watch this?”

    This comes up especially with exploitation films – movies which by their nature are provocative and cross lines in an attempt to sell more tickets. To me, it’s the fact that these films often show stomach-turning realistic stories that other movies don’t dare put on screen and reveal some unique and interesting performances from their cast. A perfect example of this is seen in the little-known thriller that gave Jodie Foster one of her first lead roles, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976).

    If you’ve heard of this Canadian/French thriller at all, it’s likely for the controversy surrounding it, and it’s only fair to include that alongside any recommendations. Foster has mostly disowned the film due to a short and gratuitous nude scene that she felt pushed the exploitation too far. Foster, in her early teens at the time, was very obviously doubled by her much older sister which makes the nudity even more jarring and inconsistent within the otherwise grounded story. The scene though, unusual nudity aside, is one of the many aspects of a film that manages to use its exploitation status to explore themes of teenage sexuality, children’s rights and small town corruption in ways many mainstream films would be afraid to tackle. All these come together to give Foster a role that stretches her acting chops even further than Taxi Driver did in the same year.

    In the film Jodie Foster plays Rynn Jacobs, a young teen in small town Maine who finds herself beset upon by nosy neighbours seeking to upend her bohemian lifestyle as they become curious about her absent poet father. The worst of these interlopers comes in the form of Frank Hallet, played by a wonderfully repellent Martin Sheen, a known pedophile with powerful parents in town who begins to use Rynn’s father’s absence to menace her. The film’s plot is based heavily on a mystery, so to reveal too much more would spoil things. I’ll just say that there’s terror, stage magic, and a reason why Rynn seems so mature beyond her years.

    Both Martin Sheen and Jodie Foster had yet to have their career-defining roles, but both get a chance to flex their acting abilities tremendously in the film. Rynn is almost a polar opposite to Iris, the ingenue role in Taxi Driver which earned Foster her first Oscar nomination. Rynn is cold, determined and absolutely capable of taking care of herself. It takes other characters, even those on her side, a while to even begin to break her walls down. In Rynn, we see a surprising amount of the techniques and pathos Jodie Foster would use in her adult roles – aspects that are mostly absent from her films until the 80s. Her grounding of the character allows the film to explore many dark sides of childhood, and real danger children of the 70s faced, all while keeping the plotlines feeling uncomfortably close to home.

    Martin Sheen, mostly known at the time for his work in Terrence Malick’s Badlands, gets one of his first cracks at a truly slimy and terrifying villain. Martin Sheen had seen some of Foster’s work and was eager to act alongside her, and the film’s tension works partially because Sheen holds nothing back, treating his teenage co-star as an equal and pushing their conflict to its limits. The game of cat-and-mouse amongst its main characters becomes all the more thrilling when you can’t tell who is the cat and who is the mouse.

    Unlike traditional horror movies, exploitation thrillers toe the line of acceptability in terms of themes to mine for terror. The content warning for The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane is a mile long, ranging from the controversial nudity to unexpected things like simulated animal abuse but, if you’re willing to get your hands a little dirty, it’s a rewarding experience. The tackling of controversial and unusual subjects sometimes leads to groundbreaking performances and a fascinating showcase for some of Hollywood’s biggest actors before they were famous.

    Find the next playtimes for Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976) on Hollywood Suite.


    Source : hollywoodsuite.ca

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