Every so often you find a movie that you knew about but you didn’t know about. You saw the artwork for it when it was released, or you saw it in a video store when you were younger, but for some reason you never quite “sealed the deal” as far as seeing the film. Then you see it, and while it may not be the greatest film ever, it speaks to you in ways that few films do. Which, I guess if you think about, is what makes a great film in the first place, right? Lady in White is an intensely personal tale from Director Frank LaLoggia. Culled from childhood memories, and taking place around Halloween, this tale of young boy in a small town, trying to bring the killer of a dead girl to justice is truly a magical film. Yeah, it moves a bit slower then I think it should, and there are some scenes that could have been cut out, but so much of this film richly captures how I saw my childhood in Orange County, CA, especially around Halloween, that I feel almost compelled to add this wonderful movie to my DVD collection.
Audio Commentary and Introduction by Frank LaLoggia
This audio commentary is so rich and full of anecdotes that I wish Frank LaLoggia would take it and transcribe what he said into a book. I am being 100% serious when I say that. I am just a big champion of “personal” filmmaking, and the fact that he has chosen to tell a tale that is personal but also universal is something that really inspires me. Even his introduction to the film makes you root for him and the characters in the story he is telling.
Deleted Scenes, Behind the Scenes Footage, Photo Montage and Photo Gallery
There are a decent amount of deleted scenes that have been taken from VHS tapes. This really was a low budget production of the highest order, and as a result they didn’t have a gazillion people minding all the film’s assets. Some scenes have been cut because they slowed the story down, but a lot of the scenes are just longer versions of scenes that made it into the film in a shorter form. The “Behind the Scenes” footage was shot with a video camera and LaLoggia narrates over it. It gives this already personal movie, that much more of a personal touch. The “Photo Montage” and “Photo Gallery” are pictures taken from the movie and behind the scenes. They look like they have been kept up very well over the years.
Widescreen. 1.85:1. There is something about this movie that perfectly captures Halloween. Granted, it isn’t the be all, end all of Halloween movies, but it really reminded me of when I was in elementary school. The days would be overcast, the candy aplenty, the school carnival a mainstay (and always a good time) and the costumes were whatever topical costumes happened to be in style that year. It was a warm, fun, festive time and everything, like they talk about in Lady in White, seemed liked it would last forever.
Dolby Digital. English: 5.1 Surround. English, French and Spanish subtitles. This soundtrack feels Spielbergian, without telegraphing everything that is going to happen in this movie. It really adds a layer of depth to this film, and seems to very much capture the time in the film as well as the time in which the movie was made. Some people on the internet have made mention that this movie is definitely ‘80s, but what is wrong with that? I screened a lot of great movies in the 1980s. The audio on Lady in White reminded me of that.
Lukas Haas sits scared by a window. There is an ominous white glow coming into the room. I had always thought this movie looked too creepy, and I think that’s why I stayed away from it. That it took place in an attic or something and for some reason as a kid that turned me off. The back features 4 pictures from the movie (two of which they could have gotten rid off as I think they do this film a disservice), a description of the movie, an extras listing and some technical specs. I really liked this cover, even though I think it tries to make this film seem scarier than it is. With a PG-13 rating, it could have easily been marketed as a kids film, and unfortunately it wasn’t.
Watching Lukas Haas, I was reminded of why I thought he was such a good actor when I was a young boy. Maybe I feel a connection to him because we’re so close in age? Maybe I am very effected by movies, and the expression on his face in this film is one that clearly sums up how I felt as a young boy around Halloween. Everyone in this film is very good. From Lukas Haas as Frankie, to his father (brilliantly captured by Alex Rocco), to Katherine Helmond as the title character. As I said, I think this film could have been trimmed up a tad, but overall this movie really captures the warm feeling of Fall. When the leaves are changing colors, the Holiday season is upon us and things just feel a bit more special.
Quite simply, Lady in White is one of the best movies I have ever seen.
Lady in White was released April 22, 1988.