McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13The Civil War 25th Commemorative Edition DVD & Blu-ray Oct 13Aquarius: The Complete First Season DVD & Blu-ray Sep 15Justified: The Complete Series on Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13The Surface on DVD, VOD, and DIGITAL HD Sep 1

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Adele's '25' Official First Week U.S. Sales: 3.38 Milli...
Adele announces first tour since 2011 for album "25" ...
Kathie Lee Gifford's Family Reveals Her Late Husband Fr...
American Music Awards 2015: Proximity to action matters...
Brad Pitt Says He's 'Angry' at the Finance Industry Aft...
Adele Speaks Exclusively on New Music:'The Most Poignan...
'The Walking Dead' reveals Glenn's fate ...
Adele Performs on Saturday Night Live: Video ...
Blacklisted: The Inside Story of Dalton Trumbo and the ...
Ryan Seacrest Confirms All American Idol Judges Will Re...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

MGM Studios DVD presents
The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976)

"It must be the cookies."
- Rynn (Jodie Foster)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer  
Published: October 19, 2005

Stars: Jodie Foster, Martin Sheen, Alexis Smith
Other Stars: Mort Shuman, Scott Jacoby
Director: Nicholas Gessner

MPAA Rating: PG for (brief nudity, language, animal cruelty, thematic elements)
Run Time: 01h:32m:13s
Release Date: October 04, 2005
UPC: 027616921864
Genre: suspense thriller

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

1976 would be a banner year for Jodie Foster. While still working the Disney circuit with Freaky Friday, the young actress would turn in a number of more mature and daring performances that clearly demonstrated her star potential, including her Oscar-nominated part in Taxi Driver, and the starring role in Nicholas Gessner's The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, based on the novel by Laird Koenig, who also wrote the screenplay. I discovered this film as a young man, and it had an immediate and lasting impact, but it would take years before the reasons for this reaction would finally make sense. Like child prostitution in Taxi Driver or rape in her much later work, The Accused, for its time, the subject of child molestation was far from the public consciousness, and this underlying theme adds to the creepiness of this film, which was well ahead of its time in many other regards as well.

Foster plays 13-year-old Rynn, a young girl who recently moved into a house leased by her father, a famous poet, in a quiet seaside town. Rynn is mature beyond her years, with a taste for the more cultured elements in life, but trouble starts when on Halloween she gets a visit from the landlady's (Alexis Smith) adult son, Frank Hallet (Martin Sheen), who has a reputation for having more than a casual interest in pretty young girls. When his mother learns of his visit, she is incensed, and her temperment isn't soothed by the confrontational Rynn, who objects to Mrs. Hallet's disregard for her privacy. Trying to assert her authority, Mrs. Hallet sets out to make life difficult for Rynn, but learns all too soon that she is no match for this quick-witted girl. Rynn's distrust of adults is well-founded, but when Mario (Scott Jacoby), a boy crippled by polio, arrives, Rynn's insulated shell begins to dissipate. The two become complicit, trying to defend themselves from Frank's continued advances, and the querying of local police officer (and Mario's uncle) Miglioriti (Mort Shuman).

Although there are a number of shocking revelations, it is misleading to bill this as a horror film, although it quite common is referred to as such. The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane is a suspenseful thriller, but fairly low-key even at that, and what horror elements may exist are tame by today's standards. It is the subtext that creates an unforgettable atmosphere. The mystery surrounding Rynn and her father is unveiled as things progress, and where the disturbing nature lies is in the cat-and-mouse game between the pedophile and his intended prey.

Foster is commanding, her character, exuding her independence, is always one step ahead of the adults, yet there is a frailty that surfaces in the company of Mario. Their relationship also pushed boundaries for its day, made even more pronounced in this version. Sheen plays the slimeball quite convincingly, as does Smith as the snooping landlady who plays a central role in the story. It is not a perfect film, as there are a few events that defy credulity, but it remains a unique and haunting work, highlighted by Foster's performance. Both she and Sheen received Saturn Awards from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films for best actress and actor respectively, while the movie also took a Saturn for best horror film and nods to Gessner and Koenig for their contributions.

For those who have been seeking this film out over the years only to find cropped versions of the US cut, MGM has finally provided the longer European version, which adds two brief scenes apparently deemed unsuitable for North American audiences. Love it or hate it, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane will leave in indellible impression.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Presented in its first widescreen transfer on home video, MGM has delivered a gorgeous anamorphic transfer. Colors are well saturated, blacks are solid, and film defects are next to nonexistent. Grain is naturally rendered, the image is clear and detailed without being artificially sharp. After decades of cropped, blurry transfers, this is a real treat.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: Mono audio is solid, with no technical deficiencies to speak of. Some of the looping isn't entirely in sync, but this appears original. Dialogue is easy to discern, and there is no hiss or distortion worth mentioning.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Secret Window, Kingdom Hospital
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The only unfortunate thing about this release is the complete lack of feature-related extras, other than a couple of trailers for Secret Window and Kingdom Hospital.

Although the front cover art is fairly deceptive to the mood of the film, I will give MGM credit for using at least some of the original promotional design elements for the back cover and disc face, including a set of stills found on the theatrical lobby cards.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane remains a unique installment in Jodie Foster's long and brilliant career. Not only do fans finally get a great anamorphic widescreen transfer, but MGM also delivers by releasing the previously unavailable European cut for the first time in North America. Recommended.


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


music, adele, 25, 3.38 million copies, nsync, no strings attached, 21, tour europe, spotify, apple music, pandora music inc., television, frank gifford, nfl hall of famer, sportscaster, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, kathy lee gifford, american music awards, talor swift, one direction, jennifer lopez, selena gomez, nicki minaj, justin bieber, movie, the big short, steve carell, ryan gosling, christian bale, michael lewis, brad pitt, hello, 19, the walking dead, amc, davod alpert, glen, heads up, saturday night live, 25 album, skyfall, nrj awards, graham norton, herbert biberman, john howard lawson, lester cole, ring lardner jr., samuel ornitz, adrian scott, albert maltz, alvah bessie, edward dmytryk, dalton trumbo, reality, american idol, ryan seacrest, mariah carey, ellen degeneres, harry connick jr., keith urban, simon cowell, paula abdul, randy jackson, steven tyler, kara dioguardi, televison, fargo, fx, kirsten dunst, jesse plemons, jean smart, jeffrey donovan, bokeem woodbine, brad garrett, patrick wilson, celebrity, bruce willis, laurie metcalf, misery, broadway debut, paris tragedy, u2, foo fighters, steven spielberg, natalie portman, book, the diary of anne frank, otto frank, swiss foundation, daytime talk, 2000 shows, justin timberlake, jennifer aniston, sequel, animated, finding nemo, finding dory, disney-pixar, diane keaton, eugene levy, inventor, hedy lamarr, google doodle, ecstasy, samson and delilah, bbc music, angelina jolie pitt, by the sea, troubled marriage, mr. & mrs. smith, gwen stefani blake shelton, country music awards, the voice, miranda lambert, jon stewart, john oliver, hbo, wonder woman, nicole kidman, amazonian warrior, gal gadot, chris pine, nick lachey, 98 degrees, pot grower, ohio, nanette lepore, oscar robertson, frostee rucker, the red bulletin, james bond, daniel craig, naomi harris, bond girl, a. o. scott, 1977, star wars, elvis, beatles, sesame street, j.k. rowling, israel, palestine, culture for coexistence, harry potter and the deathly hallows, ricky gergais, 2016 golden globes, hollywood foreign press association, jessica biel, 2015 fashion group international night of stars gala, flip phone, the power of love, huey lewis, michael j. fox, back to the future

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store