The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1977)

PG | 91-92 mins | Horror | 18 March 1977

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HISTORY


       On 3 Nov 1975, DV announced a co-production partnership between Braun and Carlo Ponti, beginning with three films, including The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, which was scheduled to begin principal photography 17 Nov 1975 in Canada and ME. News items in trade publications continued to cite Ponti as a co-producer throughout production; however, he is not credited onscreen. A 22 Oct 1975 DV article included Keir Dullea in the cast, but he does not appear in onscreen credits.
       A 1 Dec Box news item confirmed that principal photography began 17 Nov 1975. A 12 May 1976 Var article specified Montreal, Canada, as the production’s location, mistakenly referring to the film’s title as The Little Girl Who Lived Down the Lane. On 19 May 1976, Var noted that the film had completed production.
       An 11 Aug 1976 Var article stated that screenwriter Laird Koenig won a Writers Guild of America (WGA) arbitration giving him sole credit for the screenplay, which he adapted from his own novel. According to a spokesman for producer Zev Braun, another writer, Richard Lochte, also worked on the script, and Braun initially gave the men a shared credit, but Koenig objected.
       An 8 Mar 1977 Var article reported that Beachfront Properties had obtained a temporary restraining order claiming ownership of the film under a Sep 1976 contract. The order prohibited further sales but would not affect American International Pictures’ planned Apr 1977 release. According to documents in AMPAS library production files, the film opened in Albuquerque, NM, and Peoria, IL, 18 Mar 1977, for ... More Less


       On 3 Nov 1975, DV announced a co-production partnership between Braun and Carlo Ponti, beginning with three films, including The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, which was scheduled to begin principal photography 17 Nov 1975 in Canada and ME. News items in trade publications continued to cite Ponti as a co-producer throughout production; however, he is not credited onscreen. A 22 Oct 1975 DV article included Keir Dullea in the cast, but he does not appear in onscreen credits.
       A 1 Dec Box news item confirmed that principal photography began 17 Nov 1975. A 12 May 1976 Var article specified Montreal, Canada, as the production’s location, mistakenly referring to the film’s title as The Little Girl Who Lived Down the Lane. On 19 May 1976, Var noted that the film had completed production.
       An 11 Aug 1976 Var article stated that screenwriter Laird Koenig won a Writers Guild of America (WGA) arbitration giving him sole credit for the screenplay, which he adapted from his own novel. According to a spokesman for producer Zev Braun, another writer, Richard Lochte, also worked on the script, and Braun initially gave the men a shared credit, but Koenig objected.
       An 8 Mar 1977 Var article reported that Beachfront Properties had obtained a temporary restraining order claiming ownership of the film under a Sep 1976 contract. The order prohibited further sales but would not affect American International Pictures’ planned Apr 1977 release. According to documents in AMPAS library production files, the film opened in Albuquerque, NM, and Peoria, IL, 18 Mar 1977, for a test run.
       The film received favorable reception at the Cannes Film Festival in France, according to a 7 Jun 1976 DV article, and opened to mostly positive reviews in 1977. The 13 -- 19 May 1977 Los Angeles Free Press claimed that star thirteen-year-old star Jodie Foster is “astonishingly accomplished and sophisticated.”
       A stage version by Koenig was published by Dramatists Play Service in 1997.
      A 9 May 1977 HR news item reported that the film may have been one of first to carry an anti-piracy disclaimer. The following written statement appears in the end credits: “This motion picture is protected under laws of the United States and other countries. Unauthorized duplication or exhibition may result in civil liability and criminal prosecution.”

              End credits include the following onscreen production qualifier: “An official Canadian-French co-production between I.C.L. Industries Limited (Canada) and La Societe Filmel (France) 1975 in association with Ypsilon Films SA.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Dec 1975.
---
Box Office
23 May 1977.
---
Daily Variety
22 Oct 1975.
---
Daily Variety
3 Nov 1975.
---
Daily Variety
7 Jun 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 May 1977
p. 3, 18.
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 1977.
---
LAHExam
11 May 1977.
---
Los Angeles Free Press
13 May -- 19 May 1977.
---
Los Angeles Times
10 May 1977
p. 7.
Motion Picture Production Digest
8 Jun 1977.
---
New York
29 Aug 1977
p. 61.
New York Times
11 Aug 1977
p. 16.
Time
29 Aug 1977.
---
Variety
11 Aug 1976
p. 30.
Variety
12 May 1976
p. 72.
Variety
9 Mar 1977
p. 7.
Variety
16 Mar 1977
p. 22.
Variety
15 Jun 1977
p. 7.
Village Voice
29 Aug 1977
p. 45.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Zev Braun Productions Presents
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Co-prod
Co-prod
Co-prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Stillman
2d elec
Key grip
2d grip
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Set builder
Carpenter
Prop master
COSTUMES
Ward asst
Miss Smith's ward
MUSIC
Mus supv
Orig score
Mus publisher
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Make-up
Hairdresser
Miss Smith's hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Creative consultant
Loc mgr
Asst to the prods
Continuity
Prod secy
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Financial adv
Prod exec
Prod exec
Prod accountant
Equip and audio
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane by Laird Koenig (New York, 1973).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
"Piano Concerto No. 1 In E Minor By Frédéric Chopin, Claudio Arrau, piano, London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Eliahu Inbal.
DETAILS
Release Date:
18 March 1977
Premiere Information:
Albuquerque, NM and Peoria, IL openings: 18 March 1977
Los Angeles opening: 11 May 1977
New York opening: 10 August 1977
Production Date:
17 November 1975––mid May 1976 Montreal, Canada, ME
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Widescreen/ratio
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
91-92
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
France, Canada, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On Halloween night in a coastal New England town, thirteen-year-old Rynn Jacobs celebrates her birthday alone in the rented house she purportedly shares with her father, Lester, a poet. Rynn receives a visit from a neighbor, Frank Hallet, who enters the house uninvited. Newly arrived from England, Rynn and her father have leased the house from Frank’s mother, Cora Hallet, a real estate agent. When Frank inquires about Lester, Rynn claims he is in his study working and cannot be disturbed. Frank tells Rynn she is pretty and makes sexually suggestive comments before leaving. The following day, Rynn goes to the bank and cashes travelers checks. Later, Frank’s mother, Mrs. Hallet, drops in on Rynn and demands to see Lester, but Rynn claims her father is in New York City having lunch with his publisher. Mrs. Hallet asks if Frank has been to the house and cautions Rynn not to let him inside the next time. Mrs. Hallet thinks Rynn is rude and wonders why she is not in school; warning the girl that she is on the school board. Before leaving, Mrs. Hallet asks for some jelly jars that are stored in the cellar, but Rynn refuses to grant her access. The following day, Rynn takes the bus into town to learn the date of the next school board meeting. Afterward, she declines Frank’s offer of a ride home, but tells Frank that her father would like to speak with Mrs. Hallet. A police car pulls up and Frank retreats into a restaurant. Officer Ron Miglioriti asks Rynn if Frank was bothering her and escorts her home. After reporting that Lester is busy and cannot be disturbed, Rynn ... +


On Halloween night in a coastal New England town, thirteen-year-old Rynn Jacobs celebrates her birthday alone in the rented house she purportedly shares with her father, Lester, a poet. Rynn receives a visit from a neighbor, Frank Hallet, who enters the house uninvited. Newly arrived from England, Rynn and her father have leased the house from Frank’s mother, Cora Hallet, a real estate agent. When Frank inquires about Lester, Rynn claims he is in his study working and cannot be disturbed. Frank tells Rynn she is pretty and makes sexually suggestive comments before leaving. The following day, Rynn goes to the bank and cashes travelers checks. Later, Frank’s mother, Mrs. Hallet, drops in on Rynn and demands to see Lester, but Rynn claims her father is in New York City having lunch with his publisher. Mrs. Hallet asks if Frank has been to the house and cautions Rynn not to let him inside the next time. Mrs. Hallet thinks Rynn is rude and wonders why she is not in school; warning the girl that she is on the school board. Before leaving, Mrs. Hallet asks for some jelly jars that are stored in the cellar, but Rynn refuses to grant her access. The following day, Rynn takes the bus into town to learn the date of the next school board meeting. Afterward, she declines Frank’s offer of a ride home, but tells Frank that her father would like to speak with Mrs. Hallet. A police car pulls up and Frank retreats into a restaurant. Officer Ron Miglioriti asks Rynn if Frank was bothering her and escorts her home. After reporting that Lester is busy and cannot be disturbed, Rynn suggests to Officer Miglioriti that Frank is a pedophile and he confirms her theory. She buys two tickets for a police raffle and Miglioriti departs. A short time later, Mrs. Hallet returns and insists on seeing Rynn’s father, announcing the girl and her father must find other living arrangements, but Rynn argues that they have a three-year lease. She taunts the older woman about Frank’s predilection for young girls and Mrs Hallet slaps her. Rynn hands over the jelly jars and asks Mrs. Hallet to leave, but the woman insists the jars are useless without their rubber seals, so she lifts the trap door to the cellar to retrieve them. Downstairs, Mrs. Hallet screams and the door strikes her on the head, killing her. Rynn covers the trap door, tidies the house, and attempts to move Mrs. Hallet’s Bentley automobile, but it will not start. A teenage neighbor, Mario Podesta, rides his bicycle to a children’s birthday party, where he will perform as a magician, but stops with curiosity at seeing Rynn with Mrs. Hallet’s car. Mario, who has a prominent limp, tells Rynn that his father is a mechanic and owns a service station. Later that night, Mario returns and Rynn cooks him dinner in gratitude for taking the Bentley to Mrs. Hallet’s office. Mario explains that he is crippled because his parents lost track of which of their children had polio shots. In return for the confession, he wants to know why Rynn had him move the car, but she deflects his questions. Mario’s uncle, Officer Miglioriti, arrives to inform them that Frank has reported his mother missing. Mario protects Rynn, claiming that he met her father, Lester, that night, but he says that Lester retired for the evening. Satisfied, Officer Miglioriti leaves, warning the teens not to do anything he would not do. Shortly thereafter, Frank arrives and demands to see Rynn’s father. He grabs Rynn’s pet hamster and burns it with a cigarette before throwing it in the fireplace. Frank tries to intimidate Mario, but the boy wields a knife and chases Frank away. Rynn closes the curtains and leads Mario to the cellar. Afterward, he is shaken and wants to know long Rynn’s mother has been there. Rynn relates her story: she was living in England with her father when they found out he was dying. They came to the U.S. to keep Rynn away from her mother, making plans for Rynn’s well being after he was dead. Lester paid three years rent on the house and stocked a bank safe deposit box with travelers checks. He counseled her to make herself very small in the world to avoid notice. One Sunday night, he said goodbye and walked into the sea. He had studied the tides so that his body would never be found. A short time later, Rynn’s mother showed up at the house. Lester had given Rynn a white powder and said she was to put it in her mother’s tea if she ever resurfaced as it would calm her. After giving the potion to her mother, Rynn realized it was potassium cyanide, a poison with a bitter almond odor. When Rynn finishes the story, Mario tells her they should not speak on the telephone because someone might be listening. Days pass and Mario helps Rynn bury the bodies beside the house in the pouring rain. Mario is chilled and Rynn draws a bath for him. To help Mario get warm, Rynn climbs under a blanket with him in front of the fire. They make love and Mario goes home to have dinner with his family, with a promise to return. Later, Officer Miglioriti checks in on Rynn and tells her that he does not believe what she has been saying about her father. Rynn insists that he is upstairs, and Mario, wearing makeup, impersonates Lester, fooling his uncle. The following day, Officer Miglioriti returns, tells Rynn that Mario is in the hospital with pneumonia, and takes her to visit him. Realizing how much she needs Mario, Rynn understands that her father had been wrong about her ability to live on her own. Rynn eats dinner alone in a restaurant and returns home on the bus. After she goes to bed, she is awakened by the sound of the trapdoor slamming downstairs. Wearing Mario’s magician hat and cape, Frank emerges and confronts Rynn, explaining that he found a hairpin belonging to his mother and a red fingernail belonging to Rynn’s mother in the cellar. Frank insinuates that if Rynn becomes his lover, he will not reveal her secret and she can go on living as she has. Rynn serves Frank tea and cookies, but he is suspicious and asks that they switch cups. Rynn complies and he comments that the tea tastes like almonds. Rynn suggests that it must be the almond cookies and Frank begins to cough and choke as the poison takes effect. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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