Wedding in White

Director: William Fruet

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Carol Kane's first starring role, after a couple supporting roles the year prior, was in the Canadian production Wedding in White (1972). She plays Jeannie, age sixteen, an angelic innocent beauty born into an ugly lower class household in Ontario. She is destined to have her naive view of reality altered with horrific severity.

Wedding in WhiteThe second world war is still on. Jeanne's brother Jimmy (Paul Bradley) comes home on leave & brings with him his buddy Billy (Doug McGrath).

Jimmy has brought Jeanne a gimcrack broach which, with her sweet view of the world, is a glorious gift from a loving brother. That it later is being worn by her envious "best" friend is just the kind of luck Jeanne lives with uncomplainingly.

We're given several scenes of abject innocence for Jeanne, who sees everything with rose-tinted glasses so as not to recognize her parents as horrors, her best friend Sarah (Christine Thomas) no friend at all, & life in general a complete hell hole which she persists in viewing as perfectly fine family life.

But when Billy rapes her at knifepoint while a family of drunkards sleeps the sleep of the dead, her glowy persona is on its first step downward into despair. She tells no one, seems not at all certain that what has been done to her was wrong, as she just might be a little slow-witted atop all else.

Three months later she's discovered to be pregnant. No one really cares that she was raped. To her father (Donald Pleasance in what has got to be the most disgusting role of his career), rape is no different from seduction, & if it happens to you at sixteen, it's because you're a whore.

Her mother (Doris Petrie) gives her only the slightest support & when later she tries to do better for her daughter, she's just not capable. Her mother's revelation of having been raped at sixteen by her future husband Dougan, who was too drunk to have had any memory of it, Jeanne has in essence discovered herself to be the child of a rapist as well as the victim of one.

In this world of drunken louts, even a grandfatherly figure who she's known since tothood, her dad's best friend Sandy (Leo Phillips), turns out to be a lecherous devil. And when he offers to marry the child so her baby won't be a bastard, dad is thrilled no end, for in his mind, this will completely absolve the family of any social stigma, & mom thinks it's all right too.

Wedding in WhiteSandy the old lecher has had a many-years relationship with Dolly (Bonnie Carol Case), crippled from abuse by her late husband.

Dolly had formerly acted as a grandmotherly protector to Jeanne, keeping Sandy off her when he'd been drinking. But now she's convinced Jeanne is indeed a whore using her youthful wiles to trap Sandy.

Married off to the horny old sot, the nightmarishly repellant fate of this naive submissive girl leaves the viewer feeling vomitous. It is not at all a rewarding film to see. It assumes the poor or lower working classes are pure shit with barely any humanity to them, & if an exception is born into their sphere, they'll destroy her.

This attitude that all poor people are evil germs renders Wedding in White an ignorant, bigotted story. There's just no such thing as family love, & not one decent soul in the whole social class, not even Jeanne really since she wouldn't've been such a naive angel if she weren't half a retard.

The writer-director had one day seen an old man with a teenage mother & began fantasizing they were married & came up with the whole script as his personal fantasy of how such a thing would come about. For Carol Kane it was a chance to really act, it's true, but she has precious little suport from the rest of the cast, who at their best are merely adequate, playing shallow bizarro-world stereotypes of urban hillbillies.

For Donald Pleasance it was only a chance to drool & overact while affecting a thick phony accent that makes his dialogue all but indecipherable. Not that it doesn't matter, he's only projecting the one-note character of "proud imbecile."

It's frankly a bad movie, but with with good cinematography to keep it from looking made-for-tv. It manages to trump up that independent-cinema air of significance such as will successfully snooker some happy viewers, but it didn't fool me.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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