Jean-Marie Pallardy (director)
25 May 2020 (released)
23 May 2020
In the very interesting interview with director Jean-Marie Palladry in the extras section of the White Fire Blu-ray he’s frank about having directed hard and soft porn. The evidence of the softer side of his work is obvious in some scenes in which Ingrid (Belinda Maybe) swims and showers nude. They are gratuitous and purely for titillation and not balanced up by the actor giving as good as she gets in the punch-ups during the film. This, the stodgy dialogue, dubbing, stilted fights scenes seal the film in a celluloid amber of scuzzy 1980’s exploitation.
A family being chased by soldiers opens the film with mother and father being murdered with only brother and sister (Ingrid and Bo) surviving. Shifting forward 30 years to Turkey Ingrid is now working in a diamond mine from which she is stealing the gems and with her brother Bo (Robert Ginty) selling them on. A deal goes off-piste when another player Sofia (Mirella Banti) wants to get in on the action as a client with Inga and Bo doing the dirty work. In the meantime a miner finds the fabled White Fire diamond (which is radioactive) he inadvertantly alerts the villains and is murdered for his trouble
Tragedy strikes the thieves though an opportunity presents itself and you don’t need to be watching to closely to pick up that this presents an icky and perverse silver lining for Bo. However his plans are disrupted by the arrival of Noah (Fred Williamson) who is searching for a missing prostitute who in her pursuit gets caught up with the quest for the White Fire
White Fire is not bad per-se as for all the ludicrous elements of the plot there’s a passable film here albeit quite a trashy one. The main problem is the languid pacing which makes it feel a lot longer than its modest running time and feels padded. It’s accompanied by a vaguely proggy score which was overseen by musical director Jon Lord. Though he’s not responsible for the theme song (that’s Limelight) which some may well develop a Pavlovian response to its played so often.
The loose direction is obvious when viewers spot non-actors stroll past the actors in the middle of a fight on the docks. It also gives it a lumpier vibe whereas the bright locations invite a breezy zippier ambience that the excellent transfer just cries out for. The actors meanwhile don’t appear to be particularly challenged by their roles other than Fred Williamson who is positively revelling in his.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
• High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentation
• Original Mono audio
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• Feature length audio commentary by critic Kat Ellinger
• Surviving The Fire: a brand new interview with writer-director Jean-Marie Pallardy
• Enter The Hammer: a brand new interview with actor Fred Williamson
• Diamond Cutter: a brand new interview with editor Bruno Zincone
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collectors' booklet featuring new writing on the film by film historian and author Julian Grainger