The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976)

Feature Film | Mystery | Canada/France | English | 1h40m
Dir: Nicolas Gessner | Scr: Laird Koenig | Novel: Laird Koenig | Ph: René Verzier | Prod: Zev Braun | Mus: Christian Gaubert | Ed: Yves Langlois | AD: Robert Prévost | Snd: Marcel Pothier | Cast: Jodie Foster, Martin Sheen, Alexis Smith, Mort Shuman, Scott Jacoby

In Gessner’s creepy little mystery, a fiercely independent and highly intelligent 13-year-old girl – who claims to be living with her poet father, but appears to be living alone – catches the attention of the town’s resident child molester, his bigoted busybody mother, a kindly police officer, and a clubfooted aspiring magician. All wish to get to the bottom of the enigma that is this little girl, but few manage to do so without putting their own lives in danger. Good performances, particularly from the ridiculously precocious Foster, drive Koenig’s straightforward yet unpredictable narrative. Gessner’s quietly effective direction and Verzier’s muted photography also capture the tone well. However, Gaubert’s eclectic score never quite feels right.