Allan King's Dramatic Films

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Running Away Backwards Photo

Running Away Backwards (1964)

Allan King: director and producer

57 minutes

A film about four Canadians who have moved to Italy to escape Canada and find "moral freedom". The two central characters Jake and Dick are complete opposites of each other. Jake has lived in Italy for a while, but Dick and his wife have just arrived. They are both writers, but Jake has embraced Italy and Dick just wants to return to Canada. The film ends with Jake returning to Canada because he believes that he has learned all he can in Italy, while Dick stays to learn more about himself.

"We were shooting an essentially dramatic film without seeing any of the rushes. . . It was a rather uncanny situation in which the scriptwriter wrote the script based on these two guys and then handed it over to them." -Allan King

QuickTime LogoQuickTime Clip: An old Italian talks of expatriates

Bjorn's Inferno Photo

Bjorn's Inferno (1964)

Allan King: director and producer

52 minutes

This film is an offbeat examination of 1960's big city culture. Due to financial constraints, an independent family man is forced to look for a stable, well-paying office job. Out of this event comes a surrealistic dialogue between the protagonist and a curious satanic character. The topics of debate center on capitalism, consumerism, and the corporate social structure.

QuickTime LogoQuickTime Clip: Taking the elevator

Mortimer Griffin Photo

Mortimer Griffin, Shalinsky, and How They Settled The Jewish Question (1971)

Allan King: director

24 minutes

When professor Mortimer Griffin agrees to write a review for Shalinsky's magazine, 'Jewish Thought,' he finds himself in an identity crisis. Shalinsky persistently asserts that Griffin is actually a Jew, who, in response, tries to prove that he is a Protestant Anglo-Saxon. His attempts to prove his non-Jewish background are misinterpreted by others as anti-Semitism. Between those who believe him to be Jewish and those who see him as anti-Semitic, Griffin's professional and private lives crumble.

Can I count you in? Photo

Can I Count You In? (1972)

QuickTime LogoQuickTime Clip: The young mother is asked to play bridge

Delilah photo

Delilah (1972)

Allan King: director

25 minutes

After her father dies, Delilah returns to the small town where she grew up, to support her younger brother. Delilah's father left the family barber shop to her brother, and since she must find work she decides to become a barber. The idea of a female barber causes an uproar in the town, but she sticks to it and in the end the town pitches in to help send her to a school where she can learn how to really cut hair.

A Bird in the House Photo

A Bird In the House (1973)

The story, by Canadian author Margaret Laurence, is set in a small Canadian town in the 1930s. It deals with the interaction between a husband, wife, the husband's mother, and the very religious hired girl, as seen through the eyes of Vanessa, the young daughter. The husband has to deal with his guilt over surviving the war when his younger brother was killed. As well, the husband and wife have to deal with taking care of the mother who is not willing to admit to the fact that the family is no longer well off. The film ends with the father, who is a doctor, dying of the flu and the family having to move away. The title comes from the old superstition stated by the hired girl that a "bird in the house means a death in the house."

QuickTime LogoQuickTime Clip: Vanessa attacks the hired girl

Pity the poor Piper photo

Pity the Poor Piper (1974)

Allan King: director

25 minutes

A short drama in which a young writer Richard is invited to spend the weekend with Calvin Authur. Mr. Authur is a well-known writer who promised to help Richard with the play he is writing. However, when Richard gets there Mr. Authur reads his play and dismisses it as garbage. Later that evening Mr. Authur appears to make a pass at Richard, but quickly dismisses it as an experiment when Richard does not accept the advances.

Baptizing photo

Baptizing (1974)

Allan King: director

60 minutes

Del Jordan is a brainy high school senior, outcast by societal, parental and peer pressures. Her mother expects her to win a scholarship to university and move away from their small town; meanwhile, friends try to convince her to find a wealthy man and prepare for family life. Mixed up in her own conflicting desires, she finds herself caught between the high school genius and the born again Christian mill worker, trying to figure out where she fits in the world.

QuickTime LogoQuickTime Clip: Del with her family

Maria Photo

Red Emma (1976)

A film based on the early life of Emma Goldman, an anarchist who lived in New York. Through a mix of drama and musical numbers, the film shows Emma's love and hate, both for the men she worked with and the cause she was fighting for.

Maria (1977)

46 minutes

Maria is an Italian-Canadian woman who tries to start a union in the clothing factory where she works. The film deals with the pressure Maria feels from family, the factory owners, the other workers and herself. In the end, due to being threatened and bought off by the owners, the workers vote against the union, but the women begin to plan for the next time.

QuickTime LogoQuickTime Clip: Maria defends a co-worker from the new foreman

One Night Stand Photo

One Night Stand (1977)

Allan King: director and producer

55 minutes

In this dark drama, Daisy gets more than she bargains for when she picks up Rafe at a bar on her birthday. After taking him home, she finds he's more interested in talking than getting down to business. Out of this dialogue comes evidence of Rafe's dark and deceptive past. Daisy then must determine which of this charming character's lies to believe and whether she is safe with him or in danger.

Ready for Slaughter Photo

Ready for Slaughter (1983)

Allan King: director

55 minutes

The film is a sympathetic story of farmers struggling to keep their farms as the bank tries to foreclose. It centres upon one family as they are forced to sell off most of their cattle in order to buy the corn seed to plant. The older bank manager is shown as being very weak, and the younger loan officer insensitive and ignorant of the plight of the farmers. However, the film is not naive. It shows the tension in the farm community as people disagree about what to do and how to do it. In the end the family is able to keep their farm, not because they have totally paid off their debts but because they are given a 60-day extension on their payments.

QuickTime LogoQuickTime Clip: Masked men deposit a calf at the bank.

Tucker and the horse Thief Photo

Tucker and the Horse Thief (1985)

Allan King: director

50 minutes

This film is a coming of age story set during the California gold rush. Tucker, a girl dressed up as a boy, befriends Sol, the Jewish son of the general store owner, despite her father's disapproval. When Sol discovers Tucker's true identity, however, their friendship is put to the test. Only then does Sol discover that their relationship extends beyond the context of brotherly camaraderie.