It was a co-production of Canada and France and written by Laird Koenig , based on his novel of the same title. The plot focuses on year-old Rynn Jacobs Foster , a child whose absent poet father and secretive behaviours prod the suspicions of her conservative small-town Maine neighbours. The adaptation, originally intended as a play, was filmed in Quebec on a small budget. The production later became the subject of controversy over reports that Foster had conflicts with producers over the filming and inclusion of a nude scene, though a body double had been utilized. After a screening at the Cannes Film Festival , a court challenge was launched regarding distribution, and a general release followed in
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This comes up especially with exploitation films — movies which by their nature are provocative and cross lines in an attempt to sell more tickets. Foster has mostly disowned the film due to a short and gratuitous nude scene that she felt pushed the exploitation too far. Foster, in her early teens at the time, was very obviously doubled by her much older sister which makes the nudity even more jarring and inconsistent within the otherwise grounded story. All these come together to give Foster a role that stretches her acting chops even further than Taxi Driver did in the same year. In the film Jodie Foster plays Rynn Jacobs, a young teen in small town Maine who finds herself beset upon by nosy neighbours seeking to upend her bohemian lifestyle as they become curious about her absent poet father.
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The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane is one of the great thrillers of the '70s, yet it wasn't always recognized as such. Scheuer's Movies on TV dismissed it as sick trash. As the years passed, their judgments skyrocketed.
The movie opens with Rynn lighting candles on her birthday cake, alone in her living room. The doorbell rings. She lights a cigarette, blows smoke around the room, and lets in Frank Hallet Martin Sheen , out trick-or-treating with his two little kids on Halloween. Martin Sheen has never been oilier. Foster is a preternaturally good kid actor. She plays Rynn as a brilliant loner, home-schooled by her father, taught to trust no one. Her mother took off when she was three.