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The Films of Samuel Fuller


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I plan to watch most of his filmography in the coming months. He made great pulpy and gritty films that can't fail to grab you. I've also been reading his autobiography and I can say that he lead one of the most fascinating lives of the twentieth century.


So far I'd rank his works in this order:


1) *Pickup on South Street*

2) *Park Row*

3) *Forty Guns*

4) *The Naked Kiss*

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It is difficult for me to rank his films as a whole because even the worst among them has some virtues, and the best are among the greatest films made.


_Film Noir_


1. *Pickup on South Street*

2. *The Crimson Kimono*

3. *Underworld USA*

4. *The House of Bamboo*




1. *Fixed Bayonets*

2. *The Steel Helmet*

3. *China Gate*

4. *Verboten!*

5. *The Big Red One*

6. *Merrill's Marauders*

7. *Hell and High Water*


_Social Criticism_


1. *Shock Corridor* (tie)

1. *The Naked Kiss* (tie)

3. *White Dog*

4. *Park Row*

5. *Shark!*




1. *Forty Guns*

2. *I Shot Jesse James*

3. *The Baron of Arizona*


There are a few films I need to see, but other than *Run of the Arrow*, I think the main ones are covered. *Shark!* was not as bad as I expected, and *Hell and High Water* was a disappointment given that it has Richard Widmark and immediately followed my favorite, *Pickup on South Street*. *Shock Corridor* and *The Naked Kiss* could easily be categorized as film noir, but I wanted to avoid having them compete with *Pickup on South Street*. And, of course, each of his films is "Social Criticism", but I decided to nitpick.

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Thanks for that "genre" listing of your favorite Fuller flicks, ChiO. I greatly respect your opinion, especially when it comes to Fuller, so I'm going to use your lists as a guide. I'm terribly excited to see that TCM will be showing The Crimson Kimono in June.

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  • 1 month later...

Isn't White Dog about this canine that's owned by a racist bigot, and it's trained to attack black people? I remember when it originally came out. I think the special effects are rather gory in this...shudder. Don't know if I'm up to it.

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  • 2 months later...

> {quote:title=Meanie220 wrote:}{quote}

> Isn't White Dog about this canine that's owned by a racist bigot, and it's trained to attack black people? I remember when it originally came out. I think the special effects are rather gory in this...shudder. Don't know if I'm up to it.


Not exactly. An actress finds the white dog and adopts it without realizing it's been trained to attack African-Americans; she then takes it to a dog trainer to retrain him so he won't attack people because of the colour of their skin.


I don't remember the movie being all that gory, but in any event it's a hard movie to find because it has never been released in video in North America. I believe it showed at the NYC Film Forum a while back as part of an Ennio Morricone retrospective.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Darvi was made up combining parts of Darryl and his wife's name, Virginia....and she was very close to both. I still enjoy The Racers and The Egyptian, despite thinking who could have played her parts..Marilyn wanted desperately to play Nefer Nefer (i think that's the name) in The Egyptian.

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I saw a less than pristine copy of *Run of the Arrow* (1956) a couple of days ago. The rhythm was much slower than many of his films, but the message had Fuller's usual in-your-face boldness. It follows the protagonist's journey to find his Self, which takes him from being a lonely Confederate soldier who fires the last shot of the Civil War, to abandoning his family and hometown (Where's your pride, Ma? Where's your pride?), to trying to become a Sioux, to returning to the White Man's world. With Rod Steiger, Ralph Meeker, Jay C. Flippen and Charles Bronson.


According to Fuller (who produced, wrote and directed), Raoul Walsh and Mervyn LeRoy wanted to direct it. The actress who played the role of Steiger's Sioux wife was Sarita Montiel, who was married to Anthony Mann. Because of her thick Spanish accent, her lines were re-recorded by Angie Dickinson, who then played the lead in Fuller's next movie, *China Gate* (1957).

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Just finished watching Sam Fuller's *Forty Guns* - and thoroughly enjoyed it! B-)


This movie is definitely not your average western (some say it share more in common with noir ). And I definitely thought there were a few parts that were downright wacky - the kind of wacky that makes a movie fun and memorable.


I totally adore Barbara Stanwyck as Jessica Drummond - especially the way her character starts out in the movie. Who wouldn't love a powerful woman who dominates pretty much all men around her and calls all the shots? A high-ridin' woman with a whip, alright, and a very alluring, powerful female figure.


As for Barry Sullivan, I don't think I've seen many movies with him (or if I have, I don't remember him very well), but he's absolutely right as Griff Bonnell, he hits all the right notes and is absolutely believable. The other actor who really made an impression on me, at least on first viewing, was Eve Brent, who's very lovely as the Spanger girl, and the shot where the Bonnell brother is looking at her through the gun barrel is obviously very memorable (and possibly served as an inspiration for the Bond creators).


This is a really fun noirish Western, whether it's "under the radar" or above it, it's just a lot of fun, and I'm glad to have read about it here. B-)

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I just watched _The Baron of Arizona_ (1950) directed by Samuel Fuller W./Vincent Price! What a very strange and fascinating film. I live here in Arizona, & several years back worked for a Mom & Pop tour company & never ever of this story till now, & getting into the career of Vincent Price film.


I would consider _The Baron of Arizona_ (1950) a cult film, & required viewing for any Vincent Price fan!





*By: Glenn Erickson_*


Samuel Fuller launched his Hollywood writing career even before he went to war, and took it up again immediately upon being demobilized. In 1949 he linked up with B-picture producer Robert Lippert, directing three fast films for him before moving on to work for Darryl Zanuck at Fox. The energetic, enormously inventive Fuller loved a good film story the way he loved newspaper writing, and he filled his screenplays with emotion, irony and his own notions about patriotism and combat.


The story of The Baron of Arizona plays like a tall tale, as Sam Fuller embellishes the true story to make James Reavis seem like a genius. Reavis manufactures an entire false history for the fictitious Peralta family, inventing ancestors and planting forged documents all the way back to original Land Grant records in Spain. To gain access to one copy of the land deeds, he spends several years in a Spanish monastery. To alter another land deed registry, he joins a group of gypsies and seduces a Marquesa (Margia Dean again, the producer's girlfriend). Fuller stresses that the United States honored Spanish land grants under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and that Reavis' chicanery was uncovered only through the work of a tireless federal investigator.


If the information on Wikipedia is accurate, the real James Reavis was less talented but even more conspiratorial. He sought partnerships with a group that included George Hearst (William Randolph's father) to push his claims through. With the backing of fat cats eager to lay claim to a whole territory, Reavis tried the same gambit several times. He eventually married a fake Peralta heir and called himself the Baron of Arizoniac, but a Surveyor General named Royal Johnson disproved his cheap forgeries, along with many claims by copycat fakers. Reavis eventually spent three years in prison

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I forgot to post earlier... Finally had the chance to watch the Criterion DVD release of *White Dog*, which just came out. The transfer is superb, and there are some very nice extras, which consist mainly of interviews with people close to Fuller who were around at the time he was making the movie, and also who are familiar with the series of decisions by Paramount to the movie being shelved in the U.S.


It's a great DVD, especially considering the movie had never been made available in any home video format, at least in the U.S. Highly recommended! B-)

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*A Review of: _White Dog_ by Brian Tallerico*



STUDIO: Criterion

RELEASE DATE: December 2, 2008

STARRING: Paul Winfield, Kristy McNichol, and Burl Ives

WRITTEN BY: Curtis Hanson & Samuel Fuller

DIRECTED BY: Samuel Fuller




New, restored high-definition digital transfer of the uncut version, supervised and approved by producer Jon Davison

New video interviews with producer Davison, co-writer Curtis Hanson, and Sam Fuller's widow, Christa Lang-Fuller

An interview with dog trainer Karl Lewis-Miller

Rare photos from the film's production

PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by critics J. Hoberman and Armond White, plus a rare 1982 interview in which Fuller interviews the canine star of the film.


Can you believe that it was not that long ago that such an important filmmaker as Samuel Fuller made as important a film as excellent as White Dog and it didn't even get released? Imagine if Joel Coen or Martin Scorsese spent years trying to get a controversial movie made and it just got shoved on to a shelf and was never given a chance to find an audience. In some ways, I feel like we're in a more politically correct time than we used to be, but the emergence of the independent film market has made it nearly impossible for a situation like White Dog to happen again. Nowadays, the film would be put in turnaround and at least released by a studio like IFC or Magnolia. The subject of White Dog - racism - might have scared some people away but it's not like the film is condoning it and the controversy surrounding it is almost hard to believe a quarter-century later. The theme of Fuller's excellent drama is that racism is taught, not innate, and his device if something real, a "white dog", an animal who has been trained to hurt black people. It's a riveting film that has been given a perfect treatment by Criterion. It's one of this excellent company's best releases of 2008.


Kristy McNichol stars as a woman who takes in a stray white German Shepherd for protection. She soon learns that the dog has been trained to attack black people. The great Paul Winfield stars as the trainer who tries to beat the racism out of the dog. White Dog has never been available on the home market before, only playing, believe it or not, on regular '80s TV airings, and in a brief theatrical run (it's only one) in the early '90s. It's what Criterion does best - finding unheralded and underappreciated films and making them available to a public who may not even know they exist. This version is a new, restored high-definition digital transfer of the uncut version that has been approved by producer Jon Davison. There are also new video interviews with Davison, co-writer Curtis Hanson (who would go on to direct L.A. Confidential) and Sam Fuller's widow, Christa Lang-Fuller. There's an interview with dog trainer Karl Lewis-Miller, rare photos from the film's production and a booklet with new essays by J. Hoberman and Armond White and an interview from 1982 with, well, the canine star of the movie.


*The shelving of White Dog, after the studio got too nervous about the controversial subject matter, crushed the great Samuel Fuller. He never made an American film again. And, now, over 25 years later, you have outlets like Time Out calling it the best film about racism ever made. Considering the film's history and new reputation/esteem, the Criterion edition does seem awfully light on special features and the picture is far from perfect, but watching White Dog is like finding a lost treasure. It has been unearthed after all of these years and can now join its place in cinema history as the essential piece of social commentary that it always was - we just never got the chance to see it.*



-- Brian Tallerico



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