Poll

What's your favorite film by Samuel Fuller?

I Shot Jesse James
0 (0%)
The Baron of Arizona
0 (0%)
The Steel Helmet
2 (7.1%)
Fixed Bayonets!
0 (0%)
Park Row
0 (0%)
Pickup on South Street
9 (32.1%)
Hell and High Water
0 (0%)
House of Bamboo
0 (0%)
Run of the Arrow
1 (3.6%)
Forty Guns
2 (7.1%)
Verboten!
0 (0%)
The Crimson Kimono
1 (3.6%)
Underworld U.S.A.
0 (0%)
Merrill's Marauders
0 (0%)
Shock Corridor
1 (3.6%)
The Naked Kiss
0 (0%)
The Big Red One
2 (7.1%)
White Dog
1 (3.6%)
Street of No Return
1 (3.6%)
haven't seen any
7 (25%)
don't like any
1 (3.6%)
other
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 27

Author Topic: Fuller, Samuel  (Read 3348 times)

1SO

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Re: Fuller, Samuel
« Reply #40 on: June 16, 2016, 09:05:43 AM »
Perhaps when it comes to lurid directors there can only be one. Which then begs the question. Who the modern holder of this crown is. Winding Refn comes to mind. He seems to take that step extra which I absolutely applauded in Drive but positively detested in Only God Forgives. He could go either way as he progresses but after OGF I'm not sure I have much patience reserved for him.
I first thought of Gaspar Noe, but he's more of a shock value button-pusher, pushing way past lurid, much like Paul Verhoeven. Tarantino could be it. His style is certainly divisive, especially in how he chooses to present violence. ...and racism.
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1SO

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Re: Fuller, Samuel
« Reply #41 on: November 08, 2016, 10:36:24 AM »
House of Bamboo (1955)
* *
Inferior remake of Noir gem The Street with No Name. Sam Fuller brings in some nice Far East flavor, but the rest is oddly subdued for Fuller. While some say the gaudier the patter the better the Fuller or that a subtle film like this is best, my sweet spot is somewhere in the middle. Alive but not outrageous. Even Robert Ryan doesn't seem all that interested, and I'm really not a fan of Robert Stack, who always sounds like a salesman not a person.
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verbALs

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Re: Fuller, Samuel
« Reply #42 on: November 08, 2016, 12:28:12 PM »
I just watched one and you just watched the other! ;D I never thought of House of Bamboo. I did think of T Men tho.
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1SO

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Re: Fuller, Samuel
« Reply #43 on: November 08, 2016, 01:49:56 PM »
It's a fairly typical Noir plot, infiltrating the mob, inexplicably getting the trust of the boss in a surprisingly short amount of time. The Departed has a lot of the same beats too. I prefer Lloyd Nolan to Robert Stack. Ryan and Widmark are usually about equal with me, but here the clear winner is Widmark. I like some of the location filming, which reminded me of The Naked City set in Tokyo, but I much prefer the dark shadows of Street to this film's Noir in color.
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verbALs

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Re: Fuller, Samuel
« Reply #44 on: November 08, 2016, 01:56:30 PM »
It reminded me I'm looking forward to The Infiltrator on digital. I missed it at the pictures it wasn't on for long.
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1SO

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Re: Fuller, Samuel
« Reply #45 on: November 08, 2016, 02:42:27 PM »
The first version of this story, or at least the best early version, is Bullets or Ballots. Edward G. Robinson is a disgraced(?) cop who joins up with a racket run by his old war buddy (Barton MacLane), quickly rising to become the new #2 man, which doesn't sit to well with the former 2nd in charge (Humphrey Bogart).


This Just In... Both House and Street were photographed by Joseph MacDonald, and Street was directed by William Keighley who also helmed Bullets or Ballots.
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1SO

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Re: Fuller, Samuel
« Reply #46 on: April 29, 2018, 10:14:53 PM »
Updated Rankings


Park Row (1952)
Phineas: He was tried by your paper.
Charity: He was tried by a jury.
Phineas: You sprung the trap.
Charity: I simply broke the story.
Phineas: The story broke his neck.
Charity: What was Charles Mott to you?
Phineas: Nothing. I just don't like trial by a newspaper

Quote from: Matt Singer
Now that's a goddamn movie.

I've been having an exceptionally good run of Discoveries this year. This makes #18, and the best of the bunch. Until recently I'd never heard of it and I didn't recognize any of the cast, but they are an excellent ensemble. The dialogue is like a two-fisted version of an Aaron Sorkin script, and while Fuller uses long takes to give the story the feel of theater, it's also his most cinematic work, with some amazing moments of Noir lighting, sound and camera movement that probably had an effect on Martin Scorsese.


"Escort this wench back to her slaughterhouse before I throw her out of here right on her front page."

I watched the film three times, thanks to an 83-minute run time, my desire to try and get more out of the script and wanting to show it to Mrs. 1SO. (She loved it too.) Much as I love the script, it's also my biggest reservation. Fuller's tabloid dialogue sometimes obscures the dramatic meat, and he's so excited to show us how a newspaper business is run that he sometimes forgets to slow down a little and actually show us. Like with Wall Street, I'm not able to follow everything, but I'm confident the people who made the film know what they're talking about. So... I watched it three times already, and I did catch new things with each viewing.

Gene Evans plays the blustery Phineas Mitchell, who brags about one day owning the best newspaper on Park Row. He's given his chance, but there's a personal rivalry with the leading newspaper, run by Charity Hackett (Mary Welch). The two have a repulsion/attraction that sometimes feels strained because there's such venom in the words between them. I had just watched Evans in the middling Fixed Bayonets, and he was a standout of that ensemble but this is on a whole other level, and he won't go unnoticed by me again.


"It's good makeup, Miss Hackett. Nice form, nice balance. Pretty as a perfect front page.
But you remind me of the obituary column."

This is Mary Welch's only feature, but she's just as remarkable. She has a certain look like no other actor I've seen, and is able to change her appearance to suit the scene, cold and hard one moment, young and beaming the next. It makes her a perfect femme fatale because you can see the trouble but also understand she's someone who knows how to get what they want.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ - Very Good
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Jeff Schroeck

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Re: Director's Best: Samuel Fuller
« Reply #47 on: February 15, 2019, 04:08:55 PM »
I Shot Jesse James (1949)
★ ★

I've seen 4 different versions of the story of the coward Robert Ford. The most well known (with the long title) has Casey Affleck as Ford, though he's upstaged by Sam Rockwell getting to do all the haunted, hollowed out emotions as Robert's brother Charley. In the epic Jesse James/The Return of Frank James

I'm not a big fan of Fuller, whose scripts often have the thud of a blunt instrument. I have a couple of Noir favorites, which I plan to re-watch before posting a ranked list, but this is more in line with his typical work. Jesse makes himself such an inviting target it's more comical than tense, and often the dialogue tells you the precise psychological intent of each scene. It's a tabloid journalism version of an elegant fable, but that also makes it unique enough on its own to be worth a look, even if you've seen the other films. There is one terrific scene where a musician enters a bar and sings a popular favorite about "the dirty little coward" unaware that Ford is in the bar.

I mentioned a 4th version. That would be The Long Riders, which features some of the same characters but ends right about where I Shot Jesse James begins.

The comic tone seemed intentional to me (and the bathtub scene was probably my favorite scene in the movie), and the more I think about it, I think it ties in with the stage show & troubador scenes. It, and the earlier comic scene when the brother Ford reads the newspaper ad about the reward and amnesty, presented as a farce make it more powerful when the viewer sees how icky it is when the audience wants to watch the murder recreations, or the singer turns a guy's murder into a catchy tune.