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#1 Duke Togo

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Posted 05 September 2009 - 08:34 PM

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Samuel Fuller
From writing, to fighting three campaigns during WW2, to making films, Sam's unique visions certainly stressed out a few studio heads. In fact it was the changes to his novels and screenplays that made him want to make his own stories into films. Sam took a very direct approach to the issues in society, and this made very many uncomfortable, pushing him further and further into maverick territory. Much of his work was highly regarded overseas, particularly in France where New Wave directors, then critics like Godard and Truffaut contributed to his continued popularity.

Recommended Films:
(1) I Shot Jesse James (1949)
(1) Steel Helmet, The (1951)
(1) Park Row (1952)
(1) Pickup on South Street (1953)
(1) Forty Guns (1957)
(1) Shock Corridor (1963)
(1) Naked Kiss, The (1964)
(1) Big Red One, The (1980)
(1) White Dog (1982)

#2 Duke Togo

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Posted 05 September 2009 - 08:42 PM

!!!ALERT!!!

Fuller's Park Row will be playing on TCM Monday (07 Sep 09) at 2:45PM CT. This film is very hard to see, and TCM doesn't have it scheduled for any dates in the future (that could change). Make sure to see/DVR this while you can, the film was very special to Sam and has no release on DVD. :P

#3 bobham80

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 07:33 AM

Thanks, i'll set the DVR.

#4 scamp

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 12:50 PM

Thanks for the heads up! I woulda missed that completely, and been really pissed if I had. I've seen that "Man Who Made the Movies" episode, which airs before Park Row, 3 or 4 times.

Anyone excited for the new Fuller set from Columbia, being released in late October? I've seen the Douglas Sirk one, Shockproof, as well as The Crimson Kimono and one of my favorite Sam Fuller movies, Underworld U.S.A. I wasn't all that impressed with the Sirk one nor Kimono.

#5 Duke Togo

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 01:15 PM

!!!ALERT!!!

Fuller's Park Row will be playing on TCM Monday (07 Sep 09) at 2:45PM CT. This film is very hard to see, and TCM doesn't have it scheduled for any dates in the future (that could change). Make sure to see/DVR this while you can, the film was very special to Sam and has no release on DVD. ;)

Just a reminder that this will be airing shortly, and I will be posting my thoughts later tonight. :P

Thanks for the heads up! I woulda missed that completely, and been really pissed if I had. I've seen that "Man Who Made the Movies" episode, which airs before Park Row, 3 or 4 times.

Anyone excited for the new Fuller set from Columbia, being released in late October? I've seen the Douglas Sirk one, Shockproof, as well as The Crimson Kimono and one of my favorite Sam Fuller movies, Underworld U.S.A. I wasn't all that impressed with the Sirk one nor Kimono.

The only one I've seen from that box is Scandal Sheet, and I hesitate to judge it until I've read The Dark Page. Aside from Fuller's frustrations with it I found it to be a better than average pot boiler noir. I am quite excited for the box, but also a little frustrated knowing that Sam was quite insulted by the liberties these films took of his source material. They are still important I suppose, and Sam was just as much a writer as a film director, so these should be represented. Besides, it was these films that inspired him to start directing his own stories, and to that I am thankful.

#6 Duke Togo

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 02:01 AM

Park Row - Samuel Fuller (1952): 4.5/5 (great film)

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This film was clearly made with a genuine respect and tribute of something very near and dear to this man. Sam started out as a paper boy, eventually moving up to every paperboy’s dream position, the personal runner of Arthur Brisbane, who was editor for William Randolph Hearst’s newspaper empire. He actually quit school prematurely because he was so convinced by the world of journalism, where his intuition for finding public interest within the truth eventually led him to crime reporting. This is where Sam Fuller discovered who he really was, a man that understood that stories were found by thrusting yourself into the unpredictability of life. It is this kind of thinking and his penchant for truth that can be observed in just about everything Fuller has ever made, and that is why this film is so important. It personifies his values and background while celebrating the world of journalism, box-office be damned, which was unfortunately the case.

The story revolves around two rival newspapers, the Globe and the Star, and takes place during some rather significant historical events. For starters, famous engineer Gustave Eiffel, the man behind the Eiffel Tower, is offering his services on behalf of France to design the Statue of Liberty for the United States. The only problem with this is that the US government will have to provide the platform, which will cost $100,000 they aren’t willing to part with. Enter the Globe, which truly demonstrates the power of the press by calling the aide of American citizens. The collection scheme is successful, but the unfortunate rivalry between the papers leads to fraudulent collections taking place, pinning the Globe with the bill. It is actually this rivalry that sparks so many distribution innovations in the film. From newspaper stands to the printing press to the Lionel type machine, the race is certainly on, and these huge leaps will naturally lead to panic from the competition, and eventually violence.

The period of this film comes through wonderfully, from the costumes, streets, writing styles, and technology on display here, it is all very convincing. Sam put everything he had into this film, and it makes me happy to see it turned out so well considering he took quite a hit from it. It really is a much more interesting focus than I expected it to be, and I am frankly surprised it fell on so many deaf ears when it was released. That’s not to say nobody appreciated it, it has been mentioned that Sam’s crew from back in his reporting days were deeply touched by the sentiment of the film. It is quite unfortunate that Sam’s mentor and friend Arthur Brisbane had died long before this came to fruition, as I am sure a lot of the passion and care that comes through could be traced back to his first big break. This film needs a DVD release very badly, as it is one of Fuller’s most quality productions, and I would love Criterion to handle it simply because of the contextual history they could provide through extras. Very recommended, if you get a chance and you’re a Fuller fan.

#7 clydefro

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 08:26 PM

I'll have more to say on Fuller after I take a look at the Sony set, but I have to link to this interview with his widow at the TCM Movie Morlocks blog that reveals a tidbit I didn't know - that he married the same woman as Buster Keaton! While she was still married to Keaton!

#8 clydefro

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 11:29 PM

I've taken that look at the Fuller set now and reviewed it for DVD Times. (It's half off at Amazon right now, for those interested.) My bottom line impression is that the two films Fuller actually directed in the box are reason enough to pursue it, with the others acting as enjoyable curiosities. I'm still not ready to make peace with Sony for a number of reasons, but it's great to finally have these films liberated from the vaults.

Underworld U.S.A.
is the must-see masterpiece of the bunch for me, and I'd kind of like to see it climb up the ladder in the critical consensus.

#9 Duke Togo

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 12:30 AM

Having read A Third Face, I have been very interested to see these pictures which disappointed Sam so much. One thing that would've really knocked this set out of the park for me would be to include Sam's screenplays the films were based on. To be able to compare his intentions with the results would be quite revealing of his venture into film making. I wouldn't even expect such a beast of a set from Criterion, but I sure think this would've made the whole thing much more Fullerian, especially for those studying his career.

I still need to read The Dark Page, but as I mentioned before I really did enjoy Scandal Sheet. John Derek was bad, but I was completely sucked in by Broderick Crawford's unfortunate situation. I understand that this film probably didn't have the balls Sam would've tried for, but I really do feel that a lot of Sam's experiences of learning the hard expectations in crime reporting came through in the film. The plot was quite tense, and was able to keep piling on the stress better than a lot of noirs I've seen. I really need to pick up that book.

Are you going to review the new Sony Noir set too?

#10 clydefro

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 01:32 AM

Are you going to review the new Sony Noir set too?


I looked at that one a couple of weeks earlier (link to review). Writing about these releases now when no other studio is releasing this sort of thing is a tightrope walk between objectively evaluating what's there and being thankful they exist at all. Even so, the noir set is one of my favorite releases of the year while I think the Fuller one is more imperfect but entirely welcome.

Scandal Sheet and Shockproof are neck and neck for me, with both being good but flawed noir titles. I want to read The Dark Page too, but I think it might be discontinued already in the U.S. Amazon UK has it still in stock last I checked.

#11 Duke Togo

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 02:10 AM

It is funny, but in a way John Derek's poor acting made Scandal Sheet feel a little more Fullerian, but for all the wrong reasons I suppose. He brings to mind Anthony Eisley from The Naked Kiss, whom I thought was atrocious. That doesn't mean I associate Fuller with bad acting exclusively, because some like Pickup on South Street were terrific in every regard.

Still, B-films with balls are how I would describe some of his most memorable work, and that introduction of sucky John Derek as a protagonist tricking a traumatized victim of a crime into disclosing information had that precise tone of matter-of-fact worldly education that I've come to appreciate from Sam. That is why I feel some of his intentions of honestly portraying the world of crime reporting got through in the film. I would love to hear some specifics as to what exactly he would've done differently, and I really do think Phil Karlson probably tried his best to stick to the material.

#12 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 01:44 PM

new posting from J Rosenbaum on 1980 The Soho News essay
Under Construction:
My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
1-16, 18, 19, 20, 21(2nd), 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51(1st & 2nd), 52, 52, 53, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86. 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151(1st), 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 224, 226, 227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 237, 239, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 260, 263, 266, 267, 268, 271, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 297, 298, 300(2D), 301, 302, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 335, 336, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 351, 352, 353, 354, 357, 358, 359, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 378, 379, 380, 383, 385, 386, 387, 388, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 402, 404, 405, 408, 409, 410, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 424, 425, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 437, 439, 441, 445, 446, 447, 448, 451, 453, 455, 456, 457, 459, 460, 461, 462, 465, 470, 475, 476, 478, 481, 482, 487, 490, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 503, 505, 512, 524, 525, 526, 528, 529, 530, 531, 539, 540, 543, 556, 565, 572, 578, 579, 580, 586, 596, 650, 664, 677

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#13 bobham80

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 08:38 AM

Duke I finally got around to watching Park Row last night. I had it setting on my DVR for months now. I could not agree more this is a heartfelt look at the journalism and diffently his most sentimental film I have seen to date. A must see for any Sam Fuller fan.

#14 Duke Togo

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 11:48 PM

^
I envy you guys that have DVR, I really would've liked to watch it a few times. I'm glad someone else got to watch this. :)

#15 Izo

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 05:02 PM

I cannot believe that Underworld USA and Crimson Kimono aren't on the list up there. Crimson Kimono in particular is possibly my favorite Sam Fuller film. Ditto for Fixed Bayonets!, which is every bit the equal of The Steel Helmet.

With the exception of John Ford, I'm not sure there is a director who has ever been as uniquely American as Samuel Fuller. In the same way that critics say Ozu is the most Japanese director, I feel that Fuller really captures the American persona in his films. I suppose it is probably his blunt, instant-gratification style. In its own way, I think that Fuller's entire career was an examination of urban American life.

#16 Izo

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 02:28 PM

House of Bamboo ****/*****

For Sam Fuller, this movie is positively demure. While his stamp is definitely on the film, at the same time the movie moves quite slowly and the acting is very reserved, especially for a Fuller film. Robert Stack uses the same expression throughout the film. Robert Ryan, however, owns every scene he appears in as the boss of American crime in Japan. Just from that brief character description, you can see that the plot of this film is absolutely ludicrous, but anyone who complains about that in a Samuel Fuller film is whining that the grass is green. Also, one of the most bizarre and funny scenes in any Fuller film occurs in this one, with Robert Stack, too embarrassed to be naked in front of his "kimona", eats a plate of eggs in a boiling hot bathtub. So, the film is by Fuller standards restrained, but it's also possibly his most pictorially beautiful film. A noir in gorgeous Technicolor and Cinemascope, Fuller uses every ounce of the frame to show his obvious admiration for Japan in his location-shot exteriors. A great deal of respect is given to the Japanese characters in the film, as well. Add a healthy dose of homosexual subtext and a couple of exceptional set pieces and you've got a highly entertaining, sometimes poorly-paced flick. Good stuff.

#17 clydefro

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 12:40 PM

Verboten! is finally coming to DVD in the U.S. - as a Warner Archive title. I never did import the R2 edition so I have, as usual with the Archive, mixed feelings about availability versus quality of getting the film now on DVD-R.

#18 Duke Togo

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 01:29 PM

I do recommend the French Warner release over a DVD-R. I'm surprised Warner didn't just sell the localized version of that in the US, there is really no excuse to go the Archive route. They probably make quite a bit more money doing it this way though, and that is just dirty. As for the film, this was pretty interesting. The love story was rather flat, but the conflict with the guerrilla group, The Werewolves, was the meat of the film in my opinion. Tom Pittman was excellent as the Werewolves' leader, a fitting villain. I recommend this for all Fuller enthusiasts as well as those interested in post-war Germany.

#19 clydefro

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 09:30 PM

^ I don't remember, or I never knew, what your source was for the French Verboten!. I see Amazon FR has it and the Euro is quite weak right now but shipping is still high.

#20 Duke Togo

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 12:01 AM

I am fairly certain I got it through Amazon.fr, though I don't think I would've stressed about the price, which I unfortunately cannot remember right now. Just know that your best buddy DVD Beaver was quite impressed with the release, and that there is only one choice here for a Fuller-head like you. :P

Amazon.fr - $24.58
Amazon.com - $31
Amazon.de - $31.84
Amazon.co.uk - $36.24




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