Samuel Fuller, 9 must-see films by the great American director

Who was Samuel Fuller?

Samuel Fuller was an American director, screenwriter, and novelist. He has been called “the last great Hollywood author” and has directed 30 films in his career.

Born in Worcester, Massachusetts on August 12, 1912 to Ukrainian Jewish immigrants from Kiev; Samuel studied journalism / communications at the University of Illinois before dropping out. In 1937 he moved to Hollywood to devote himself to writing for film.

Fuller wrote numerous screenplays for Warner Bros., Columbia Pictures, Paramount Pictures and other studios before starting directing in 1949 with I Shot Jesse James, starring Robert Mitchum as Jesse James and he is best known for his cult classics such as Shock Corridor (1963) with Peter Breck; The Naked Kiss (1964) with Constance Towers; The Big Red One (1980) with Lee Marvin.

A director to be rediscovered

A good opportunity to restore the deserved popularity to Samuel Fuller, a tough guy who didn’t want to give up, an artist out of the canons and plans imposed by Hollywood studios, repeatedly harassed trying to soften his controversial side and the extremes of his vision , always on the side of the marginalized and the losers. Later they let him choose an independent path.

Fuller said: “Today I work more freely because I make my own films that I write and direct. When I work in a large studio, I always have to overcome the opinions of others, their suggestions and their opposition. Often, a series of compromises destroys the initial inspiration. There are many ethical and social issues that need to be resolved. Because those who call themselves censors, but also producers and critics, challenge you to become a creator, to try something original, and at the same time to remain in mediocrity . The defenders of this morality are leeches and hypocrites, manipulators and sad parasites who spit in the wind and are pleased. They find garbage or political allusions in places where there is none. Dealing with any high-grossing film is a cause. sacred to them.

Must see movies of Samuel Fuller

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Samuel Fuller was a highly underrated director who created some of the most iconic and beloved films in film history. His films made a big impact on society and he was known for his ability to tackle any topic, no matter how harsh or controversial. It was nominated for an Academy Award and won the British Film Academy Award.

In 1997 he received the French Legion d’Honneur in recognition for his contribution to cinema. Many of Fuller’s films have become cult classics and are still popular with audiences today. For example, “White Dog” has been banned for 25 years due to the controversial themes of racism and animal cruelty it explores.

Some of his films are considered classics in the history of cinema. After his death, people began to reevaluate his contribution to film and recognize his work as one of the most original directors of all time. Here are some of his best movies you should watch:

I shot Jesse James – 1948

 I-shot-Jess-James

I shot Jesse James is a 1948 film by Samuel Fuller. It is based on the true story of the outlaw Jessie James, a notorious train robber in the American West.

The film begins with Jesse James and his gang storming a rail office to steal $ 43,000 to finance their next robbery. This time they are captured and imprisoned for life. While in prison, Jesse James becomes a celebrity and is idolized by the new generation of young Americans who admire his Robin Hood lifestyle.

It’s a 1948 film that follows a killer and his prey. Director Samuel Fuller was a former soldier in World War II before he started making films in Hollywood. This first film of his has been defined as an allegory of self-defense and the right to defend oneself. The film is set in an unnamed Western American city. 

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The steel helmet – 1951

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The film is a WWII era drama, shot in black and white. The story takes place in 1942, when the war is just starting to turn against the Axis Powers. It focuses on a squad of American soldiers fighting in the African campaign.

Samuel Fuller’s The steel helmet captures the horrors of war. The plot revolves around Colonel Joseph Madden, a US Army officer stationed on the border between North and South Korea. He has a hunch and retires to his bunker to prepare for the expected attack by North Korean soldiers.

The film has many elements that make it unique, most notably the lack of music and dialogue throughout the film (except for the title titles at the beginning). This creates a creepy atmosphere where you can’t be sure what will happen next. It also features one of the first screen appearances of Richard Widmark, who would have had a successful career in Hollywood

The film is set in Korea during the time when the country was divided in half. A film that manages to capture the culture and atmosphere of Korea during this period.

Pickup on South Street – 1953

Pickup-on-South-Street

Pickup on South Street is a 1953 thriller written by Samuel Fuller. The story was based on the 1951 novel of the same name by author John D. MacDonald. The story revolves around a homeless New York scammer named Skip McCoy, who is arrested by the FBI for a theft he didn’t commit and must help them catch an international spy ring in exchange for his freedom.

The film follows Skip as he makes his way through the underworld and tries to avoid being killed. The cast also includes Jean Peters, Richard Kiley, Thelma Ritter and Jay C. Flippen as other FBI agents. In 2015, he was selected for keeping in the US National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as “culturally, historically”.

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Forty Guns – 1957

samuel-fuller-Forty-Guns

Forty Guns by Samuel Fuller is a 1957 western film starring Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan and John Ericson. The film is set in the American West of 1882 and tells the story of a widow who runs her late husband’s ranch as she fends off threats from land builders, cattle thieves, and horse thieves.

The story is about the fight between two women for the love of a gunslinger, which takes place in 1882 and centers on three people living on a remote ranch six miles from the nearest town. Colonel Jake Terrell is the owner of the ranch, Julie Lillie is his fiancée, and Keith Anderson is his farmhand. The Colonel’s mistress Julie loves Anderson and spends her time thinking about how to get her away from the Colonel. He makes plans to kill his rival for Anderson’s affections – Lillie – with poison while they are both visiting town.

Merrill’s Marauders – 1962

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Samuel Fuller’s Merrill’s Marauders is an intense and compelling look at the lives of soldiers in the Vietnam War.

General Frank Merrill’s battalion fights the Japanese army in Burma in 1944 and awaits reinforcements. Instead, according to the new orders, the American soldiers must continue the battle through swamps and forests to conquer Myitkyina. Decimated by disease, fatigue and enemy attacks, the soldiers still try to reach their goal.

Shock Corridor – 1963

samuel-fuller-Shock-Corridor

Shock Corridor is a 1963 film by Samuel Fuller. The film is about a journalist, Johnny Jones, charged with writing about the murder of a young woman in a psychiatric hospital. He gets too close to the truth and gets involved himself. The psychiatrist at the psychiatric hospital wants to keep Johnny there because he found out the truth about what happened to her but he needs Johnny’s help because he knows that his own memory will not be proof enough for him to get out of prison for what he is. did.

The film was shot in New York City and has an urban feel. It contains no action or violence scenes, but instead relies on dialogue and storytelling for its narrative, which makes it truly unique among other films produced at the time.

The naked kiss – 1964

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A woman escapes from prison and her life as a prostitute to return to her child. His escape is not easy, as he must face many dangers before he succeeds. This film touches on themes such as prostitution, infidelity and the difficulties of women in that period. The protagonist manages to break free from the shackles of society and move on with her life.

Samuel Fuller uses a series of complex rhetorical devices in The naked kiss to represent the relationship between a male and a female. The naked kiss is a story about the relationship between a man and a woman. They have a complicated time together because they have significantly different views on how life should be lived. Samuel Fuller uses many rhetorical devices such as irony and satire to describe their relationship. The film was the first Hollywood production with an open ending, in which the fate of the heroine remains unsolved. The film was considered very provocative in its day, and is often cited as one of the earliest examples of the “roughie” genre. He was also well received by critics and audiences for his strong female character.

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The Big Red One – 1980, Samuel Fuller’s war masterpiece

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The Big Red One is one of Samuel Fuller’s best films and arguably the most popular, except in France, where it never came out. A trademark of Fuller is the use of sharp cuts and time jumps: “The Big Red One” jumps back or forth in time every few minutes, giving the viewer the feeling that they can travel in time.

A subjective story of a soldier enrolled in the 1st American Infantry Division, nicknamed “the Great Red One”, the film follows the story of four soldiers and their sergeant Possum, during the campaigns and battles of the Second World War in North Africa, in Sicily , in Normandy, in the Ardennes and in Czechoslovakia.

The film was shot largely in Israel and Ireland. The film cost $ 4 million and grossed $ 7. Lee Marvin and Samuel Fuller really fought during World War II.

White Dog – 1982

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White Dog is a 1982 American drama film written and directed by Samuel Fuller, based on the novel of the same name by Romain Gary.

The film stars Kristy McNichol as Julie Smith, a teenage girl who adopts a stray dog ​​she discovers on her family’s rural California property. He calls it White Dog because of its completely white fur. Settling on the farm, the dog begins to take command over other animals and terrifies the humans around him. When Julie discovers that White Dog is in fact a ferocious trained killer, she must make a heartbreaking decision on how to handle him before he harms someone else.

Samuel Fuller’s White Dog explores the themes of racism and animal cruelty through a family’s love-hate relationship with their dog. Samuel Fuller’s White Dog explores the themes of racism and animal cruelty through a family’s love-hate relationship with their dog. This Samuel Fuller film has a tough and gritty style, and is one of his best films.

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