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Samuel Fuller

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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)

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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 Baron of Arizona (1949)

“The Baron of Arizona” is a 1949 film directed by Samuel Fuller. This film is a historical drama based on real events and follows the life and deceptions of James Addison Reavis, an impostor of the 19th century who attempted to falsely claim ownership of much of Spanish Arizona.

The film’s protagonist, James Addison Reavis, is portrayed by Vincent Price. Reavis is an ambitious and deceptive character who tries to exploit an error in historical documents to assert that the territory of Arizona belongs to him. His scheme involves the forgery of ancient Spanish documents and the involvement of various individuals in his enterprise.

The film unfolds the intricate plot of this fraud and Reavis’s attempt to gain control of Arizona’s lands through fraudulent means. However, his deception is uncovered, and he faces legal consequences.

“The Baron of Arizona” is a film that explores the theme of deceit and fraud, based on a historically significant episode. Vincent Price delivers a memorable performance in the role of Reavis. The film offers an intriguing look at a character who sought to manipulate history and the law to gain wealth and power.

Fixed Bayonets! (1951)

“Fixed Bayonets!” is a 1951 war film directed by Samuel Fuller. The film is set during the Korean War and focuses on a platoon of American soldiers as they face the challenges and hardships of combat.

The story follows the platoon as they are ordered to hold a strategic pass against a much larger Chinese force. As the harsh winter sets in and the enemy closes in, the soldiers must deal with fear, fatigue, and the bonds of camaraderie that develop in the face of adversity.

“Fixed Bayonets!” is known for its realistic portrayal of war and the psychological toll it takes on the soldiers. The film explores themes of courage, sacrifice, and the human spirit in the midst of combat.

The title “Fixed Bayonets!” refers to the soldiers preparing their bayonets for close combat, highlighting the intensity and danger they face on the front lines. Samuel Fuller’s direction and the performances of the cast contribute to making this film a notable entry in the war film genre of the era.

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.

Park Row (1952)

“Park Row” is a 1952 film directed by Samuel Fuller. This film is known for being a passionate tribute to journalism and the press, set in the context of the newspaper wars in 19th-century New York City.

The plot of “Park Row” revolves around the rivalry between two newspaper editors, Phineas Mitchell and Charity Hackett. Phineas Mitchell, played by Gene Evans, is the editor of “The Globe” newspaper, while Charity Hackett, played by Mary Welch, is the editor of her competitor, “The Star.” The struggle between these two characters to get the biggest and most sensational news becomes the focal point of the film.

The film captures the frenetic and competitive atmosphere of journalism in that era, with reporters vying for exclusive scoops and steam presses producing extra editions. The story is primarily set in the historic Park Row area in Manhattan, where many of New York’s early newspapers had their offices.

“Park Row” celebrates the importance of journalism as the fourth estate and as a vehicle for democratic expression. Samuel Fuller, known for his passion for journalism, directed the film with fervor, and this is reflected in his vivid and engaging portrayal of the newspaper world.

The film is a tribute to the printed press and its role in shaping public opinion and informing the public. “Park Row” is considered a classic in the genre of journalism films and provides a fascinating glimpse into the past of the press in New York City.

Pickup on South Street (1953)

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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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Hell and High Water (1953)

“Hell and High Water” is a 1953 film directed by Samuel Fuller. This is a war thriller that blends elements of action and suspense, with a plot centered around a secret mission at sea during the Cold War.

The plot of “Hell and High Water” follows a group of military specialists recruited to conduct a top-secret mission on a modified submarine. Their mission is to uncover the origin of a series of secret atomic tests happening in a remote area of the Pacific Ocean. The film unfolds in a race against time as the group tries to discover the purpose of these tests and to prevent them if necessary.

The film is known for its dynamic action scenes and escalating tension as the team faces challenges in a hostile and potentially dangerous environment. Richard Widmark plays the lead role as the mission’s captain, and the cast also includes Bella Darvi and Victor Francen.

“Hell and High Water” offers an intriguing dive into the geopolitics and espionage of the Cold War, with a strong element of mystery that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats until the end. It’s a fascinating example of Samuel Fuller’s filmmaking and his talent for creating engaging action and suspense films.

House of Bamboo (1955)

“La casa di bambù” is a 1955 film directed by Samuel Fuller. This is a film noir set in Japan, known for its blend of crime thriller and drama.

The plot of “La casa di bambù” revolves around a group of American criminals operating in Tokyo after World War II. These criminals are involved in a series of heists and murders, and Japanese authorities are trying to stop them. Military Police officer Eddie Spanier, played by Robert Stack, is sent undercover to infiltrate the gang and uncover who is behind the crimes.

The film offers a fascinating look at post-war life in Japan and the American organized crime operating in the country. The plot unfolds with tension as Eddie Spanier tries to gain the criminals’ trust and discover their secrets.

“La casa di bambù” is known for its evocative settings and its use of color in black-and-white film to represent Japanese culture and atmosphere. The film also captures the essence of film noir with ambiguous characters, a dark atmosphere, and a intricate crime story.

The title refers to a key location in the film, the criminals’ residence, which is built in traditional Japanese style with bamboo walls. Samuel Fuller directs the film with his usual passion and delivers a work that combines genre elements and represents an intriguing piece in the history of film noir.

Run of the Arrow (1956)

“Run of the Arrow” is a 1957 film directed by Samuel Fuller. This is a Western film that explores themes of racism, revenge, and redemption set in the post-American Civil War period.

The plot of “Run of the Arrow” revolves around a Confederate soldier named O’Meara, played by Rod Steiger, who, after the defeat of the South, tries to avoid arrest by seeking refuge among the Sioux Lakota in South Dakota. There, O’Meara attempts to start a new life by learning Native American culture and marrying a Lakota woman.

However, when his past catches up with him and he becomes involved in a conflict between the Sioux and the U.S. Army, O’Meara faces a difficult choice between his old world and his new adopted people.

The film tackles complex themes of cultural and individual identity, as well as exploring the issue of relationships between Native Americans and European settlers. “Run of the Arrow” also features spectacular Western action sequences characteristic of Samuel Fuller’s direction.

The title of the film refers to a Native American torture practice in which the protagonist becomes involved during the story. The film is known for its deep reflection on human nature and the desire for redemption, as well as delivering an intense performance by Rod Steiger.

China Gate (1957)

“China Gate” is a 1957 film directed by Samuel Fuller. This is a war film that explores the themes of the Indochina War and the mercenaries involved in it.

The plot of “China Gate” centers on a group of mercenaries recruited for a dangerous mission in Vietnam during the Indochina War. This diverse group is led by a cynical former U.S. Army officer, played by Gene Barry, and also includes a French-Vietnamese interpreter, portrayed by Angie Dickinson.

The mission involves destroying an enemy base and disarming hidden landmines in a perilous area. During the mission, the mercenaries face numerous dangers and challenges, as well as moral and personal issues related to the war.

“China Gate” is known for its distinctive visual style and the use of color in black-and-white sequences to represent the atmosphere and setting of Vietnam. The film also provides a complex portrait of the characters and their motivations for participating in such a dangerous mission.

The title of the film “China Gate” refers to a specific key location in the story. The film is an example of Samuel Fuller’s talent for directing war films that explore the moral and human nuances of combat situations.

Forty Guns (1957)

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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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“Merrill’s Marauders” is a 1962 film directed by Samuel Fuller. This is a war film based on real events that follows the actions of the famous Special Forces unit during the Burma Campaign in World War II.

The plot of “Merrill’s Marauders” focuses on the challenges and extraordinary efforts of Colonel Frank Merrill, portrayed by Jeff Chandler, and his unit, known as “Merrill’s Marauders” or “Unit Galahad.” These American soldiers face extreme weather conditions, difficult terrain, and superior Japanese forces as they attempt to complete a series of missions behind enemy lines in Burma.

The film captures the harshness of jungle warfare and the determination of the soldiers involved in the operation. The story also explores the relationships among the unit members and the personal challenges they must overcome.

“Merrill’s Marauders” is known for its realism in depicting military operations and for highlighting the heroism and resilience of soldiers engaged in extreme situations. The film is based on the memoirs of a member of Merrill’s Marauders and provides a fascinating look at the Burma Campaign and special forces during World War II.

Shock Corridor (1963)

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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)

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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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