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The Samuel Fuller Film Collection (It Happened in Hollywood / Adventure in Sahara / Power of the Press / The Crimson Kimono / Shockproof / Scandal Sheet / Underworld U.S.A.)
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Hard-core Fullerism sets in with Power of the Press (1943). Although he's credited only for story, the dialogue has Fuller's headline punch, and of course newspapering was an alternative universe he knew inside out. A publisher whose once-honest New York tabloid has been ideologically hijacked is aiming to make a course correction. Minutes after saying, "The power of the press is the freedom to tell the truth--it is not the freedom to twist the truth," he's a dead man. The rest of the movie deals with the efforts of his old friend, small-town newsman Guy Kibbee, to complete the paper's redemption. Made in mid World War II, the picture angrily and explicitly likens homegrown demagoguery to Nazism--and its condemnation of media organizations "playing on the prejudices of stupid people" has acquired fresh relevance. Otto Kruger and Victor Jory ("a little Himmler") supply the villainy, while Lee Tracy steps up to save the day as a casehardened yellow journalist named Griff. Another Griff (Fuller loved that moniker) shows up in Shockproof (1949), a fascinating instance of two auteurs on one movie. Fuller wrote the novel The Lovers and had first crack at the screenplay; the director was Douglas Sirk. Cornel Wilde plays a parole officer who falls for convicted murderer Patricia Knight (Mrs. Wilde at the time). For most of its length the film sustains genuine ambiguity regarding the woman: victim or manipulator? gingerly moving toward reformation, or waiting for the first opportunity to split? We get inklings of Fuller's 1964 The Naked Kiss. Scandal Sheet (1952) is one more case of Fuller material handled by another estimable director: Phil Karlson, a crime drama specialist with a fine sense of frenzy. In this adaptation of Fuller's novel The Dark Page, Broderick Crawford is a hard-nosed newspaper editor with machine-gun delivery and a shrewd crime reporter, John Derek (quite good), whom he's trained as his spiritual heir. There's a semi-accidental murder, and then another with nothing accidental about it. Donna Reed plays Derek's fellow reporter and underappreciated love interest, and the oft-mocked Rosemary DeCamp does some juicy character acting in a key role.
These DVD collections are always limited by what company holds the copyright on which movies. We get only two Sam Fuller-directed movies here because they're the only two he made for Columbia (now owned by Sony). One of these is a primo, in-your-face Fuller title: Underworld U.S.A. (1961), which gave Cliff Robertson a chance to play a complete slimeball--and he's the hero! He's also the grownup version of the teenager (David Kent) who watched his small-time crook of a dad murdered in an alley, beaten to death by thugs who would go on to become underworld kingpins. The film observes Robertson's revenge as he rises in their criminal empire, but the most disturbing scene centers on Richard Rust as a soft-spoken killer. Two years earlier, Fuller had made The Crimson Kimono (1959), a much less successful movie but one with bravely complicated ambitions. Two Los Angeles police detectives (Glenn Corbett and James Shigeta) investigate the murder of a stripper shot down in the middle of Main Street (a scene Fuller filmed without forewarning the local citizenry). As the case unfolds, both guys--partners, roommates, and blood brothers since the Korean War--fall in love with the same key witness (Victoria Shaw). Fuller returned again and again to the theme of America as a multiracial, multicultural society; The Crimson Kimono, in addition to many passing tributes to the Japanese-American community, dares to explore the theme of a sympathetic minority figure who projects racism onto others.
As with previous Sony boxed sets devoted to Boetticher and Stanley Kramer, the technical quality of the prints is first-rate. There are no running commentaries, but several separate featurettes have Martin Scorsese, Wim Wenders, Curtis Hanson, Tim Robbins, and Christa and Samantha Fuller paying informed and affectionate tribute to Samuel Fuller the filmmaker and Sam Fuller the man. --Richard T. Jameson
Top Customer Reviews
It Happened in Hollywood (1937) - Fuller's second film. Richard Dix stars as a silent Western star who is put out of work by the coming of talking pictures, since in the early days the technology can't be taken outdoors. He loses his career, his ranch, everything. After his fall he encounters a small boy who still adores him.
Adventure in Sahara (1938)-Much like Mutiny on the Bounty except it is set in the desert.
Power of the Press (1943) - From 1925-1935 Hollywood had made many anti-war films. This is one of those films that tried to reverse that trend with a tale about the dangers of isolationism.
Shockproof (1949, directed by Douglas Sirk) - About a parole officer in love with a parolee. This is against the rules of his profession, so the parole officer fixes it so the parolee can work in his home tending to his mother. However,the parolee just may be using him and may still be in love with her gangster ex-boyfriend. Don't blame Sam for the ending. The studio rewrote it.
Scandal Sheet (1952)- Newspaper reporters investigate the death of a woman and determine not only that it was murder but who the murderer is, which turns out to be quite interesting.
The Crimson Kimono (1959) - A stripper is shot in the streets of L.A. and it's up to Glenn Corbett and James Shigeta as two cops to determine the killer. The whole investigation enables a tale that only Fuller could tell about interracial love along with the cast of strange people that often fill Fuller's stories.
Underworld U.S.A. (1961) - A teenager sees her father killed by four gangsters.Read more ›
I had major difficulty sliding the four lower DVDs out without breaking them (I did crack the outer packaging twice). I should have pushed down on the lower release button BEFORE attempting to slide the discs from underneath the spindles. I'm neither adroit nor mechanically minded, so the packaging was a challenge to me. Others will probably have less trouble than I experienced, as long as they are careful.
I still hate this packaging, and would rather have slim cases in a wraparound. That would avoid the potential for breakage that I described above.
The film transfers look quite good for the most part.
He also brings the audience in to see the real L.A., n ot just Sunset Strip, but downtown, like the real Main Street and Little Tokyo and let's the location become another character of its own.
This is a must for any film lover or friend, even if they have never heard of Sam or his films.
I am a 28 year old female that normally does 'girly stereotypes', and went to see a screening of Underworld U.S.A. and Crimson Kimono. I am now a die hard fan! I use this as an example that he spans all sexes and generations.
Unlike the recent William Castle "box set," this one is actually more of what I would consider a box set. It's twice as thick as the Castle "box," and each movie gets its own disc (unlike the two-per-disc format in the Castle "box."
You get the same great film noir photography with lots of nighttime shots and a lot of tough characters. I just wish they had at least one really likable person to root for, but I didn't find any. The "hero," played well by Cliff Robertson, is a tough, revenge-obsessed guy and that's basically the storyline as he tracks down the hoods who beat up and killed his father.
Even though the rest of the cast doesn't have big names, many of the faces are familiar and all are good actors. This is an earlier "Point Blank" film seven years before that came out - same kind of story.
Of the women in here, I found Dolores Dorn the most interesting.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another Samuel Fuller gem. An excellent plot, very good pacing and professional cast easily compensate for pedestrian sets. Cliff Robertson is dynamic in the lead. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Harvey L. Kaminski
when the CRIMSON KIMONO was released in 1959 the OXFORD PAPER in the UK reviewd it favorably to HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR BY
ALAIN RESNAIS...... Read more
If you like Samuel Fuller, you'll love this. It's nice to see all the movies collected together. If you don't like Samuel Fuller then you won't like this. Read morePublished 19 months ago by DoodleLet
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