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A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting and Filmmaking Paperback – April 1, 2004


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A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting and Filmmaking + The Films of Samuel Fuller: If You Die, I'll Kill You (Wesleyan Film)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books (April 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557836272
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557836274
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #191,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

" `Hammer!' Hell if I know why that was the first goddamned word that came out of my mouth," writes cult filmmaker Fuller (1911-1997) in his autobiography's opening line. But "hammer" is an apt word for Fuller's abrupt, shocking style. With such classics as Pickup on South Street and Run of the Arrow, Fuller brought seriousness and art to the Hollywood B-movie. "I'm a storyteller," he proclaims, and this straightforward, unsentimental account of his life and substantial career is reflective of his film sensibility. The book details Fuller's early days as a journalist on the crime beat who wrote expos‚s of the Klan and later as a soldier in WWII. During his long career, Fuller wrote and directed 23 films, wrote another 16 and published 11 novels. Famous for his gritty stories with stark plot details-the bald prostitute beating up her pimp in The Naked Kiss; the asylum race riot started by a black man who thinks he's in the KKK in Shock Corridor-Fuller was one of Hollywood's most political filmmakers, and his memoir neatly conflates his artistic and political visions. Of Shock Corridor, he reflects, "It had the subtlety of a sledgehammer. I was dealing with insanity, racism, patriotism, nuclear warfare, and sexual perversion... my madhouse was a metaphor for America." Always energetic and often gossipy-he writes of his odd, intense friendship with Jim Morrison and how Barbara Stanwyck did her own stunts in Forty Guns-Fuller's last work is a joy and an important addition to film and popular culture literature. 171 photos.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Ebullient and cantankerous, director Sam Fuller probably hadmore personality than anyone else in the movie business. It camethrough clearly in his films, particularly in the outrageously lurid,low-budget likes of Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss.Happily, it is also fully displayed in his wildly entertainingautobiography, which with characteristic excitement recalls breakinginto Hollywood, describes the shooting of his 29 films, and relateshis struggles to continue working on underfunded projects in Europeafter the studio system died in the late 1960s. Fuller's earlier lifewas actually more colorful and exciting than his Hollywood years. At17 he became a crime reporter for a New York tabloid, at which hedeveloped his expertise in sensationalism, and later he took part inthe D-Day landing at Omaha Beach. He always saw himself as astoryteller first--he turned to directing to keep his scripts frombeing butchered--and his final story (he died at 85 in 1997) showsthat his own life was the greatest tale he had to tell. ((ReviewedOctober 1, 2002))Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Samuel Fuller was, depending on your outlook, either the director of a lot of fun "B" movies, or one of the seminal forces in cinema.
S. Berner
He also saw more and did more than most of us ever will, and his book is a parade of many of the 20th century's most fascinating events and characters.
David Cohen
His details of his life while in the Army during WWII is one of the best as is his teen years learning the newspaper reporting business.
Brady Buchanan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Giancarlo Nicoli on January 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It was someone else's review that sparked my interest in this book. I even didn't know who this Mr. Fuller was!
Life is short, and I always look for suggestions from elder people: especially those who lived their life with passion and at full speed.
"If there's one reason to recount my personal history, something inspirational that I'd like my life experiences to offer you, the reader, be you young or young at heart, then it would be to encourage you to persist with all your heart and energy in what you want to achieve - no matter how crazy your dreams seems to others. Believe me, you will prevail over all the naysayers (...) who are telling you it can't be done!"
And inspirational indeed it is!
I warmly suggest you to read this book because it is well written, because the yarn makes sense, because it is enthralling, because it tells you a life full of energy, because it'll give you relief when you are in pain, hope when you're dreaming a better future, reasons and support while you fight for your ideals - like Fuller did, and not just in a metaphorical sense - and of course, because it's the author's true experience (i.e. it can be done - don't listen to the naysayers!).
It is possible to roughly divide this book in three parts: part one is when Fuller was able to work as a reporter in New York; part two is the tale of Fuller that chose to volunteer into the Second World War, infantry, that makes about thirty percent of an army and suffers eighty percent of its losses.
Third part (it makes up for more than half the book) tells of Fuller back from the war, when he had quite a successful career as a film director.
I'd just like to quote excerpts from the book, I think this is the best way to lure you into reading it!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By S. Berner VINE VOICE on November 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Samuel Fuller was, depending on your outlook, either the director of a lot of fun "B" movies, or one of the seminal forces in cinema. Nevertheless (to borrow a word he quotes in the book), it cannot be argued that he didn't lead one of the most exciting lives of the 20th century! His portraits of America in the 20s & 30s, Hollywood (and the world) in the 40s through the end of the century (or, close enough-he died in 1997) are brilliant, hilarious, moving, frivolous, and profound portraits of who we ALL are, and how we got that way. If you're a film buff, read this book! If you're an history buff, read this book! And, if you just want to read one of the most entertaining, enlightening, pieces of (forgive me, Mr. Fuller!) literature, READ THIS BOOK!!!!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Conrad Wesselhoeft on September 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"A Third Face" is one of the great crusty, caustic autobiographies of recent years. Fuller died a few ago, an old cigar smoker of pithy phrase, maverick tendencies and artistic courage. As a crime reporter in New York in the 20s, as a hobo in the 30s, as a GI in World War II, as a novelist, screenwriter and director of noir and war movies ("Pickup on South Street," "House of Bamboo," "The Big Red One"), Fuller was a force of nature, a no-BS realist who knew how to tell a story. The photo on the back cover speaks volumes: raised pistol in one hand; a camera lens in the other. Yet he was, at core, a powerful pacifist. He was a survivor.

Fuller's style is profane, anecdotal, street wise and hugely engaging. It's no wonder, since he was the young protege and buddy of hard-boiled writers like Gene Fowler and Damon Runyon.

Fuller's account of his "dogface" years as a G.I. in North Africa, Italy, France and Germany is one of the best descriptions of WWII Army life I've read.

Later, Hollywood studios offered him big money to make their blockbusters ("The Longest Day," "Patton"), but he turned them down so he could make little movies his own way. ("I make A movies on B budgets," he liked to say.)

Out of curiosity,I recently rented a couple of his movies. "Pickup on South Street," with Richard Widmark and Jean Peters, just crackled. "Shock Corridor," with Peter Breck, was ambitious but flawed.

Though I can't wait to see some of his other films, my hunch is "A Third Face" will stand as Fuller's single greatest artistic achievement.

In later years, Fuller became mentor to many young directors: Jonathan Demme; Tim Robbins; Jim Jarmusch, Martin Scorsese. It's clear from Scorsese's introduction that they idolized him.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Cohen on February 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderfully feisty book, the autobiography of Sam Fuller told (basically) in three parts - his years as a journalist, his years as a soldier, and his years as a filmmaker. Fuller was a colorful character, and he didn't mind raising a ruckus, something which makes for lively reading. He also saw more and did more than most of us ever will, and his book is a parade of many of the 20th century's most fascinating events and characters. My biggest regrets after reading this work are 1) that he didn't get more of his film projects on to the screen and 2) that so many of his books are out of print. If his other books are half as entertaining as this one, I very much would like to read them.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tom Moran on May 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Sam Fuller is a filmmaker unknown to most Americans, but for years a favorite in France, thanks to such fervid acoyltes as Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut. Such 50s classics as "The Steel Helmet" and "Pickup on South Street" made Fuller, along with Nicholas ("Rebel Without a Cause") Ray a favorite of the Cahiers du Cinema crowd.
But Fuller was more than just a director. He had been a newspaperman in New York's tabloid era of the 20s and 30s. He was an infantryman on Omaha Beach on D-Day. He had met just about everyone worth meeting -- from Charlie Chaplin to Al Capone. And he is, as his autobiography "A Third Face" most eloquently demonstrates, a magnificent storyteller.
The section of the book dealing with Fuller's experiences in World War II make for amazingly gripping reading -- and I would like for people like Donald Rumsfeld to take a gander at Fuller's account of what warfare is really like before they send young Americans into combat any time soon. Fuller writes about war in all its hallucinatory insanity (as he waded through the blood and body parts to get onto Omaha Beach he saw a man's mouth -- just his mouth -- floating in the water), and it's not a story you're likely to forget.
His exploits in Hollywood, while not as gripping, are equally fascinating. Fuller clearly pines for the old days when moguls like Darryl Zanuck would protect a writer's vision and a deal could be counted on even if it was only a handshake. And while Fuller made his share of career mistakes (he turned down both "The Longest Day" and "Patton," for example), his filmography is an eloquent tribute to a man who wanted to make his films his way -- no matter what the cost.
The book is not perfect, though.
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