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"She commands and men obey." The line, from a ballad sung in Samuel Fuller's feverish western Forty Guns (1957), is addressed to the formidable, black-clad dragoon leader played by Barbara Stanwyck, 50 when the film was released. Yet the lyric also pinpoints the most defining quality of one of cinema's most versatile performers, as adept in oaters as in pre-Code pulp, screwball comedy, film noir, and melodrama. Few actresses from Hollywood's golden age had as much range; fewer still worked as long and as consistently as Stanwyck, who died in 1990 at age 82.
Fuller's movie is just one of 40 (roughly half of Stanwyck's output; she made her last film in 1964 and then kept busy on TV) on view in Film Forum's tribute, occasioned by the publication of Victoria Wilson's behem »
It is always an exciting day when Eureka Entertainment announces their upcoming titles for its Masters of Cinema series, and with today's announcement, they might have just outdone themselves. Sidney Lumet's seminal police thriller, Serpico, starring a top-of-his-game Al Pacino leads the pack, followed by William A. Wellman's silent classic Wings, Ted Kotcheff's brilliantly bizarre Australian outback nightmare, Wake In Fright and Sam Fuller's racially charged White Dog. We will also see Andrew Bujalski's delightfully eccentric Computer Chess released on the label, as well as Francesco Rosi's Hands Over The City, which arrives alongside Federico Fellini's love letter to his home city, Roma. As a little cherry on the top of their already gloriously glazed announcement, Eureka annouced that they will be releasing Robert Altman's ensemble epic,...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Every year, we here at Sound On Sight celebrate the month of October with 31 Days of Horror; and every year, I update the list of my favourite horror films ever made. Last year, I released a list that included 150 picks. This year, I’ll be upgrading the list, making minor alterations, changing the rankings, adding new entries, and possibly removing a few titles. I’ve also decided to publish each post backwards this time for one reason: the new additions appear lower on my list, whereas my top 50 haven’t changed much, except for maybe in ranking. Enjoy!
Written and directed by Samuel Fuller
Shock Corridor stars Peter Breck as Johnny Barrett, an ambitious reporter who wants to expose the killer at the local insane asylum. To solve the case, he must pretend to be insane so they have him committed. Once in the asylum, »
A far-off scream turns into a cackle of deranged laughter. Hands reach out through steel bars. Straitjacketed crazies cower in padded cells; lights flicker on and off down endless maze-like corridors; groans and whispers echo through the shadows—is there anywhere that exerts a stronger pull over the darker recesses of our cinematic imaginations than the insane asylum? Film has a unique facility to portray impressionistic, subjective states—dreams, nightmares, memories, aspirations—and therefore, of course, madness, because what is madness other than being inescapably trapped in a totally subjective reality? So it's no wonder there's long been a filmic fascination with the subject, and within the storied tradition of films set, wholly or partially, in psychiatric institutions, a particularly seminal entry celebrates its 50th anniversary this very day—Sam Fuller's exploitation classic "Shock Corridor." The schlocky tale of a Pulitzer Prize-hungry journalist who goes undercover in a »
- Jessica Kiang
Like most right-minded film fans we're big fans of Sam Fuller (check out our list of essential films from the director). Kicking of his career as a crime reporter and novelist, Fuller soon found his way to Hollywood and after serving in World War Two as an infantryman, became a film director. Generally favoring low-budget and independently-produced pictures, but not averse to working within the studio system (he had a good relationship with Daryl Zanuck), he knocked out a string of genre classics — from "Pickup On South Street" and "Forty Guns" to "Shock Corridor" and his epic autobiographical masterpiece "The Big Red One" — that quietly influenced many of your favourite directors. So to say we were excited to see "A Fuller Life" tucked away in the Venice program would be an understatement. Directed by the great filmmaker's daughter Samantha, a former glass artist, it promised to dig into the man's fascinating life and tremendous work, »
- Oliver Lyttelton
The documentary “A Fuller Life,” which screens here Sunday and Tuesday, includes never-seen footage that ranges from World War II-ravaged families to scenes from a long-ago Venice Film Festival. In other words, the 80-minute film, about director Sam Fuller, offers insights into the histories of the film industry and of the entire world.
The pic is directed by his daughter Samantha Fuller, with every word coming from his autobiography “A Third Face.” The excerpts are read by James Franco, William Friedkin (both in Venice this year), Wim Wenders, Jennifer Beals, Mark Hamill and others.
Samantha Fuller began the project two years ago, targeting what would have been his 100th birthday (he died in 1997).
She divided the pic into three sections: His years as a journalist; World War II; and his filmmaking, both in Hollywood and in Europe, where he fled due to McCarthy-era politics.
The WWII segment, for example, includes »
- Timothy M. Gray
After watching John Frankenheimer's Seconds (1966) for the first time with this Criterion Blu-ray, I couldn't help but think of several previous Criterion Blu-ray titles that came to mind. Films such as Alexander Mackendrick's Sweet Smell of Success, Roman Polanski's Repulsion and Robert Aldrich's Kiss Me Deadly. You could even through in the feel of a Samuel Fuller film and even a little of Ingmar Bergman's Persona. For anyone that knows these films, that's pretty high praise and while Seconds may be better than a couple and below the others, the mere fact this film put me in the mood and mindset to even consider the comparisons is enough for me to say you really ought to give this one a look. Based on the novel by David Ely, I can't remember if Seconds ever gives us a definitive date in which it's set, but suffice »
- Brad Brevet
Douglas Sirk movies: ‘Imitation of Life,’ ‘Written on the Wind’ (photo: Lana Turner, Juanita Moore, Karin Dicker in ‘Imitation of Life’) Douglas Sirk is Turner Classic Movies’ Director of the Evening. The German-born (April 26, 1897, in Hamburg) filmmaker has developed a cult following in recent decades after his "women’s pictures" were reappraised by some critics as works of profound social criticism filled with auteuristic touches. Why it would take years (or decades) for people to realize the obvious is a little mind-boggling, until you remember that movies about women and their issues have been, for the most part, relegated to the sidelines. A stupid prejudice that continues to this very day. My statement, by the way, has nothing to do with yikesy political correctness; if you don’t believe me, just check out the Best Picture Academy Award winners or Palme d’Or winners or Golden Lion winners or Golden »
- Andre Soares
The writer and king of London psychogeography is curating a season of 70 classic and unusual films throughout his 70th birthday year, presented in cinemas and quirky venues across the capital. Here he explains the project's genesis
Approaching a birthday I had no particular desire to record or commemorate, I was seduced by an enticing offer: the opportunity to nominate 70 films, one for each year survived. The man floating this folly across the table of the Little Georgia restaurant on Hackney's Goldsmith's Row was Paul Smith, underground impresario and secret magus of King Mob, Blast First, Disobey, and other shortlived but potent cultural manifestations. We had some previous, through a series of spoken-word CDs involving Ken Kesey, Charles Bukowski, the Black Panthers, Stewart Home. The CDs existed and I had copies to prove it, but they never really made the transit from warehouse to retail counter. I had performed, under Paul's promotion, »
- Iain Sinclair
Every time I see a Jean Grémillon film, I write about it for The Forgotten. I'm now going to break with tradition slightly, because thanks to the Edinburgh Film Festival's Grémillon retrospective, subtitled Symphonies of Life, I've now seen too many films to catch up on except through a kind of overview, which I will now attempt. I should stress that the retrospective isn't over yet, I haven't been able to see all of it, and anyway there are some films not showing. So this should be considered a work in progress.
Between La petite Lise (1930), which deserves to be considered alongside Lang's M when early sound cinema is discussed, and Gueule d'amour (1937), a magnificent melodrama that works along far more stylistically conventional lines, it's been hard to see exactly what kind of filmmaker Grémillon is. A great one, certainly, but what qualities unite his work?
This is now a bit clearer to me. »
So, Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England screened on Film4 on Friday night (and saw simultaneous release on DVD, VOD and in cinemas the same day, officially making 5th July A Field in England Day). It was predictably horrifying, weird, blackly comic and damn unsettling, and featured a wonderful turn from The League of Gentleman’s Reece Shearsmith as a snivelling deserter and bookworm. Twitter lit up in bewilderment, those new to Wheatley’s work having tuned into the culmination of Film4’s Ben Wheatley season only to find something abstruse yet oddly bewitching. In short, they were met with a typical Ben Wheatley film.
- Flickering Myth
Written by Samuel Fuller
Directed by Samuel Fuller
In the aftermath of the Second World War, the major international powers and their smaller, less imposing friends aligned themselves along two extremely divisive ideological lines: the Western pro-capitalists and the Eastern Bloc, the latter driven by a bastardized version of communism. The present column shan’t delve into lessons of political or economic history of the mid-twentieth century, save to mention the above detail and tie it into film noir. So much has been written and said about the aftermath of WWII and its impact on American cinema in the 1940s and 1950s that stumbling upon a noir film which directly relates to the terrible red scare that afflicted the United States in the aforementioned decades (and then some) comes as a surprise for the simple reason that fewer exist than one might come to expect. »
- Edgar Chaput
Prolific television and film director whose output included the internationally successful 1983 drama Kennedy
Jim Goddard, who has died aged 77, was among the most prolific and distinguished television drama directors of his generation. Bleak and violent atmosphere and vivid characterisation were the hallmarks of his more than 200 distinctive works over the course of four decades. His Kennedy (1983) was shown simultaneously on Us network television, in the UK and Germany, and achieved the highest recorded viewing figures to that date for a televised drama.
Goddard's work included the 13-part drama Fox (1980), Reilly: Ace of Spies (1983) and The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1982), the early Channel 4 version of the RSC production. The power and visual immediacy of his directorial style owed as much to arthouse film as it did to his abilities as a painter. Indeed, he never forsook painting, which he studied at the Slade in London, or his love of set design, »
- Reg Gadney
Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Hansel & Gretel Get Baked Gretel (Molly Quinn) and her boyfriend have a case of the munchies and decide to bake some treats, but knowing they’ll have to wait for the goodies to be done they decide he should head out for more weed. He decides to seek out the city’s newest strain, “Black Forest,” and goes straight to the source… a little old lady (Lara Flynn Boyle) with a green thumb and witchy tendencies. When he disappears it’s up to Gretel and her brother Hansel to get to the bottom of this nasty little fairy tale. Low expectations can never really hurt a movie (unless they cause you not to see it in the first place), but they still can’t be solely credited with my enjoyment of this horror comedy. Some »
- Rob Hunter
Charles Ardai: In 2005, Hard Case Crime was fortunate enough to get to publish a new book by Stephen King called The Colorado Kid. We stayed in touch on and off over the next 8 years, and at one point Steve sent me email saying he’d just finished writing another book he thought might be right for us, and would I like to take a look. Would I? I’d have walked »
- Amanda Dyar
It’s Friday and a long holiday weekend is just around the corner. Why not start it off right with a couple of cool documentaries on a couple of cool directors? After all, the new season “Arrested Development” doesn’t come until Sunday, so you've got some time. First up is a two-part documentary -- nearly 100 minutes total -- on John Cassavetes, “Anything For John.” It features interviews from many key collaborators like his wife/muse Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk and Seymour Cassel and focuses as much on his films as it does on the man himself. It’s a hugely informative film that we’d recommend for both Cassavetes fans and newbies alike. Next is a nearly hour-long documentary -- “The Typewriter, The Rifle and the Movie Camera” -- that focuses on “Shock Corridor” and “The Naked Kiss” director Samuel Fuller. Beginning from his time as a reporter, continuing »
- Cain Rodriguez
Bullets Don't Argue! week concludes at Trailers from Hell with director and Tfh creator Joe Dante introducing Peter Bogdanovich's harrowing directorial debut, "Targets."“Targets” was made independently and sold to Paramount, becoming an effective calling card for his career in the majors. In the wake of the rash of 1968 political assassinations the studio got cold feet and slapped on a misjudged gun control card at the beginning. Bogdanovich plays a film director named Sammy Michaels in tribute to Samuel Fuller, whose middle name was Michael and who refused screen credit for his contributions to the screenplay. This reissue trailer leans heavily on the director's "The Last Picture Show" fame. The original trailer can be seen here. It could almost have been assembled right after Sandy Hook by the Brady Campaign. »
- Trailers From Hell
Our astute managing editor, Erik Davis, spotted another great find at Tumblr fave Cinephilia and Beyond. Shannon Davis' 2006 documentary Edge of Outside is an hour-long, in-depth look at the history of independent cinema, celebrating the genre's hallmark directors: John Cassavetes, Peter Bogdanovich, Roger Corman and more. Davis interviewed Hollywood heavy hitters like Martin Scorsese, who shares great stories about filmmakers like Sam Fuller. The Steel Helmet director made pictures at major studios like Fox and Columbia that didn't look like studio films and had a "pure, singular way of seeing the world." Scorsese also explains that the spirit of indie filmmaking was alive in Hollywood during the 1920s and was nurtured by the system for a time...
- Alison Nastasi
LPs are arguably the music aficionado's format of choice – but what are the best movie moments featuring those hypnotic black discs?
This week's Clip joint is by James Arden, a writer and filmmaker who divides his time between London and York. Visit his website or follow him on twitter @jnarden. If you've got an idea for a future Clip joint, drop an email to email@example.com.
The image of the needle on the spinning record, and the accompanying crackling sound, offers a unique visual and auditory opportunity for filmmakers to explore. It can build tension, create dreamy atmospheres, conjure memories or just look cool. Let's also not forget those unbeatable giant record sleeves. This week on Clip joint, we're looking for your best clips about vinyl.
Legendary Spanish-born international film and music icon has died Sara Montiel, also known as either Sarita Montiel or, at times, Saritisima, was one of the Spanish-speaking world's biggest stars. She died on Monday, April 8, apparently of "natural causes" at her house in Madrid's district of Salamanca. She was 85 years old. Earlier today, a cortege driving through the streets of Madrid was attended (and applauded) by thousands of mourning fans. Montiel was born on March 10, 1928; according to online sources, her birth name was María Antonia Alejandra Vicenta Elpidia Isadora Abad Fernández; her father was a small farmer and her mother was beauty products salesperson. She left behind her poverty-stricken childhood, spending her days in the streets of her small village while dreaming of Spanish film star Imperio Argentina, after moving to Madrid in her mid-teens. Diction and singing lessons followed. Eventually, she started appearing in films, landing two roles in 1944 releases: »
- Andre Soares
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