Sam Fuller

“A film is like a battleground. There’s love. Hate. Action. Violence. Death. In one word, emotions.” – Sam Fuller/‘Sam Fuller’, in Pierrot le fou.

I Shot Jesse James

Sam Fuller | USA | 1949 | 81 minutes

I Shot Jesse James

“After years of crime reporting, screenwriting, and authoring pulp novels […] Fuller made his directorial debut with the lonesome ballad of Robert Ford (played by Red River’s John Ireland), who fatally betrayed his friend, the notorious Jesse James. At once modest and intense, I Shot Jesse James is an engrossing pocket portrait of guilt and psychological torment, and an auspicious beginning for the maverick filmmaker.”

The Steel Helmet

Sam Fuller | USA | 1951 | 85 minutes

The Steel Helmet

“Despite its relatively low budget, this portrait of Korean War soldiers dealing with moral and racial identity crises remains one of the director’s most gripping, realistic depictions of the blood and guts of war, as well as a reflection of Fuller’s irreducible social conscience. So controversial were the film’s comments on domestic and war crimes (American bigotry, the Japanese-American WWII internment camps) that Fuller became the target of an FBI investigation.”

Instead of the traditional “The End” the film closes with “There is no end to this story”.

Nick Pinkerton on the early films of Sam Fuller.

Run of the Arrow

Sam Fuller | USA | 1957 | 85 minutes

Run of the Arrow

Confederate veteran O’Meara (Rod Steiger) refuses to accept defeat following Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, renounces his family and the United States, travels west, joins the Sioux and takes a wife. Then the US makes its unwanted intervention into O’Meara’s new life, as the army build a fort on Sioux land.

Instead of the traditional “The End” the film closes with “The end of this story can only be written by you.”

The Crimson Kimono

Sam Fuller | USA | 1959 | 82 minutes

The Crimson Kimono

Two LA detectives (one white, the other a nisei – i.e. second-generation Japanese-American) who had earlier fought alongside one another in Korea, fall for the same woman whilst investigating a stripper’s murder in Los Angeles’ Japantown. She just happens to be the key witness in the case…

White Dog

Sam Fuller | USA | 1982 | 90 minutes

White Dog

“Fuller’s throat-grabbing exposé on American racism was misunderstood and withheld from release when it was made in the early eighties; today, the notorious film is lauded for its daring metaphor and gripping pulp filmmaking. Kristy McNichol stars as a young actress who adopts a lost German shepherd, only to discover through a series of horrifying incidents that the dog has been trained to attack black people, and Paul Winfield plays the animal trainer who tries to cure him. A snarling, uncompromising vision, White Dog is a tragic portrait of the evil done by that most corruptible of animals: the human being.”

Armond White on White Dog.