Eclipse Series 5: The First Films of Samuel Fuller

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Derek Estes
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Eclipse Series 5: The First Films of Samuel Fuller

#1 Post by Derek Estes » Mon Jul 25, 2005 3:17 am

ECLIPSE SERIES 5: THE FIRST FILMS OF SAMUEL FULLER

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His films have been called raw, outrageous, sensational, and daring. In four decades of directing, Samuel Fuller created a legendarily idiosyncratic oeuvre, examining U.S. history and mythmaking in westerns, film noirs, and war epics. And characteristically, it all began with a bang: after printing the legend with the elegant B-pictures I Shot Jesse James and The Baron of Arizona, he got himself into hot water with the FBI on The Steel Helmet, the first American movie to portray the Korean War. These three independent films showed off Fuller's genre diversity, gutter wit, and subversive force, and pointed the way to a controversial career in studio moviemaking.

I Shot Jesse James

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After years of crime reporting, screenwriting, and authoring pulp novels, Samuel 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 Baron of Arizona

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/product_images/268/2000502_box_348x490_w100.jpg[/img]

Vincent Price portrays legendary swindler James Addison Reavis, who in 1880 concocted an elaborate hoax to name himself the "Baron" of Arizona, and therefore inherit all the land in the state. Samuel Fuller adapts this tall tale to film with fleet, elegant storytelling and a sly sense of humor.

The Steel Helmet

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/product_images/265/2000503_box_348x490_w100.jpg[/img]

Despite its relatively low budget, this portrait of Korean War soldiers dealing with moral and racial identity crises remains one of Samuel Fuller’s most gripping, realistic depictions of the blood and guts of war, as well as a reflection of Fuller’s irreducible social conscience.

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Cinephrenic
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#2 Post by Cinephrenic » Mon Jul 25, 2005 3:24 am

Great news indeed! Now i'm wondering if we will also see Fixed Bayonets from 20th Century Fox that played here.

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Lemdog
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#3 Post by Lemdog » Mon Jul 25, 2005 3:38 am

Great news. I've been waiting for The Steel Helmet.

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Gordon
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#4 Post by Gordon » Mon Jul 25, 2005 5:07 am

Hmm. I'm a little sceptical about this for some reason. I can't quite put my finger on why, though. The Baron of Arizona doesn't sound like something Criterion would release. Of course, The Steel Helmet is great and I have been wanting to see again for years.

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Fletch F. Fletch
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#5 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Mon Jul 25, 2005 9:41 am

Yeah! This is sweet news if in fact true. The Steel Helmet is definitely one of Fuller's best. Now, if Criterion could only get their hands on Park Row.

DrewReiber
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#6 Post by DrewReiber » Mon Jul 25, 2005 10:11 am

Oh man, I can't wait to see The Steel Helmet. I thought The Big Red One was a refreshingly honest portrayal of war time, pulpy as it was. Anybody seen those other films?

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godardslave
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#7 Post by godardslave » Mon Jul 25, 2005 10:16 pm

Matt wrote:Sounds like a perfect box set to me.
yes, an obvious box set. not many people would buy The Baron of Arizona release on its own.

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What A Disgrace
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#8 Post by What A Disgrace » Mon Jul 25, 2005 11:27 pm

Only a few days ago, I had told a friend of mine that a Sam Fuller box was almost completely out of the question. Of course, I'm now wrong (at least, in that it isn't out of the question).

I also told my friend the same thing about a Victor Sjostrom box. Sigh.

ambrose1am
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#9 Post by ambrose1am » Wed Jul 27, 2005 1:00 pm

I would love to see the CC release THE CRIMSON KIMONO.

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Derek Estes
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#10 Post by Derek Estes » Thu Jul 28, 2005 1:32 am

It is unlikely for Criterion to release THe Crimson Kimono, because Columbia/Sony own it and they aren't on great terms with Criterion. I love that movie though and would love to see it released. The films that Sony own now are The Crimson Kimono, Underworld USA, Park Row, and as far as I now Verboten. I think ALL of these film need to be released, Underworld and Kimono, I think have the best chance due to the Noir elements. I would love it if Sony would look to releasing some of their films in the form of collections and boxed sets, I would love a Fuller set of those films, not to mention a Budd Boetticher collection!

In Heaven
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#11 Post by In Heaven » Sat Jul 30, 2005 1:54 am

I've only seen Shock Corridor and didn't care for it, are these worth a shot? Steel Helmet sounds interesting.

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Derek Estes
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#12 Post by Derek Estes » Sat Jul 30, 2005 3:21 am

I would recommend watching Pickup on South Street, or Underworld USA. if you want to become more familiar with Fuller's films. In many ways they are more accessible films yet still contain enough of Fuller's style to prepare you for his more unusual films. Samuel Fuller's films are often somewhat delirious, and I mean that in the best possible way. But, I think that those aspects of his films turn many people off, or they enjoy them as camp, which I think is blasphemy.

I really love the early films, but if you didn't like Shock Corridor, I would recommend some of his other films first.

I also cannot recommend enough, reading Samuel Fuller's spellbinding autobiography A Third Face. It is one of the greatest accounts of one man's life throughout the 20th century.

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Floyd
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#13 Post by Floyd » Sat Aug 06, 2005 3:42 am

I am really looking forward to these. It is certainly great to see two of the greatest American directors Fuller and Peckinpah getting their dues in 2006. I haven't seen these particular Fuller films so I will restrain comment besides saying I am eager.

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Jeff
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#14 Post by Jeff » Wed May 16, 2007 11:14 pm

Souvenir says this will be Eclipse Series 5
souvenir wrote:I Shot Jesse James (1949)

The Baron of Arizona (1950)

The Steel Helmet (1951)
mogwai wrote:Source?
Cinephrenic wrote:What a lame month.
Gigi M. wrote:
Cinephrenic wrote:What a lame month.
What? This is great news. More Fuller is always welcome.
domino harvey wrote:
Cinephrenic wrote:What a lame month.
R U KIDDING ME

This is AMAZING news, I applaud Eclipse, like this =D> and everything

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Cinephrenic
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#15 Post by Cinephrenic » Wed May 16, 2007 11:46 pm

Lol. I love Fuller, but I was hoping for some more releases, suprises this month. My personal opinion, nothing against more Fuller.

So...is the source personal or is there one on the net?

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Derek Estes
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#16 Post by Derek Estes » Thu May 17, 2007 4:53 am

Dude. This is like the best birthday gift Criterion could have given me. I shed a tear in gratitude.

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#17 Post by ByMarkClark.com » Thu May 17, 2007 8:51 am

Early Fuller! This will be a great set. I was kind of hoping the next set would be one of the non-director themed ones (New Wave, maybe), but we'll get to those soon enough.

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bjeggert82
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#18 Post by bjeggert82 » Thu May 17, 2007 11:17 am

This is AWESOME news. I've been wagging my tail in anticipation since they were alluded to two years ago. I can't wait to see I Shot Jesse James again.

Regarding the rumor about Fuller's White Dog... maybe that will be separate Special Edition release, now that it's not being included in a big Fulled boxed set with these.

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Cold Bishop
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#19 Post by Cold Bishop » Thu May 17, 2007 7:18 pm

Only 3 films? I'm glad to see these released as the next man, but for an Eclipse boxset to feature so little strikes me as odd. It's not even like the Bernard boxset, which has a 5 hour film. Either this is a cheaper than usual boxset, or Criterion has something up their sleeves as far as supplements go.

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Jeff
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#20 Post by Jeff » Thu May 17, 2007 7:30 pm

Cold Bishop wrote:Only 3 films? I'm glad to see these released as the next man, but for an Eclipse boxset to feature so little strikes me as odd. It's not even like the Bernard boxset, which has a 5 hour film. Either this is a cheaper than usual boxset, or Criterion has something up their sleeves as far as supplements go.
These three films are the only ones that Criterion has the rights to that belong in this set. Don't expect any supplements. The Eclipse sets are all priced in accordance with the number of discs they contain. The structure seems to be $10 per disc plus an extra $10 for the set (flimsy sleeve?, cover charge?).

Bergman - $69.95
Malle - $79.95
Ozu - $69.95
Bernard - $39.95
Fuller - $49.95 (the price is posted on Image's site)

fred
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2005 10:28 pm

#21 Post by fred » Thu May 17, 2007 10:40 pm

Jeff wrote:The Eclipse sets are all priced in accordance with the number of discs they contain. The structure seems to be $10 per disc plus an extra $10 for the set (flimsy sleeve?, cover charge?).

Bergman - $69.95
Malle - $79.95
Ozu - $69.95
Bernard - $39.95
Fuller - $49.95 (the price is posted on Image's site)
Methinks your math is a little funny. It works out to $20 plus $10/disc, no?

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Jeff
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#22 Post by Jeff » Thu May 17, 2007 10:52 pm

fred wrote:Methinks your math is a little funny. It works out to $20 plus $10/disc, no?
Right you are. I forgot to carry the somethingorother. That paper sleeve is worth more than I thought.

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souvenir
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#23 Post by souvenir » Thu May 17, 2007 11:59 pm

To me, this is the epitome of how vital Eclipse can be. Three films where possible available extras would be minimal anyway, all for just over $30 after discounts. Even though The Steel Helmet probably could have garnered a Criterion release by itself based on name recognition, the other two have been lying dormant, waiting for release, and are the first two films by an important director who still has several titles MIA on DVD. It's also the first English language Eclipse release and the first Westerns Criterion has put out in this format.

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Musashi219
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#24 Post by Musashi219 » Fri May 18, 2007 12:40 am

All I know is this is most excellent news. I had been hoping for a release of those Fuller films ever since watching the documentary about him that comes on the 2-disc edition of The Big Red One. With a retail MSRP of $49.99, DVDPlanet will certainly be selling this for around $30, which will make for an incredibly rewarding purchase.

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Floyd
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 10:25 pm

#25 Post by Floyd » Fri May 18, 2007 8:50 pm

This might just be the release of 2007 for me. It is fantastic to see these 3 films coming out.

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