Eclipse Series 5: The First Films of Samuel Fuller

Discuss DVDs released in the Eclipse and Essential Art House lines and the films on them.
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justeleblanc
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:05 pm
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#26 Post by justeleblanc » Sat May 19, 2007 1:50 am

I've had a difficult time fully appreciating Samuel Fuller as much as most people do. Can anyone recommend a decent book or essays that may lead me in the right direction. For me at least, I just can't relate to any of the characters.

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agnamaracs
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#27 Post by agnamaracs » Sat May 19, 2007 2:22 am

Know what would go well with this set? The hinted-at reissue of Shock Corridor and maybe one of The Naked Kiss.

Seriously, though, it's awesome to see Eclipse honoring Fuller after giving Pickup on South Street the worst Criterion cover ever.

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Highway 61
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#28 Post by Highway 61 » Sat May 19, 2007 3:19 am

I'm guessing you haven't seen their latest hilarity.

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chaddoli
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#29 Post by chaddoli » Sun May 20, 2007 7:14 am

agnamaracs wrote:Know what would go well with this set? The hinted-at reissue of Shock Corridor and maybe one of The Naked Kiss.
and White Dog

ByMarkClark.com
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#30 Post by ByMarkClark.com » Mon May 21, 2007 10:53 am

It suddenly occurs to me that, after all these years, I SHOT JESSE JAMES will become the first Western released by Criterion.

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Harold Gervais
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#31 Post by Harold Gervais » Mon May 21, 2007 6:40 pm

Easily the best DVD-related news I've seen in some time. More Fuller is always a good thing. For my money few directors understood the raw power of the movies better than Fuller and he spoke more truthfully than most directors. This comes out 2 weeks after my birthday but I'm still looking at it as a major present.

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Derek Estes
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#33 Post by Derek Estes » Tue May 22, 2007 9:25 pm

Park Row was released by United Artists, and I imagine that MGM still holds the rights. Though I can't see them clamoring to release this themselves, I'm hoping that this could be released by Criterion.

Suzukifan
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#34 Post by Suzukifan » Wed May 23, 2007 5:01 pm

All hail Eclipse. Bless you.

Finally, Sgt. Zack is back. That performance has stuck with me for a long time. Finally.

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Via_Chicago
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#36 Post by Via_Chicago » Wed May 23, 2007 10:56 pm

frankkramer wrote:The most discouraging thing is that a box like this would seem to be the best shot we're likely to get at Park Row. Crimson and Underworld do have - as has been observed here - easy to see noir elements and with noir's increasing popularity seem sure to be put out by somebody. A few of Fuller's westerns and war pix have trickled out but its really hard to imagine a hard to classify Park Row ever getting a stand alone release.
It also doesn't have the sort of cult (in the sense of unavailability and scarcity) appeal of Wilder's Ace in the Hole, although it should. Park Row is a remarkable film, one of Fuller's very best, and it definitely deserves better. It is a greater film than the aforementioned Ace in the Hole (which is fabulous in its own right), but it's much less sexy a title for the Criterion label. That said, it may just be that rights issues are holding it up. It was one of Fuller's only independent productions.

BrightEyes23
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#37 Post by BrightEyes23 » Thu May 24, 2007 12:49 am

this is by far the most exciting Eclipse set release to date for me. partially because i don't own most of the titles, although inferior, from other regions like the Bergman or Ozu set, but also because of the complete surprise factor. while it was a safe bet that these Fuller titles would be coming to the collection sometime, somehow, its nice to see them finally being released and at an affordable price.

I bought a Sat. TV dvdr rip of Park Row off of eBay a while ago and I can express my agreement with the high praise most members have given it. One thing that hasn't been touched upon about the film however, and its something i feel is very key to appreciating the film and Fuller himself, is the passion that went into it because of Fuller's own passion about the subject: the newspaper industry. The only other film in his ouvre that I feel carries the same kind of passion is Big Red One, for obvious reasons.

Someone earlier asked for a title of a book that would help them appreciate Fuller's films more, and I cannot recommend enough his autobiography. Before reading it my interest in Fuller was tepid at best. I didn't consider him to be in the upper "ranks" of American filmmakers, despite enjoying Shock Corridor a lot and mildly enjoying Naked Kiss and Pickup on South Street. After reading his book though I was not only thoroughly entertained by the countless anecdotes about the filmmaking industry and WWII but I was just blown away by the passion and sincerity by Mr. Fuller. Upon rewatching his films after reading the book I gained a new found respect and enjoyment out of them. I now consider him one of the true maverick filmmakers period. Sure he might not be the most technically sound or have the most breathtaking mis-en-scene or montages, but his films just have this raw, real quality to them that sets him apart from some of the more "artistic" filmmakers.

filmnoir1
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#38 Post by filmnoir1 » Thu May 24, 2007 3:39 pm

I have to agree with many of you about the film Park Row. One of the reasons it is so powerful is because only a newspaperman could truly make a geniune and interesting film about the business. In terms of its pedigree it was a tremendous flop in its day, in fact Fuller spent all the money he made on Steel Helmet to produce this film. I don't think we will ever see this film in the home video market but if we do perhaps it could be packaged with other films about newspapers such as Front Page Lady.
In terms of thinking about Fuller, I have to agree with Scorsese that watching Fuller work is like experiencing machine guns spraying canvas. One last note for a meager discussion of Fuller see Andrew Sarris's book Directors and Directions 1929-1968.

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blowout
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#39 Post by blowout » Mon Jun 18, 2007 5:49 am

What about subtitles?
Currently none listed on website.

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ellipsis7
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#40 Post by ellipsis7 » Mon Jun 18, 2007 7:01 am

ByMarkClark.com wrote:It suddenly occurs to me that, after all these years, I SHOT JESSE JAMES will become the first Western released by Criterion.
Might YOUNG MR LINCOLN not be counted as a Western?...

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Matt
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#41 Post by Matt » Mon Jun 18, 2007 9:15 am

ellipsis7 wrote:Might YOUNG MR LINCOLN not be counted as a Western?...
No, unless your definition of "West" is elastic enough to include Illinois.

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ellipsis7
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#42 Post by ellipsis7 » Mon Jun 18, 2007 1:30 pm

Geographically, I agree, but perhaps Ford's film manifests certain tropes and conventions from Western genre cinema, if you get my drift?....

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tryavna
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#43 Post by tryavna » Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:09 pm

ellipsis7 wrote:Geographically, I agree, but perhaps Ford's film manifests certain tropes and conventions from Western genre cinema, if you get my drift?....
It's a good question, but thematically and stylistically, I don't think that Young Mr. Lincoln has very much in common with Ford's other westerns. It strikes me as being a light-hearted companion-piece to his other 1930's Americana -- most notably Prisoner of Shark Island and the Will Rogers films. For instance, Ford seems relatively uninterested in landscape here, and despite focusing on a legendary/epic figure, the film doesn't really go for an epic feel. No, Fonda's Lincoln is very much a variation on Will Rogers' persona.

EDIT: In fact, Drums Along the Mohawk manifests more Western "tropes and conventions" than Young Mr. Lincoln -- even though it's set even farther east!

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ellipsis7
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#44 Post by ellipsis7 » Mon Jun 18, 2007 5:03 pm

Not that it's a definitive classification, I've checked and J.A. Place has indeed put DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK in her Western Films of John Ford book, while YOUNG MR LINCOLN is in her NON-WESTERN FILMS OF JOHN FORD book, under the sub heading 'Americana', along with the Will Rogers films, SHARK ISLAND, GRAPES OF WRATH & TOBACCO ROAD...

Although clearly there are close relationships between Ford's western genre and Fordian Americana... for instance STAGECOACH is a biblical allegory as is GRAPES OF WRATH - both crossing the wilderness to reach the promised land etc.... THREE GODFATHERS recalls the Nativity etc... And YOUNG MR LINCOLN is something of a religious conversion from man to myth, with the law standing in for specific creed, and the sacrifice of the pure madonna-like Ann Rutledge a catalyst for for Abe's choice of the righteous path...

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starmanof51
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#45 Post by starmanof51 » Mon Jun 18, 2007 5:24 pm

ByMarkClark.com wrote:It suddenly occurs to me that, after all these years, I SHOT JESSE JAMES will become the first Western released by Criterion.
First DVD I suppose. There were at least a couple laser westerns - Silverado and High Noon. You could argue a point for Bad Day at Black Rock. I feel like I'm forgetting another, but maybe not. Point taken, though. Even if you were to include lasers, it's probably been about 15 years since they released a Western, which is, y'know, a lot.

TheRanchHand
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#46 Post by TheRanchHand » Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:25 am

I am not familiar with Fuller at all but am interested in these titles. Is there another director he is comparable to in terms of style/vibe?

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david hare
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#47 Post by david hare » Tue Jun 26, 2007 3:38 am

No. He's entirely unique in world cinema. No one else comes near him for the combination of directness of expression, highly expressive mise en scene married to a propelling energy at the centre of the narratives. Nor his utterly direct presentation of conflictual and ambivalent relationships be they men and women or whatever - Jean Peters and Widmark in Pickup, Ryan and Stack and Shirley Yamaguchi in House of Bamboo, Connie Towers and Anthony Eisley in Naked Kiss.

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zedz
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#48 Post by zedz » Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:58 pm

davidhare wrote:No. He's entirely unique in world cinema. No one else comes near him for the combination of directness of expression, highly expressive mise en scene married to a propelling energy at the centre of the narratives. Nor his utterly direct presentation of conflictual and ambivalent relationships be they men and women or whatever - Jean Peters and Widmark in Pickup, Ryan and Stack and Shirley Yamaguchi in House of Bamboo, Connie Towers and Anthony Eisley in Naked Kiss.
Well put, but in terms of stylistic transformation of genre material, originality of mise en scene and sheer energy, I think comparisons can be drawn with Seijun Suzuki. Maybe Masumura as well, but I probably haven't seen enough of his work to make that call.

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domino harvey
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#49 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jun 26, 2007 11:41 pm

Energy is the key word here. Fuller is the mad genius of US Cinema and his films are distinct and fun in a way few other films are. If you've never seen a Fuller film, you are in for a heck of a good time working your way through the back catalog!

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souvenir
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#50 Post by souvenir » Wed Jul 04, 2007 11:07 pm

It appears that the retail price for this was cut by $5, to $44.95. The official site still has the more expensive price, but all major online stores have the lesser amount. This is the first time I know of a Criterion release ever going down in price after it was announced.

So now it will be only $5 retail more than a regular upper tier release.

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