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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gustaveii
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#51 Post by gustaveii » Mon Jul 16, 2007 1:44 pm

If anyone else is in the Chicagoland area, it's worth noting that The Steel Helmet will be the first film screened as part of the Siskel Center's Fall lecture series with Jonathan Rosenbaum. It's on the first Wednesday in September. I've not had the opportunity to see any of the three films in this set, but ideally I (and some of the other attendees) will have had a chance to catch up with Fuller's first two by then. I'm new to the city, so I've yet to attend one of these lectures, but I can't imagine it not being a rewarding experience.

soma
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#52 Post by soma » Tue Jul 17, 2007 7:12 pm

Hmm, I'm not sold on Eclipse. Personally I'd like to purchase The Steel Helmet separately.

Do the Eclipse films come with separate packaging / keep cases within each box set?
Last edited by soma on Tue Jul 17, 2007 7:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Musashi219
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#53 Post by Musashi219 » Tue Jul 17, 2007 7:18 pm

souvenir wrote: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.
True, but smart folks know to buy from DVDPlanet and such. DVDP just announced the listing for it last week, $29.95 - a steal for sure.

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CSM126
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#54 Post by CSM126 » Tue Jul 17, 2007 7:26 pm

soma wrote:Do the Eclipse films come with separate packaging / keep cases within each box set?
Yup. Slim keepcases.

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kaujot
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#55 Post by kaujot » Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:43 am

Saw this today in town, but didn't have the cash to snag it. Will be going back in the morning. :D

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souvenir
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#56 Post by souvenir » Thu Aug 02, 2007 12:58 pm

DVD Beaver review ("the image quality is not Criterion-pristine")

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Derek Estes
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#57 Post by Derek Estes » Thu Aug 02, 2007 3:31 pm

The screen caps look great to me, and should to anybody who has been forced to watch these films via multi-generational bootleg VHS for years. I can't wait!

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Via_Chicago
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#58 Post by Via_Chicago » Thu Aug 02, 2007 4:48 pm

Tooze is losing the plot. All of these look great, especially The Steel Helmet, a film whose elements are clearly still in pristine condition (I take it the other films, particularly The Baron of Arizona aren't as well-preserved). A friend of mine is convinced that Gary has never watched a movie on film (and if he has, he hasn't in a long, long time). After this review, there may be something to that.

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denti alligator
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#59 Post by denti alligator » Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:15 pm

I agree. These look fantastic. Gary seems to think these look sub-par, but he praises DVDs with questionable image quality left and right.

Can't wait for this set. Steel Helmet is one of my favorite war films.

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Matt
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#60 Post by Matt » Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:26 pm

I watched Torment from the Bergman Eclipse set last night. It had visible and often persistent flaws inherent in the film element (a tear here, some emulsion damage there), but the contrast and sharpness of the image was flawless. It was actually kind of nice to see a film-like image with all its inherent "shortcomings" after years of pristine transfers.

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The Elegant Dandy Fop
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#61 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Thu Aug 02, 2007 6:00 pm

Matt wrote:I watched Torment from the Bergman Eclipse set last night. It had visible and often persistent flaws inherent in the film element (a tear here, some emulsion damage there), but the contrast and sharpness of the image was flawless. It was actually kind of nice to see a film-like image with all its inherent "shortcomings" after years of pristine transfers.
I thought the same thing watching some of the Ozu's mostly Equinox Flower, which as obvious damage in the beginning and problems with the print and sound for about 30 seconds in one scene.

It didn't bother me though, because I got to see the movie. I think it's getting to the point we're being spoiled with special features and deluxe transfers.

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Matt
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#62 Post by Matt » Thu Aug 02, 2007 10:14 pm

The Elegant Dandy Fop wrote:I think it's getting to the point we're being spoiled with special features and deluxe transfers.
And I think we're already at the point of studios simply not releasing a title just because they can't find the (perhaps mythical) perfect elements to satisfy a public that demands absolutely flawless transfers. Ambersons anyone?

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Via_Chicago
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#63 Post by Via_Chicago » Thu Aug 02, 2007 10:18 pm

Matt wrote:
The Elegant Dandy Fop wrote:I think it's getting to the point we're being spoiled with special features and deluxe transfers.
And I think we're already at the point of studios simply not releasing a title just because they can't find the (perhaps mythical) perfect elements to satisfy a public that demands absolutely flawless transfers. Ambersons anyone?
I think there's more to Ambersons than Warners claim. I've seen their circulating print and it's very nice. If the circulating print is that nice then I can't imagine that the elements could be any worse.

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souvenir
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#64 Post by souvenir » Fri Aug 03, 2007 12:14 am

So, the Fuller set. I agree that the captures look great and The Steel Helmet looks on par with some of the best black-and-white transfers Criterion has put out. This set drastically helps fill in the gaps of what is left unreleased on DVD by Fuller. With the low price point (fifteen dollars per film even if you pay retail!), I'd hope this might be the best-selling Eclipse set so far. If they could have come up with relevant extras, you just know Criterion would have put this out in their main line.

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jbeall
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#65 Post by jbeall » Mon Aug 06, 2007 1:23 pm

BrightEyes23 wrote: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.
Just to add to BrightEyes23's post, Sam Fuller's autobiography is called A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting and Filmmaking.

Coincidentally, I was at a friend's house yesterday, and noticed this on his bookshelf. While my friend took a phone call, I opened the book and began reading, and wound up borrowing the book. It's excellent! Scorsese's intro is good, and Fuller's writing style is incredibly engaging. I was hooked on the first page.

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Via_Chicago
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#66 Post by Via_Chicago » Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:25 pm

jbeall wrote:Just to add to BrightEyes23's post, Sam Fuller's autobiography is called A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting and Filmmaking.
Some of his writings will absolutely leave you in stitches. His anecdotes about the making of his various films are fantastic.

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colinr0380
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#67 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Aug 11, 2007 10:05 am

DVD Savant on the set.

EDIT: DVD Times review
Last edited by colinr0380 on Mon Sep 10, 2007 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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souvenir
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#68 Post by souvenir » Tue Aug 14, 2007 1:33 am

Dave Kehr reviews the Fuller set for the New York Times:

[quote="NY Times"]In 1949 Samuel Fuller was a feisty former tabloid reporter and pulp novelist who, apart from his service as an infantryman in World War II, had been haunting the margins of the movie industry for more than 10 years. But he had somehow managed to convince the Poverty Row producer Robert L. Lippert to sink a modest sum into a film he intended to direct, based on a script of his own lurid devising.

Called “I Shot Jesse James,â€

TheRanchHand
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#69 Post by TheRanchHand » Fri Aug 17, 2007 1:49 pm

Found an early copy of this Eclipse in Los Angeles at a local chain. Watched Jesse James and was impressed. I had a chance to "preview" the others and was happy with the quality, though can see some of the damage discussed.

I actually bought this blind (probably because I was surprised to find it) but so far one out of three I am happy with.

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domino harvey
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#70 Post by domino harvey » Mon Aug 20, 2007 6:03 pm

Finished the set today. The films were all interesting, though as said everywhere else, only the Steel Helmet really feels like a Fuller film. Another solid Eclipse title =D>

SkipMcCoy
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#71 Post by SkipMcCoy » Wed Sep 12, 2007 3:42 am

Posted this in the filmmakers forum, but figured it made sense to add it in here, especially given the discussion on Fuller's writing:

I've seen a few things beginning to appear about this here and there on the web. A new edition of Fuller's 1944 crime novel THE DARK PAGE is due to be published by a UK publisher at the end of September, featuring a new introduction written by WIM WENDERS. I read the novel years ago (got it from the library) and would love to read it again - it's quintessential Fuller, steeped in his newspaper background and blasting along like one of his best films noir, with a great morbidity and dark cackling humour. Imagine one of Weegee's photographs was a book - like that.

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denti alligator
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#72 Post by denti alligator » Wed Sep 26, 2007 12:02 am

I love love love this set. All the films are fantastic. The Baron of Arizona! What a film. It moves from bordering on camp-melodrama to gritty western. I Shot Jesse James! Incredible. Forget the Brad Pitt film, go watch this.

I found both of these previously unseen films to be surprisingly excellent. I encourage all to get this set. It's totally worth it. The first two films may not be quite as brilliant as Steel Helmet, but they're pretty great.

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zedz
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#73 Post by zedz » Wed Sep 26, 2007 12:30 am

I agree. None of these (not even The Steel Helmet, I'm afraid) rank among my favourite Fullers, but it's still a great set to have, brimming with Fuller-esque oddities. The Baron of Arizona could have quite easily turned into a Bunuel film if Price had stayed a bit longer in that monastery. Now, who's going to release my favourite Fuller of the moment, Park Row?

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HistoryProf
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#74 Post by HistoryProf » Fri Nov 23, 2007 7:07 pm

Boy...I have to say that Steel Helmet is now atop my list of favorite war films...and Sargent Zack among my all time favorite war heroes.

Eat Rice!

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domino harvey
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#75 Post by domino harvey » Fri Nov 23, 2007 7:17 pm

HistoryProf wrote:Boy...I have to say that Steel Helmet is now atop my list of favorite war films...and Sargent Zack among my all time favorite war heroes.

Eat Rice!
if you haven't seen it already, you'll love Fuller's Fixed Bayonets!

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