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First Films of Samuel Fuller
     

The First Films of Samuel Fuller

3.1 6
Director: Samuel Fuller

Cast: Gene Evans, Preston S. Foster, Vincent Price

 
Samuel Fuller was not the sort of guy who seemed like one of America's great filmmakers -- he was a sawed-off former reporter and Army veteran whose tastes ran the stuff of pulp novels and lurid magazine fiction. But for all his roughhouse populism, Fuller was a director with a keen eye, a talent for dialogue that always rang true, a surprising social conscience and a

Overview

Samuel Fuller was not the sort of guy who seemed like one of America's great filmmakers -- he was a sawed-off former reporter and Army veteran whose tastes ran the stuff of pulp novels and lurid magazine fiction. But for all his roughhouse populism, Fuller was a director with a keen eye, a talent for dialogue that always rang true, a surprising social conscience and a bold vigor when it came to telling a story. Fuller directed his first three films for the low-budget studio Lippert Pictures, and the Criterion Collection has brought them to DVD as part of their Eclipse series in a three disc box set simply titled The First Films Of Samuel Fuller. The set includes two idiosyncratic dramas set in the Old West, I Shot Jesse James and The Baron of Arizona, and the powerful Korean War story The Steel Helmet, which is where Fuller's pure beef, no filler style emerges in its full flower for the first time. All three films have been transferred to disc in their original full frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and look excellent (especially The Baron of Arizona, which was photographed by the legendary cinematographer James Wong Howe); while Poverty Row productions of the 1940's and 50's often suffer from poorly archived elements when they emerge on DVD, the prints used for these discs look clean and well cared for, and all three films have been given transfers that make the most of the images. The audio for all three films has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono and the quality is quite good, especially considering the vintage (and budgets) of these pictures. These films are all in English with optional English subtitles but no multiple language options. As is the custom for Eclipse releases, no bonus materials have been included for this set, though each film's slim case includes a short, well-written essay on the picture, and this certainly represents the best quality video releases of these films to date. While Samuel Fuller's work would get stronger and more audacious with time, the three pictures included in The First Films of Samuel Fuller represent a gifted director with a powerful vision, and anyone with a taste for his work will be pleased with this set.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
Sam Fuller was a rogue director long before the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Spike Lee, and Jim Jarmusch were even born. Working in Hollywood during the 1950s and 60s, Fuller wrote, produced, and directed films that displayed an uncompromising personal vision that never stinted on grit, realism, and confrontation. This fascinating box set brings together Fuller’s first three films: I Shot Jesse James, The Baron of Arizona, and The Steel Helmet, each notable for its individuality and against-the-grain sensibility. Working in genres ranging from the western to the war film, with such leading actors as Vincent Price and John Ireland, Fuller lays the groundwork in this trio of fledgling yet mature features for the subversive masterpieces that followed.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/14/2007
UPC:
0715515025522
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
4:22:00
Sales rank:
28,169

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- I Shot Jesse James
1. Dead or Alive [5:48]
2. Home [4:48]
3. Cynthy [5:09]
4. In the Back [8:37]
5. A Free Man? [8:39]
6. Special Added Attraction [6:56]
7. "Sing It" [8:16]
8. Creede, Colorado [4:49]
9. Soapy Strikes it Rich [4:10]
10. Hammering the Hills [6:15]
11. The Truth [6:58]
12. Frank James Come to Town [5:52]
13. "Turn Around!" [5:05]
14. Color Bars [:00]
Disc #2 -- The Baron of Arizona
1. One Rainy Night... [8:11]
2. The Baroness of Arizona [6:16]
3. Brother Anthony [6:33]
4. The Opportune Moment [5:14]
5. Monastery to Gypsy Caravan [8:45]
6. At the Castle of the Marqués [3:42]
7. Recognizing Love [4:06]
8. The Peralta Land Grant [9:28]
9. Visit From Griff [7:38]
10. An Offer [7:36]
11. Courtroom Drama [8:53]
12. The Real Sofia [7:01]
13. A Statement by the Baron [5:11]
14. Town's Fury Unleashed [6:32]
15. Another Rainy Night... [1:44]
16. Color Bars [:00]
Disc #3 -- The Steel Helmet
1. Sergeant Zack [10:28]
2. Driscoll's Patrol [7:58]
3. Two Singers With Burps [8:59]
4. Dog Tags [6:27]
5. Observation Post [5:30]
6. Short Round's Song [8:58]
7. Prize Package [7:55]
8. "I'm an American" [5:13]
9. Stupid Prayer [8:48]
10. Under Siege [11:21]
11. Swap Helmets [2:32]
12. Color Bars [:00]

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