FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: July 17, 1997

Contact: Margot Gerber

Tel.: 213/466-FILM ext. 115

 

THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE PRESENTS AN IN-PERSON TRIBUTE TO SAM FULLER -- THE GREAT GRANDDADDY OF PULP CINEMA

 

Weekends August 1 – 30 , 1997

 

SPONSORED BY TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX

 

HOLLYWOOD – The American Cinematheque presents TWO-FISTED TALES: THE EXPLOSIVE CINEMA OF SAM FULLER, a month-long retrospective of the work of one of the most respected and revered directors of American Cinema. As a filmmaker, Fuller has influenced a legion of directors from the world over, including Quentin Tarantino (PULP FICTION), German director Wim Wenders (WINGS OF DESIRE) and French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard (Fuller makes an appearance in Godard’s PIERROT LE FOU) among others. The series, which runs Weekends, August 1-30, 1997, opens with a special 40th Anniversary Screening of a Brand New 35mm CinemaScope Print of Fuller’s FORTY GUNS (1957) starring Barbara Stanwyck. Fuller is tentatively scheduled to introduce the screening. Other highlights of the series include "A LOOK AT RESTORING SAM FULLER’S BIG RED ONE," a screening of the critically acclaimed war epic, THE BIG RED ONE (1980) with the documentary SAM FULLER AND THE BIG RED ONE (1979), which includes scenes cut from the released version! Also screening is Fuller’s "Lost Film" WHITE DOG (1982) with Kristy McNichol; a Brand New 35mm print of HELL AND HIGH WATER (1954); an Archival 35mm Print of THE STEEL HELMET (1951); plus ultra-rare television work and Fuller’s first film I SHOT JESSE JAMES (1949). The American Cinematheque continues its unique version of dinner theater on Saturday, August 9th with SAM’S SUPPER, inspired by the films of Sam Fuller. All screenings are at the Raleigh Studios Charlie Chaplin Theater. (5300 Melrose Avenue between Bronson & Van Ness) in Hollywood.

American Cinematheque

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, 7000 Hollywood Boulevard., 3rd Floor, Hollywood, CA 90028

(tel) 213.461.9737 u (fax) 213.461.9737

Now on the web!!! http://www.americancinematheque.com

 

By the time he was in his mid-30’s, Sam Fuller already had two careers behind him, one in journalism and the other as a soldier. His third career, as a filmmaker, began with his 1949 feature, I SHOT JESSE JAMES. His films are rich with reflections and experiences from those early careers. Born in 1912 (not 1911, as often listed) Fuller worked as a copy boy for Arthur Brisbane, legendary editorial writer at William Randolph Hearst’s N.Y. Evening Journal. He graduated to crime reporter at age 17, working for the infamous scandal sheet the N.Y. Evening Graphic and learning the ropes from female reporter Rhea Gore, Walter Huston’s ex-wife (and John Huston’s mother!) During his newspaper tenure, Fuller "broke" the suicide of Broadway actress Jeanne Eagels, along with countless murders, gang rub-outs and cases of arson. He would later use his reporting exploits in films like PARK ROW (1952) and SHOCK CORRIDOR (1963), among others.

Fuller began, scripting tough little B-movies such as GANGS OF NEW YORK and CONFIRM OR DENY, in the mid-1930’s, before joining the Army at the age of 31, at the outbreak of World War II. Fuller served with the 26th Infantry Regiment in North Africa and later with the 16th Infantry Regiment in Europe (including the Invasion of Normandy on D-Day, when Fuller landed on Omaha Beach.) He was wounded in action twice and received the Bronze Star, Silver Star and Purple Heart. His wartime experiences later served as the basis for his films THE STEEL HELMET (1957), FIXED BAYONETS (1951), MERRILL’S MARAUDERS (1962) and his autobiographical dream-project THE BIG RED ONE (1980). The characters Fuller brought to the screen as a director -- prostitutes, pimps, soldiers, assassins, gangsters – were people who lived on the fringes of society. His filmmaking style is an in-your-face combination of feverish dialogue, outrageously bold, pulpy, camera movements (including a nearly ten minute tracking shot in PARK ROW), and a relentless feel for narrative drive and pacing. Among Hollywood directors, Fuller has maintained control over his cinematic vision, writing or co-writing all of his films, and producing the majority. He even financed PARK ROW entirely with his own money. Love him or hate him (there are his detractors who still find his work "coarse" and "primitive"), Fuller has carved, alongside other iconoclasts, such as, John Huston and Orson Welles, a unique place in American cinema. After more than a decade of living in France, Fuller has returned to Hollywood. The Cinematheque tribute coincides with the celebration of Fuller’s 85th birthday on August 12th !

In Godard’s PIERROT LE FOU," Fuller says, "Film is like a battleground … Love, Hate, Action, Violence, Death – in one word, Emotion!"

WEEKEND 1: August 1st & 2nd

The Friday, August 1st program begins at 7:15 PM with a special 40th Anniversary screening of a Brand New 35mm Scope Print of FORTY GUNS (1957, 20th Century Fox, 80 min.), a subversively entertaining Western set in a surreal dreamscape in which nothing is motivated by natural laws. Fuller had to sacrifice his original title, WOMAN WITH A WHIP, for FORTY GUNS, but he kept everything else – from Barbara Stanwyck’s black leather dominatrix gear to the film’s naked gun lust (Her: "May I feel it?" Him: "It might go off in your face."). "It’s not really a Western – I don’t know what it is …FORTY GUNS doesn’t care." – Martin Scorsese. With Barry Sullivan and Gene Barry. Sam Fuller is tentatively scheduled to introduce the Friday screening of FORTY GUNS. (40 GUNS repeats on Saturday, August 2nd at 7:15 PM) Following at 9:30 PM is a screening of a 35mm Archival Print of THE STEEL HELMET (1951, Lippert (Weiss Global), 84 min.), a ferocious Korean War story about an Army sergeant (Gene Evans, in an astonishing performance that surpasses even Brando), who leads a patrol of green recruits to safety – in exchange for a box of cigars. Fuller broke all the rules (and made a small fortune in the process) with STEEL HELMET, which he shot in 10 days in Griffith Park which doubled for the hills of Korea!

The Saturday, August 2nd program begins at 7:15 PM with a repeat of the special 40th Anniversary screening of a Brand New 35mm Scope Print of FORTY GUNS (1957, 20th Century Fox, 80 min.) See the 7:15 PM program on Friday, August 1st for further information. Following at 9:00 PM is a Double Feature of two 35mm Archival Prints. First is Fuller’s feature film directorial debut, I SHOT JESSE JAMES (1949, Lippert {Weiss Global}, 81 min.), a weird, claustrophobic portrait of Bob Ford (John Ireland) and his few desperate minutes of fame following the shooting of Jesse James. "My story was about the emotional degradation of an assassin … about a man who killed his friend and what that did to him." – Fuller. Next on the same bill is THE BARON OF ARIZONA (1950, Lippert {Weiss Global}, 90 min.), starring Vincent Price as James Addison Reavis, a real-life con man and forger who nearly swindled the U.S. Government out of the Territory of Arizona in the 1800’s.

 

WEEKEND 2: August 8th & 9th

The Friday, August 8th program begins at 7:15 PM with a screening of the unreleased WHITE DOG (1982, Paramount, 89 min.) which has gone virtually unseen outside of a few retrospective screenings. The film is the story of "a four-legged time bomb," a powder-white German shepherd trained to attack black people. In a fit of inspired casting, teen queen Kristy McNichol (TV’s "Family") stars as the dog’s owner – but the film really belongs to Paul Winfield as an Ahab-like animal trainer, obsessed with de-programming the dog. Music by Spaghetti Western composer Ennio Morricone. Following at 9:30 PM is a screening of a New 35mm Scope Print of HELL AND HIGH WATER (1954, 20th Century Fox, 103 min.) with Richard Widmark and Bella Darvi. Fox chief Darryl Zanuck asked Fuller to prove that the Cinemascope camera could move, and Fuller responded with this gonzo submarines-and-atomic explosions flick. The jury is still out on HELL AND HIGH WATER: some critics (Fuller included) think it’s a high-spirited failure; Steven Speilberg loved it so much he reportedly carried a print around in the trunk of his car for years - !

The Saturday, August 9th program begins at 7:15 PM with a repeat screening of Fuller’s "lost film" WHITE DOG (1982, Paramount, 89 min.) See the 7:15 PM program on Friday, August 8th for further information. Beginning at 8:15 PM the Cinematheque continues its unique version of dinner theater with SAM’S SUPPER, a meal inspired by the films of Sam Fuller. Catered by Classic Cuisine for only $7.50! (Purchasing dinner is not recommended if you plan to see both the 7:15 and 9:15 PM shows on Saturday, as their is only a brief break between programs.) Following at 9:15 PM is a Double Feature which begins with FIXED BAYONETS (1951, 20th Century Fox, 92 min.), a harsh, often gruesomely funny story of a group of American GI’s trying to stay alive on an icy Korean hillside loaded with landmines and enemy soldiers. With Richard Basehart and Gene Evans. "This was the first war movie that had real casualties – the stuntmen would get a sprain or hurt an arm … so I kept them on the payroll and used them to play casualties! – Fuller. Next, on the same bill is a screening of an I.B. Technicolor Print of HOUSE OF BAMBOO (1955, 20th Century Fox, 102 min.), an insanely beautiful gangster film set in postwar Tokyo, with tough-guy Robert Ryan as a crime-boss who falls in love with undercover cop Robert Stack. "Lightning fast tracking shots, disorienting setups, bizarre compositions and dazzling panoramas …" -- Lee Server, Sam Fuller Is A Battleground.

 

Weekend 3: Friday, August 15th

* Please note that the Saturday, August 16th program is part of a different series.

The Friday, August 15th program begins at 7:15 PM with PARK ROW (1952, Sam Fuller Prod./U.A. (MGM), 83 min.) which Fuller self-financed with the profits from THE STEEL HELMET. This rough-and-tumble tale is about a two-fisted newspaper editor (Gene Evans, in his third great performance in a row for Fuller) struggling against a rival publisher. For added realism, Fuller built, (at enormous cost) an entire 19th- century New York street – and used it for one of the longest, wildest traveling shots in American film. Following at 9:00 PM is a Double Feature which begins with RUN OF THE ARROW (1957, RKO {Warner Classics}, 86 min.) starring Rod Steiger as an embittered Confederate soldier who turns his back on the U.S. and heads west to Indian country. "ARROW Has Some Zing!" blared the LA Times review. From start to finish, one of Fuller’s richest, most surprising movies, with stunning cinematography by Joseph Biroc. Next on the same bill is UNDERWORLD USA (1961, Columbia, 99 min.) a re-working of THE COUNT OF MONTE CHRISTO (look closely, you’ll see one of the characters reading the book!) into a much-twisted story of a small-time hood (Cliff Robertson) who takes revenge on the men who killed his father. "The last great work in the classic gangster tradition – the hero’s doomed trajectory, the ritualized rub-outs, the glistening, rain-splattered studio streets" – Lee Server. Plus, the ultra-rare UNDERWORLD USA theatrical trailer, hosted by Fuller himself!!

 

Weekend 4: August 22nd & 23rd

The Friday, August 22nd program begins at 7:15 PM with a screening of a Super-Rare, Color Sequenced 35mm Print of SHOCK CORRIDOR (1963, Ben Barry Assoc., 101 min.), the story of a journalist who goes undercover to write about crazy people and ends up going nuts himself. With Peter Breck, Constance Towers and Gene Evans. Pictures by Sam Fuller. Following at 9:30 PM is a screening of a 35mm Archival Print of MERRILL’S MARAUDERS (1962, Warners, 98 min.), the least-seen (and some say, the best) of Fuller’s great war pictures. MERRILL’S MARAUDERS follows the suicidal campaign of 3,000 American soldiers behind the Japanese lines in 1944. Fuller shot the film on location in the Philippines, and improvised much of it based on his own combat experience. With Jeff Chandler and Claude Akins. "Fuller couldn’t have crowded more action into MERRILL’S MARAUDERS if he tried" – The Hollywood Reporter. Plus, ultra-rare, Fuller Western television work, IRON HORSE: "The Man From New Chicago" (1966, Columbia/Screen Gems, 52 min.). Filled with outrageous, recognizable Fuller touches, THE MAN FROM NEW CHICAGO follows a railroad operator (Dale Robertson) who goes undercover to find his missing chief surveyor and discovers a hidden city of outlaws ruled by a femme fatale (Madlyn Rhue). With Gary Collins and James Anderson.

The Saturday, August 23rd program begins at 7:15 PM with THE NAKED KISS (1964, Ben Barry Assoc., 93 min.), in which a prostitute tries to go straight in a small town and winds up falling for a child-molester. With Constance Towers and Anthony Eisley. "In NAKED KISS, I maintained that no matter how low someone is in the depths of their profession – there’s someone lower." – Fuller. Following at 9:30 PM is a Double Feature which begins with CHINA GATE (1957, 20th Century Fox {Kit Parker}, 97 min.) in which Angie Dickinson ignites the screen as Lucky Legs, a latter-day Marlene Dietrich vamp leading a band of Foreign Legionaires (including her racist ex-husband) through French Indochina. "They say she ran an opium den, that she was mixed up in murder, that she caused a man to take his life …!" With Gene Barry and Nat King Cole. Next on the same bill is VERBOTEN (1958, RKO {Warner Classics}, 93 min.), about G.I. Joe (James Best), who marries his German dream-girl after the war, and gets caught up in food riots and the rise of the anti-U.S. "Werewolf" movement. Excellent fact/fiction mixture of Fassbinder-style melodrama with stark documentary footage.

Weekend 5: August 29th & 30th

The Friday, August 29th program begins at 7:15 PM with DEAD PIGEON ON BEETHOVEN STREET (1972, Sam Fuller, 102 min.), which was barely released in the U.S. The film crunches together 50’s-style pulp-fiction and early 70’s political paranoia into an ambiguous, hallucinatory whirl. Glenn Corbett stars as an American private eye sucked into a German blackmail ring along with a shady blonde (played by Fuller’s wife, Christa). "Quicksilver brilliance … odd tonal shifts and delirious experimental techniques" – The Hollywood Reporter. Following at 9:30 PM is a Double Feature which begins with "THE TYPEWRITER, THE RIFLE, AND THE MOVIE CAMERA" (1996, Independent Film Channel, 60 min.), a Fuller film bio directed by Adam Simon. Tim Robbins executive produced this look at Fuller’s three careers (reporter, soldier, filmmaker) with help from Scorsese, Tarantino, and the Great Cigar himself - ! Next on the same bill is PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET (1953, 20th Century Fox, 80 min.), about a pickpocket (Richard Widmark) who steals some microfilm that the Commies and the Feds both want. Sharp, atmospheric, unrelenting - - a fast subway ride through the Cold War. With Thelma Ritter and Richard Kiley.

The Saturday, August 30th program begins at 6:15 PM with THE CRIMSON KIMONO (1959, Columbia, 82 min.), an essential LA noir, shot on location in Little Tokyo, about a Japanese-American cop (James Shigeta) trying to solve the murder of a blonde stripper (the memorable "Sugar Torch," karate specialist) while dealing with his own racial hang-ups. With Glenn Corbett and Victoria Shaw. Following at 8:00 PM is A LOOK AT RESTORING SAM FULLER’S "THE BIG RED ONE," a program that includes a screening of Fuller’s dream project, THE BIG RED ONE (1980, 113 min.), followed by Thys Ockersen’s documentary SAM FULLER AND THE BIG RED ONE (1979, 75 min.), which includes scenes cut from the released version. Thirty years in the planning and two years in shooting, THE BIG RED ONE was released in 1980 to rave reviews (" a terrific war yarn" – Variety; "the classic American manner of making movies" – Time). Few realized, though, that over two hours had been cut from Fuller’s masterful epic of a grizzled Army sergeant (Lee Marvin) leading his squad across North Africa and Europe. Journalist Bill Krohn and filmmaker Tony Bozanich will speak afterwards about the possibility of restoring the complete version of THE BIG RED ONE in the near future. There is a Special Ticket Price for this event: $10.00 General/ $7.00 Members.

 

A complete calendar/flyer listing of these films has been mailed to you.

BLACK & WHITE PHOTOS AND PRESS KITS

AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

 

Admission for the general public is $7 and $4 for American Cinematheque Members. The Saturday, August 9th Sam’s Supper is $7.50 in addition to the admission price for the screening. Separate admission for each screening.

PRESS SCREENINGS

 

PRESS PASSES ARE NOT LIKELY TO BE AVAILABLE DURING THE FESTIVAL AS MOST SCREENINGS WILL BE SOLD OUT. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ADVANCE PRESS SCREENINGS.

 

 

A FEW VIDEO CASSETTES ARE AVAILABLE FOR PRESS PREVIEW AT THE OFFICES OF THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE.

VERBOTEN

THE BIG RED ONE

CHINA GATE

I SHOT JESSE JAMES

SHOCK CORRIDOR

Rocket Video has:

UNDERWORLD U.S.A.

Vidiots in Santa Monica has:

BIG RED ONE

DEAD PIDGEON ON BEETHOVEN STREET

MERRILL’S MARAUDERS

THE NAKED KISS

SHOCK CORRIDOR

STEEL HELMET

PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET

Jerry’s on Hillhurst has:

All of the above – except MERRILL’S MARAUDERS, plus

FORTY GUNS

WHITE DOG

 

v Please note that tickets to our programs can be purchased through THEATIX (213) 466-1767. Our number (213) 466-FILM should be listed for further information only!

 

Established in 1984, the American Cinematheque, is a non-profit, viewer-supported film exhibition and cultural organization dedicated to the celebration of the Moving Picture in all its forms. The Cinematheque presents weekly film and video programming which ranges from the classics and world cinemas to the outer frontiers of the art form at the Raleigh Studios Charlie Chaplin Theater and other Los Angeles venues. Exhibition of rare works, special prints within our series, etc., combined with fascinating post-screening discussions with the filmmakers who created the work, are a Cinematheque tradition that keep audiences coming back for once-in-a-lifetime cinema experiences.

The American Cinematheque is currently renovating the historic Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, which, when open in 1998, will become the American Cinematheque's permanent home and offer daily, year-round programming.

For information about this film program call 213/466-FILM. THE PROGRAM IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.

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