Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) honors a celebrated writer, producer and director with The Collector’s Choice: Samuel Fuller Film Collection, the third release under the creative partnership between SPHE and Martin Scorsese’s non-profit film preservation organization, The Film Foundation. This collection features two of the acclaimed auteur’s notable films making their DVD debuts: The Crimson Kimono (1959),and Underworld U.S.A. (1961), in addition to five films written by Fuller: It Happened in Hollywood (1937, d. Harry Lachman), Adventure in Sahara (1938, d. D. Ross Lederman), Power of the Press (1943, d. Lew Landers), Shockproof (1949, d. Douglas Sirk), Scandal Sheet (1952, d. Director Phil Karlson).. All seven film have been restored and remastered and are being released on DVD for the first time ever. Bonus materials include: “Martin Scorsese on Underworld U.S.A,” “Curtis Hanson: The Culture of The Crimson Kimono,” and “Sam Fuller's Search for Truth with Tim Robbins.” In addition, “Sam Fuller Storyteller” explores Fuller’s life and filmmaking through the eyes of his family - wife Christa and daughter Samantha Fuller, and filmmakers Martin Scorsese, Wim Wenders, Tim Robbins, and Curtis Hanson. The seven-disc set will be available for $79.95 SRP.
About Samuel FullerSamuel Fuller (August 12, 1912 - October 30, 1997) is considered a legend and a maverick of Americancinema; his work is cited as an influence on the French New Wave (including director Jean-Luc Godard, in whose film Pierrot Le Fou Fuller appeared in a cameo) and such modern day auteurs as Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and Jim Jarmusch. The creator of a robust visual style, Fuller used a groundbreaking combination of deep-focus, hand-held and subjective cinematography to dramatically enhance the audience’s point of view.
Fuller began as a New York City crime reporter at 17, and his film work reflected on his newspaper experience; his pulp fiction writing and screenplays were noted for his tabloid-influenced storytelling. As a filmmaker, he depicted a grim portrait of American society and immorality and his plot themes focused on deception or hypocrisy.
In the early-1940s, Fuller served in the U.S. Army as a corporal in the First Infantry Division and was twice wounded in battle, receiving a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star for his bravery. Fuller's wartime experiences were a major turning point in his film career and influenced his writing for the remainder of his life.
It Happened in Hollywood (1937) was one of Fuller’s first screenwriting credits, a credit he shared with Ethel Hill (The Little Princess) and Harvey Fergusson (Hot Saturday). Fay Wray (King Kong) stars alongside Academy Award nominee Richard Dix (1930, Best Actor, Cimarron), who plays a famous Hollywood western star at a time when audiences’ changing preferences for Gangster films might imperil the Cowboy’s career. One of the most notable features of Director Harry Lachman’s comedy is a lavish party scene, featuring look-a-like doubles of top stars James Cagney, Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields, Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Mae West, and Ginger Rogers. It Happened in Hollywood has a running time of 67 minutes and is not rated.
Fuller provided the original story for Adventure in Sahara (1938), with Maxwell Shane stepping in to write the screenplay. C. Henry Gordon (Conquest) commands a detachment of Foreign Legionnaires with such brutality that he is sent at gunpoint by his men into the desert with a few loyal soldiers and scant supplies, to fend for himself or perish. He vows to reach civilization and return for vengeance. Adventure in Sahara has a running time of 60 minutes and is not rated.
Power of the Press (1943) is based on an original story by Fuller, with Robert Hardy Andrews contributing the screenplay for this tale of a villainous big city publisher whose quest for power leads him to pay off gangsters to act as his henchmen and kill anyone who gets in his path. Academy Award nominee Lee Tracy (1964, Best Supporting Actor, The Best Man), Guy Kibbee (Gold Diggers of 1933, 3 Godfathers), Otto Kruger (Cover Girl), Victor Jory (Gone with the Wind), and Gloria Dickson (Lady of Burlesque) star in this intense, hard-hitting drama for Director Lew Landers. Power of the Press has a running time of approximately 64 minutes and is not rated.
Fuller shared the screenplay credit on Shockproof (1949) with Helen Deutsch (The Loves of Carmen, Valley of the Dolls) for legendary director Douglas Sirk (Magnificent Obsession, Written on the Wind, Imitation of Life). Academy Award nominee Cornel Wilde (1945, Best Actor, A Song to Remember; Leave Her to Heaven, The Naked Prey) and Patricia Knight (The Magic Face), who were married at the time in real life, star in the story of a woman (Knight), who, after serving only five years of her life sentence for murder, is released from prison on parole. Her tough but tender parole officer (Wilde) tries to keep her from associating with criminal types, including her former lover Harry, played by John Baragrey, (The Loves of Carmen), and ends up bending the rules he’s pledged to uphold. Howard St. John (Born Yesterday), and Russell Collins (Raintree County) also star. Shockproof has a running time of approximately 79 minutes and is not rated.
Fuller wrote the novel which formed the basis of Scandal Sheet (1952), with Ted Sherdeman (Them!), and Academy Award winners Eugene Ling (1949, Best Screenplay, Lost Boundaries) and James Poe (1957, Best Writing, Best Adapted Screenplay, Around the World in Eighty Days) contributing the screenplay for Director Phil Karlson (Tight Spot, The Brothers Rico, The Silencers). The cast features Academy Award winners Broderick Crawford (1949, Best Actor, All the King’s Men; Born Yesterday) and Donna Reed (1953, Best Supporting Actress, From Here to Eternity) with John Derek (Knock on Any Door, All the King’s Men). Crawford is the unscrupulous new editor who boosts the circulation of a respected New York newspaper with tabloid-style reporting. Reed and Derek play the junior reporters on the paper who clash over the new editorial policy, but finally work together to solve a murder. Scandal Sheet has a running time of approximately 82 minutes and is not rated.
Samuel Fuller sat in the director’s chair for the first time at Columbia Pictures for The Crimson Kimono (1959), for which he also wrote the screenplay and produced. This taut film noir concerns two L.A. detectives investigating the murder of a stripper. As their search takes them through skid row, Little Tokyo and other atmospheric neighborhoods, the tension between the two cops rises to a boil as they both fall for the same girl.Fuller’s cast includes two actors making their film debuts: Glenn Corbett (Pirates of Blood River, Homicidal) and James Shigeta (Bridge to the Sun, Flower Drum Song), along with Victoria Shaw (The Eddy Duchin Story) and Anna Lee (This Earth is Mine). The Crimson Kimono has a running time of approximately 82 minutes and is not rated.
Fuller wrapped up his association with Columbia Pictures with the release of Underworld U.S.A. (1961).
Fuller again wrote, produced and directed, with Academy Award winner Cliff Robertson (1968, Best Actor, Charly) starring in this gritty tale of vengeance in which Robertson feigns loyalty to both the government (a federal crime commission) and organized crime in order to kill the men who murdered his father. This is one of Samuel Fuller's most visually striking films, based on a series of Saturday Evening Post articles, by Joseph F. Dineen. Underworld U.S.A. has a running time of approximately 96 minutes and is not rated.
DVD Special Features
Power of the Press includes:
Featurette: “Sam Fuller's Search for Truth with Tim Robbins”
Scandal Sheet includes:
Featurette: “Sam Fuller Storyteller” with Martin Scorsese, Wim Wenders, Tim Robbins, Curtis Hanson, Christa and Samantha Fuller discussing the life and work of Sam Fuller.
The Crimson Kimono includes:
Featurette: “Curtis Hanson: The Culture of The Crimson Kimono”
Underworld U.S.A. includes:
Featurette: “Martin Scorsese on Underworld U.S.A”
Academy Award® and Oscar® are registered trademarks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Press release issued by and image courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.