From Publishers Weekly
" `Hammer!' Hell if I know why that was the first goddamned word that came out of my mouth," writes cult filmmaker Fuller (1911-1997) in his autobiography's opening line. But "hammer" is an apt word for Fuller's abrupt, shocking style. With such classics as Pickup on South Street and Run of the Arrow, Fuller brought seriousness and art to the Hollywood B-movie. "I'm a storyteller," he proclaims, and this straightforward, unsentimental account of his life and substantial career is reflective of his film sensibility. The book details Fuller's early days as a journalist on the crime beat who wrote exposs of the Klan and later as a soldier in WWII. During his long career, Fuller wrote and directed 23 films, wrote another 16 and published 11 novels. Famous for his gritty stories with stark plot details-the bald prostitute beating up her pimp in The Naked Kiss; the asylum race riot started by a black man who thinks he's in the KKK in Shock Corridor-Fuller was one of Hollywood's most political filmmakers, and his memoir neatly conflates his artistic and political visions. Of Shock Corridor, he reflects, "It had the subtlety of a sledgehammer. I was dealing with insanity, racism, patriotism, nuclear warfare, and sexual perversion... my madhouse was a metaphor for America." Always energetic and often gossipy-he writes of his odd, intense friendship with Jim Morrison and how Barbara Stanwyck did her own stunts in Forty Guns-Fuller's last work is a joy and an important addition to film and popular culture literature. 171 photos.
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Ebullient and cantankerous, director Sam Fuller probably hadmore personality than anyone else in the movie business. It camethrough clearly in his films, particularly in the outrageously lurid,low-budget likes of Shock Corridor
and The Naked Kiss.
Happily, it is also fully displayed in his wildly entertainingautobiography, which with characteristic excitement recalls breakinginto Hollywood, describes the shooting of his 29 films, and relateshis struggles to continue working on underfunded projects in Europeafter the studio system died in the late 1960s. Fuller's earlier lifewas actually more colorful and exciting than his Hollywood years. At17 he became a crime reporter for a New York tabloid, at which hedeveloped his expertise in sensationalism, and later he took part inthe D-Day landing at Omaha Beach. He always saw himself as astoryteller first--he turned to directing to keep his scripts frombeing butchered--and his final story (he died at 85 in 1997) showsthat his own life was the greatest tale he had to tell. ((ReviewedOctober 1, 2002))Gordon FlaggCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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