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A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting and Filmmaking [Paperback]

Samuel Fuller , Christa Lang Fuller , Jerome Henry Rudes
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 2004
(Applause Books). Winner of Best Non-Fiction for 2002 Award from the Los Angeles Times Book Review! Samuel Fuller was one of the most prolific and independent writer-director-producers in Hollywood. His 29 tough, gritty films made from 1949 to 1989 set out to capture the truth of war, racism and human frailties, and incorporate some of his own experiences. His film Park Row was inspired by his years in the New York newspaper business, where his beat included murders, suicides, state executions and race riots. He writes about hitchhiking across the country at the height of the Great Depression. His years in the army in World War II are captured in his hugely successful pictures The Big Red One , The Steel Helmet and Merrill's Marauders . Fuller's other films include Pickup on South Street ; Underworld U.S.A. , a movie that shows how gangsters in the 1960s were seen as "respected" tax-paying executives; Shock Corridor , which exposed the conditions in mental institutions; and White Dog , written in collaboration with Curtis Hanson ( L.A. Confidential ), a film so controversial that Paramount's then studio heads Jeffrey Katzenberg and Michael Eisner refused to release it. In addition to his work in film, Samuel Fuller (1911-1997) wrote eleven novels. He lived in Los Angeles with his wife and their daughter. A Third Face was completed by Jerome Henry Rudes, Fuller's longtime friend, and his wife, Christa Lang Fuller. "Fuller wasn't one for tactful understatement and his hot-blooded, incident-packed autobiography is accordingly blunt ... A Third Face is a grand, lively, rambunctious memoir." Janet Maslin, The New York Times ; "Fuller's last work is a joy and an important addition to film and popular culture literature." Publishers Weekly ; "If you don't like the films of Sam Fuller, then you just don't like cinema." Martin Scorsese, from the book's introduction

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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 expos‚s 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.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

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 Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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First Sentence
Hammer!" Hell if I know why that was the first goddmned word that came out of my mouth. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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5.0 out of 5 stars Inherently fascinating reading for film buffs June 6 2004
A Third Face: My Tale Of Writing, Fighting, And Filmmaking by Samuel Fuller (with the posthumous and collaborative assistance of his wife Christa Lang Fuller and longtime friend Jerome Henry Rudes) features a Foreword by Martin Scorsese and and presents the reader with an autobiographical account of one of Hollywood's most prolific and independent writer/director/producers. The late Samuel Fuller (1911-1997) made 29 tough, gritty films from 1949 to 1989. His film "Park Row" was inspired by his years in the New York newspaper business. His years of service in the army during World War II provided material for his films "The Big Red One", "The Steel Helmet", and "Merrill's Marauders. From "Pickup on South Street" and "Underworld U.S.A.", to "Shock Corridor" and White Dog", A Third Face provides the story behind the films and the man who created them. A Third Face is highly recommended and inherently fascinating reading for film buffs and students of 20th Century American Cinema.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A helluva yarn of a life. Go have a copy! Jan. 14 2004
It was someone else's review that sparked my interest in this book. I even didn't know who this Mr. Fuller was!
Life is short, and I always look for suggestions from elder people: especially those who lived their life with passion and at full speed.
"If there's one reason to recount my personal history, something inspirational that I'd like my life experiences to offer you, the reader, be you young or young at heart, then it would be to encourage you to persist with all your heart and energy in what you want to achieve - no matter how crazy your dreams seems to others. Believe me, you will prevail over all the naysayers (...) who are telling you it can't be done!"
And inspirational indeed it is!
I warmly suggest you to read this book because it is well written, because the yarn makes sense, because it is enthralling, because it tells you a life full of energy, because it'll give you relief when you are in pain, hope when you're dreaming a better future, reasons and support while you fight for your ideals - like Fuller did, and not just in a metaphorical sense - and of course, because it's the author's true experience (i.e. it can be done - don't listen to the naysayers!).
It is possible to roughly divide this book in three parts: part one is when Fuller was able to work as a reporter in New York; part two is the tale of Fuller that chose to volunteer into the Second World War, infantry, that makes about thirty percent of an army and suffers eighty percent of its losses.
Third part (it makes up for more than half the book) tells of Fuller back from the war, when he had quite a successful career as a film director.
I'd just like to quote excerpts from the book, I think this is the best way to lure you into reading it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars He Did It His Way Nov. 30 2003
Among film historians and critics, director Sam Fuller has a disproportionately large legend for such a small body of work. If you exclude his early screenwriting career and his self-imposed exile in Europe, he was active as a director for only 16 years, from I SHOT JESSE JAMES (1949) to THE NAKED KISS (1965). But what films those were! THE STEEL HELMET (1950) is probably one of the two or three best war films ever made; and PARK ROW (1952) is in a class by itself as a valentine to American journalism in its heyday.
Hollywood autobiographies are notorious for settling old scores, and Fuller certainly had a lot of scores to settle. Coming into the business by way of writing, Fuller fought hard to keep his ideas intact through the shredding machine that was the old studio system. Film is a communal art form, and only rarely has the finished product reflected the vision of a single creator, sometimes because the filmmaker was a powerful producer/director such as Hitchcock or Ford, or sometimes, as in the case of Fuller's own SHOCK CORRIDOR (1963) or THE NAKED KISS, because no one was looking.
Around the middle of the 1960s, many of the independent directors such as Fuller, Orson Welles, and Fritz Lang found themselves drawn to Europe, where they managed to eke out a very few more films that were not up to their previous work. After THE NAKED KISS, it becomes painfully apparent in the autobiography that Fuller had little else to do but write, attempt to put together funding for (mostly) aborted projects, or receive the homages of critics and other filmmakers.
What makes A THIRD FACE such a good book is Fuller's passion as a journalist, soldier, and filmmaker. He never lost this passion, but to quote Gloria Swanson in SUNSET BOULEVARD, it was the movies that became small.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sam Fuller, Independent June 13 2003
An amazing man, an amazing life, an amazing body of work. Sam Fuller was the real deal, he lived the life of 10 men. As a boy selling newspapers, to being a teenage crime reporter to a writer of pulp fiction. At age 29 Sam joined the army, he turned down the cushy army journalist job to be in first infantry "The Big Red One". The book covers his fighting in N. Africa, Italy, and his role in the third row of boats landing on Normandy. Later, he went to Hollywood and directed films, his way, one of the first independent filmmakers. He made "Merril's Mauraders, I shot Jesse James, Run of the Arrow, Pickup on South Street and the Steel Helmet. In the 60's he made the classic pulp films "Shock Corridor" and "The Naked Kiss" ...
He was offered "Patton" but wouldn't do it because he though Patton was an jerk. He was offered John Wayne movies, but wouldn't do it because he thought Wayne was a phony. He had full control of his films, when that was a rarity.
In 1980, after 20+years of wrangling, he finally made the film based on his battle history, "The Big Red One" with James Coburn. Probably the most realistic WWII film out there.
Fuller died a few years back, unknown to many, but loved by those in the know.
Sam Fuller lived the life of 10 men and his book is the best read I've had in years, go get it.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Give that man a cigar
This is a wonderfully feisty book, the autobiography of Sam Fuller told (basically) in three parts - his years as a journalist, his years as a soldier, and his years as a... Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2004 by David Cohen
4.0 out of 5 stars Samuel Fuller Prints the Legend
Sam Fuller is a filmmaker unknown to most Americans, but for years a favorite in France, thanks to such fervid acoyltes as Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut. Read more
Published on May 5 2003 by Tom Moran
Samuel Fuller did have a full life and you read about it here. His details of his life while in the Army during WWII is one of the best as is his teen years learning the newspaper... Read more
Published on March 16 2003 by Brady Buchanan
5.0 out of 5 stars We need a guy like Fuller to come out of the sky
We need a guy like Fuller to come back in this age of corporate greed and fascism. That's the first thing that came to mind as I ventured into the first few pages of this memoir. Read more
Published on Jan. 23 2003 by brian loatman
I just finished reading this amazing book and have GOT to reccomend it to everyone! I was at first put off by it's length but don't let that fool you. Read more
Published on Jan. 7 2003 by Dwayne Epstein
5.0 out of 5 stars A Helluva Life!
Samuel Fuller was, depending on your outlook, either the director of a lot of fun "B" movies, or one of the seminal forces in cinema. Read more
Published on Nov. 9 2002 by S. Berner
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