A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting and Filmmaking Paperback – Oct 7 2011
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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 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.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
But Fuller was more than just a director. He had been a newspaperman in New York's tabloid era of the 20s and 30s. He was an infantryman on Omaha Beach on D-Day. He had met just about everyone worth meeting -- from Charlie Chaplin to Al Capone. And he is, as his autobiography "A Third Face" most eloquently demonstrates, a magnificent storyteller.
The section of the book dealing with Fuller's experiences in World War II make for amazingly gripping reading -- and I would like for people like Donald Rumsfeld to take a gander at Fuller's account of what warfare is really like before they send young Americans into combat any time soon. Fuller writes about war in all its hallucinatory insanity (as he waded through the blood and body parts to get onto Omaha Beach he saw a man's mouth -- just his mouth -- floating in the water), and it's not a story you're likely to forget.
His exploits in Hollywood, while not as gripping, are equally fascinating. Fuller clearly pines for the old days when moguls like Darryl Zanuck would protect a writer's vision and a deal could be counted on even if it was only a handshake. And while Fuller made his share of career mistakes (he turned down both "The Longest Day" and "Patton," for example), his filmography is an eloquent tribute to a man who wanted to make his films his way -- no matter what the cost.
The book is not perfect, though.Read more ›
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!Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
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... Read morePublished on June 6 2004 by Midwest Book Review
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 morePublished on Feb. 9 2004 by David Cohen
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 morePublished on March 16 2003 by Brady Buchanan
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 morePublished 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 morePublished on Jan. 7 2003 by Dwayne Epstein
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