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Archive for the ‘Sam Fuller’ Category

Lippert

A few weeks ago, I broke my glasses and began relying on an old (pre-trifocals) pair while I scrambled for an eye exam and new frames. Reading became very, very difficult. Not the best time to receive a book you’re really excited about. But that’s exactly when Mark Thomas McGee’s Talk’s Cheap, Action’s Expensive: The Films Of Robert L. Lippert, from BearManor Media, turned up in my mailbox.

Lippert Pictures (and related companies) cranked out cheap little Westerns like 1952’s Outlaw Women, along with gems such as Sam Fuller’s I Shot Jesse James (1949) and The Quiet Gun (1957). (They covered the other genres, too.) I’m a big fan of these films and was determined to make my way through the book with or without spectacles, holding it so close I risked paper cuts on my nose.

McGee set the book up very well. The first 80 pages or so read as a biography and history of Lippert and his career, from the theater business to film production. I had a working knowledge of the Lippert story going in, but was always coming upon something I didn’t know. There’s a filmography, arranged by company, that makes up the bulk of the book. And finally, there’s a listing of the Lippert theaters (the closest to me was in Chattanooga, TN).

red desert HS

What’s not to like about a book like this? It’s packed with information on movies I grew up with, movies I love. Rocketship X-M (1950). The Steel Helmet (1951). Superman And The Mole Men (1951). Forty Guns (1957). Showdown At Boot Hill (1958). The Fly (1958). The Alligator People (1959). House Of The Damned (1963). They’re all in here, and you’ll come away with a better understanding of what went into getting them made. Where I think McGee really excelled was in making sure the book, as informative as it is, stayed as fun as the films it’s about. (The same goes for his previous books on Roger Corman and AIP.)

copper sky

If there’s a downside to this book, it’s that the filmography points out film after film that you’d love to track down and see. You’ll find a lot of them available from Kit Parker Films and VCI, and others scattered here and there. Some of the Fullers were even given the Criterion treatment. As for the rest, well, happy hunting.

It’s very easy to recommend Mark Thomas McGee’s Talk’s Cheap, Action’s Expensive: The Films Of Robert L. Lippert. Now that my new glasses are in, I’m reading it a second time.

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This video from FilmmakerIQ.com may not teach you anything you don’t already know, but it sure is arranged and presented well.

Up top is Hank Worden and Barry Sullivan in Sam Fuller’s Forty Guns (1957) in CinemaScope.

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showdownatboothill scope title

John Knight just brought this to my attention. Olive Films has announced Showdown At Boot Hill (1958) for DVD and Blu-ray release in June. For me and many of you out there, a widescreen presentation of a Regalscope picture is a dream come true. To be able to enjoy every bargain-basement, black-and-white Scope detail in high-definition is icing on the cake.

70814_largeShowdown stars Charles Bronson, Robert Hutton, John Carradine, Carole Mathews and Argentina Brunetti. It’s a very early lead for Bronson — his TV show Man With A Camera would debut in late 1958. Director Gene Fowler Jr. worked as an editor for the bulk of his career, cutting everything from Sam Fuller’s Forty Guns (1957) and Monte Walsh (1970) to Gilligan’s Island and The Waltons. The screenplay is by Louis Vittes, who also wrote I Married A Monster From Outer Space (1958) and a number of episodes of Rawhide.

Olive Films also has the rights to Ambush At Cimarron Pass (1958), a Regalscope starring Scott Brady, Margia Dean and Clint Eastwood. Let’s hope it’s not far behind.

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August 12th would’ve been Samuel Fuller’s 100th birthday, and the Aero in Santa Monica is paying tribute with three double bills. Friday’s is The Shock Corridor (1963) and Forty Guns (1957). Just seeing the title sequence on a big screen is worth price of admission.

Sorry about the short notice, but things move fast with Fuller.

Friday, August 24
7:30pm

Aero Theatre
1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90403

“It’s not even really a Western. I don’t know what it is… Forty Guns doesn’t care.” — Martin Scorsese.

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Both barrels, part 2.

Henry Cabot Beck of True West Magazine brought this to my attention. The through-the-gun-barrel shot had been used in William Wellman’s Yellow Sky back in 1948, predating Fuller’s Forty Guns by nine years. That’s Gregory Peck, and Anne Baxter’s got the bead on him. I’d completely forgotten about it.

Since they’re both Fox pictures, wonder if the Yellow Sky effect/matte/whatever was simply drug out and dusted off for Forty Guns? “Hey Sam, what about this? Worked last time.”

Thanks for the tip, Henry.

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Both barrels.

Samuel Fuller’s Forty Guns (1957) is one of the most visually stunning films I’ve ever seen. Long takes. Mile-long tracking shots. Odd angles. Extreme close-ups in CinemaScope (certainly noticed by Sergio Leone). All in very noir-ish black & white, courtesy of cinematographer Joseph Biroc. Every time I see it, I’m blown away by something new.

It’s a picture that has been listed as an influence by all sorts of people.

But there’s a certain shot, as Gene Barry looks through a gun barrel at the gunsmith’s daughter (Eve Brent), that must’ve made an impression on a handful of English guys in the early 60s.

From the second James Bond film, From Russia With Love (1964).

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Just saw that Gene Barry has passed away.

So many people think of Gene Barry as either Bat Masterson or Amos Burke — or for starring in War Of The Worlds (1953). That’s all good stuff. But around here, we’re big on Samuel Fuller’s Forty Guns (1957).

You can read his obituary here.

That’s Barry on the right, along with Barry Sullivan and Robert Dix.

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