The Films of Samuel Fuller: If You Die, I'll Kill You by Lisa Dombrowski

By Lisa Dombrowski

A cigar-chomping storyteller who signaled “Action!” through taking pictures a gun, Samuel Fuller has been lionized as some of the most special writer/directors ever to emerge from Hollywood. In such motion pictures as The metal Helmet, Pickup on South Street, surprise Corridor, and the large pink One, Fuller gleefully challenged classical and universal norms—and frequently criteria of fine taste—in an attempt to surprise and arouse audiences. Tackling struggle, crime, race, and sexuality with a candor infrequent for any interval, Fuller’s maverick imaginative and prescient used to be proven via Hollywood’s transition from the studio method to self sufficient filmmaking. Now, within the first complete account of all the director’s audaciously unique paintings, writer Lisa Dombrowski brings his profession into new aid. The movies of Samuel Fuller gains shut research of Fuller’s images and attracts on formerly untapped creation and regulatory records, script notes, and interviews to discover how inventive, monetary, and commercial components impacted Fuller’s profession offerings and formed the expression of his own aesthetic. fanatics of Fuller and American cinema will welcome this in-depth learn of a provocative director who embodied either the original possibilities and demanding situations of postwar filmmaking.

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Extra info for The Films of Samuel Fuller: If You Die, I'll Kill You

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I don’t like to shoot a scene from a close angle, medium, long shot, and then take it into the editor and see if we can do anything with it,” he said. “I want to see the excitement on introduction 19 Fuller laid extraordinarily long tracks during the production of Forty Guns—the length of Twentieth Century–Fox’s back lot—in order to film the characters of Griff, Wes, and Chico walking down Main Street in one continuous shot. Extended tracking during master-shot long takes is part of Fuller’s stylistic signature.

Similar to the strategy he used in the second segment of the opening scene, Fuller extends the situation through repeated cuts back and forth between the depth shot of the marshal on the street and Bob, contrasting the marshal’s stasis in the frame with Bob’s advance into the foreground, causing the latter to loom ever larger in the frame. Here, however, the depth staging, chiaroscuro lighting, and violent yelling of Bob Ford create a darker, more chaotic feel. The staging of this sequence presages the showdowns at the end of Forty Guns and Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street, each utilizing rhythmic and graphic editing patterns and contrast between stasis and movement to heighten the scene’s dynamism and suspense.

Illustrates how this technique contributes to Fuller’s desired emotional effects. Gus, an assassin, has been ordered to kill the daughter of a crime witness, so he runs the girl over with his car while she is out riding her bike. The scene is organized through ellipses, as medium shots of the girl’s head and shoulders on the bike, Gus’s head and shoulders in the car, the girl’s legs and bike wheel, and Gus’s car wheel are intercut ever more rapidly to suggest her pursuit. Increasingly tighter shots of the girl’s mother in the window watching her daughter’s race for life occasionally interrupt the chase, until the mother screams and closes her eyes.

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