Sam Fuller began his film career as a writer in the 1930s, with his first directorial gig (he also wrote) I Shot Jesse James in 1949.
The films for which he is probably best known are Steel Helmet (1951), Pickup on South Street (1953) House of Bamboo (1955), Run of the Arrow (1957) Underworld U.S.A. (1961), and then Naked Kiss (1964), and The Big Red One (1980).
I got to spend some time with him in Telluride in (as I recall) 1981, and he was the very assured, cigar-chomping gentleman that one might suppose. He was also exceedingly nice and willing to share information.
Basically all of his film have an edge to them. Nothing wussy for Mr. Fuller.
And Underworld fits that to a T.
I mention most of above, as many people aren’t as familiar with his work, as they should be, and that work is essential in the history of the cinema.
What’s also important is that many of his films have been made available on DVD and / Blu-ray, so that his work may be appreciated and studied.
Now that Twilight Time has given us Underworld U.S.A. with a stellar new master from the gang at Columbia, we can check one more of this works off that “missing” list.
For those who haven’t experience the film, just go for it.
A magnificent Blu-ray, with quality extras.
Twilight Time’s resident monographist puts it all together beautifully.
“Fuller – ever the brilliant prognosticator – was able to foresee here, in the early 1960s, the awful confluence between corporatism and crime. He would offer the story to us as writer-producer-director, aided and abetted by the great cinematographer Hal Mohr (a double Oscar-winner whose fabulous career would encompass the likes of The Jazz Singer (1927) and The Wild One (1953), with an unflinching boldness that should serve as a model to contemporary filmmakers. … Martin Scorsese called it perfectly when he said, “If you don’t like the films of Sam Fuller, then you just don’t like cinema. Or at least you don’t understand it.”
Image – 5
Audio – 5
Pass / Fail – Pass
Upgrade from DVD – Absolutely
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