A no-non­sense ap­proach to the fa­ther

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS -

A FULLER LIFE Di­rected by Sa­man­tha Fuller. Fea­tur­ing Sa­muel Fuller, James Franco, Jen­nifer Beals, Robert Car­ra­dine, Joe Dante, Wil­liam Fried­kin, Mark Hamill. Club, IFI mem­bers, 90mins

They don’t make ’em like Sam Fuller any­more. By aged 12, he was a copy­writer on New York’s Park Row. By 17, he was crime re­porter with the New York Evening Graphic. By his early 20s, he was a screen­writer and pulp nov­el­ist.

At 30, he left it all be­hind to be­come an in­fantry­man. Hav­ing re­jected var­i­ous of­fers of desk work, he landed on the coast­lines of Africa, Si­cily, and Nor­mandy and was among the lib­er­at­ing forces at the con­cen- tra­tion camp at Falke­nau in 1945. He re­ceived the Sil­ver Star, Bronze Star and Pur­ple Heart dur­ing his ser­vice.

His war ex­pe­ri­ences would in­form his later work as a writer and direc­tor, but away from the front­lines de­picted in The Big Red One, he re­tained a keen eye for hu­man foibles and in­jus­tices: Shock Cor­ri­dor (1963) ex­am­ines the sticky re­la­tion­ship be­tween psy­chi­atric la­belling and men­tal ill­ness, The Naked Kiss (1964) dares to sug­gest that a small­town pros­ti­tute may be the only up­stand­ing mem­ber of her com­mu­nity, White Dog’s ex­am­i­na­tion of racism saw the film shelved from 1982 un­til 2008.

Direc­tor Sa­man­tha Fuller’s warm salute to her leg­endary fa­ther takes a di­rect route to its sub­ject. Fuller Sr’s col­lab­o­ra­tors and ad­mir­ers line up to read ex­tracts from his mem­oirs. Although pep­pered with archival footage and movie clips, mostly Sa­man­tha Fuller lets her fa­ther do the talk­ing.

One couldn’t say her film was in­no­va­tive or rev­e­la­tory ex­actly, but its no-non­sense ap­proach and gen­eros­ity would surely have played well with dad.

Bang on: Sam Fuller

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