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A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting, and Filmmakingby Samuel Fuller and Jerome Rudes and Christa Lange Fuller
Synopses & Reviews
In his new book, Samuel Fuller, independent director-producer extraordinaire, tells the story of
his life, a life that spanned most of the twentieth century. His twenty-nine tough, gritty pictures made from 1949 to 1989 set out to capture the truth of war, racism, and human frailties, and incorporate some of his own experiences.
He writes of his years in the newspaper business—selling papers as a boy on the streets of New York, working for Hearst’s New York Journal American, first as a copyboy, then as personal runner for the famous Hearst editor in chief Arthur Brisbane. His film Park Row was inspired by his years as a reporter for the New York Evening Graphic, where his beat included murders, suicides, state executions, and race riots—he scooped every other New York paper with his coverage of the death by drug overdose of the legendary Jeanne Eagels.
Fuller writes about hitchhiking across the country, seeing America firsthand at the height of the Great Depression. He writes of his years in the army . . . fighting with the first infantry division in World War II, called the Big Red One . . . on the front lines during the invasion of North Africa and Sicily, and landing on Omaha Beach on D Day, June 6, 1944. These experiences he later captured in his hugely successful pictures The Big Red One, The Steel Helmet, and Merrill’s Marauders, which was based on the true story of a three-thousand-man infantry that fought behind enemy lines in Burma in 1944.
Fuller talks about directing his first picture (he also wrote the script), I Shot Jesse James . . . and how, as a result, he was sought after by every major studio, choosing to work for Darryl Zanuck of Twentieth Century Fox. We see him becoming one of the most prolific, independent-minded writer-directors, turning out seven pictures in six years, among them Pickup on South Street, House of Bamboo, and China Gate. He writes about making Underworld U.S.A., a movie that shows how gangsters in the 1960s were no longer seen as thugs but as “respected” tax-paying executives . . . about the making of the movie Shock Corridor—about a journalist trying to solve a murder in a lunatic asylum—which exposed the conditions in mental institutions . . . and about White Dog (written in collaboration with Curtis Hanson), a film so controversial that Paramount’s then studio heads, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Michael Eisner, refused to release it.
Honest, open, engrossing. A must for anyone interested in movies.
"Detailed, colorful autobiography by one of America?s most creative filmmakers....Fuller?s life story, told here in scrappy prose, is almost more incredible than some of his scripts....An inspiring tale of a remarkable life." Kirkus Reviews
"[A] straightforward, unsentimental account....Always energetic and often gossipy...Fuller's last work is a joy and an important addition to film and popular culture literature." Publishers Weekly
"To say they don't make 'em like Sam anymore is an understatement. Outside of the pages of Horatio Alger, they weren't making very many like him when he was born....A Third Face will burnish [the] legend....It captures the unique sound of Fuller talking — growling, gritty, hypnotic...It is a lot like one of Fuller's best movies — fast-paced, easily readable but with the sting of harsh realism on every page. The man was an obsessive storyteller and here, posthumously, he has finally found and told his best yarn — his own." Richard Schickel, The New York Times Book Review
"[T]he inspirational book of the year, if not the decade....His life story, told in the punchy tabloid prose he learned as a 16-year-old crime reporter...seizes you by the scruff and flings you headlong into his harsh, funny, violent universe of independent filmmaking." Clancy Sigal, The L.A. Times Book Review
"A Third Face is a grand, lively, rambunctious memoir....Fuller's story...often substitutes bluster for introspection....Although some of this book...sounds politely homogenized, Fuller's trademark frankness generally gives his stories a no-nonsense kick. The best legacy to be found here is his frequent, passionate, oracular advice about directing." Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"A Third Face, like most Fuller movies, is a hell of a good yarn....His wartime experiences...take up a healthy chunk of this 576-page volume, and they are revelatory....[A] great read. I?m only sorry Sam isn?t still alive to plug his book on the talk-show circuit; he?d make almost any other guest seem dull." Leonard Maltin
"Sam Fuller's A Third Face is an extraordinary account of the glory days of Hollywood when passion ruled instead of focus groups and creative accounting. Sam was not only a brilliant director and storyteller, but also a heroic man who fought the real war as a combat infantryman as well as the war against the front offices of the studios. This book will move and excite you, and you will learn what Hollywood is really like from the inside and what war is really like (which Fuller portrays in many of his films). It is aptly subtitled 'My Tale of Writing, Fighting, and Filmmaking.'" David Brown
About the Author
Samuel Fuller was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1911. He wrote, produced, and directed twenty-nine films and wrote eleven novels. Fuller lived in Los Angeles with his wife and their daughter and died at the age of eighty-five in 1997. A Third Face was completed by Jerome Rudes, Fuller's longtime friend, and his wife, Christa Lange Fuller.
Jerome Rudes was born in San Antonio, Texas. He graduated from the University of Texas and received a master's degree in film from Northwestern University. In 1984, he created the French-American Film Workshop in Avignon, France (now the Avignon Film Festival), and in 1995 started the Avignon/New York Film Festival. Rudes lives in New York and Provence.
Christa Lange Fuller was born in Winterberg, Germany. As an actress, she appeared in New Wave films directed by Jean-Luc Godard. She graduated from UCLA, where she received a master's degree in French literature. She was married to Samuel Fuller in 1967 and lives in Los Angeles, California, with their daughter, Samantha, and grandchild, Samira.
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