Archive for Sam Fuller

Case Histories

Posted in FILM with tags , on June 18, 2018 by dcairns

    

    

  

 

   

With apologies to the shade of Sam Fuller and anyone else who may have been affected by this post.

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Steal from the Best

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , on May 15, 2018 by dcairns

Really enjoyed James Gray’s THE LOST CITY OF Z — I’m not sure how much it amounts to, but as an impressively classical, slow-moving adventure and as a bold departure from his usual genre, it deserves praise.

Three swipes.

An abandoned boat calls to mind AGUIRRE, WRATH OF GOD, though Gray doesn’t go so far to have it wedged in the branches of a tree, hovering above the waterline. That would be too much.A WWI battlefield sports a damaged statue of Christ on the cross — clearly a nod to the opening scenes of Sam Fuller’s THE BIG RED ONE, though this figure isn’t minus an arm. Again, that would be going too far. And, when Charlie Hunnam leaves on his final mission to the jungles of Bolivia, he leans from the train window and Gray cuts to shots filmed as if from his POV, tracking rapidly through the bedrooms of his wife and children. A blatant borrowing from the ending of Fellini’s I VITELLONI, a favourite scene of mine. I’m sufficiently impressed by the cheek shown, the obscurity of the reference, and its aptness, that I’ll allow this. Though I think Fellini’s decision to use train noise throughout his sequence is superior to Gray’s choice to score the scene orchestrally.

Fliegender Zirkus

Posted in FILM, Television with tags , , , , , on March 2, 2018 by dcairns

Tatort is a German cop show that’s been running forever. It can get pretty wild — one would suggest it had entered its decadent phase, except that they had Sam Fuller on it to direct an episode entitled DEAD PIGEON ON BEETHOVEN STREET in 1973 so one has to assume it’s always been that way.

Dominik Graf, maestro of the modern krimi, has directed several episodes. By chance, I obtained a 1995 show he helmed, set at the onset of a blizzard — the perfect viewing for this snowswept March. Decadence this time includes bizarre red herrings like a housing estate where butterflies never go out of season, and a series of references to Monty Python sketches. When the first one showed up (above), it made me momentarily wonder if the Eric the Half a Bee sketch was telling the truth and Marcel Proust really DID have a haddock. I wouldn’t put it past him.

And then we get this — 

Excellent plotting, as in all Graf’s stuff. I interviewed him once at the Edinburgh Film Fest but the stupid machine didn’t record.

Here’s how you do a great mystery, apparently: come up with a good crime. Then work backwards, disguising what really happened under layers of obfuscation, until you arrive at the inciting incident, which also has to be intriguing and unusual. I can never manage to write backwards. I start with a good clue, and then i can’t solve it, or else it leads to a disappointing solution. Backwards is the only way to go. If I could find a co-writer with the backwards ability, I could RULE THE WORLD.