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February 06, 1970 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-02-06

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THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Fririnv F +hri inrv Fi 1 9701

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f #UGy f CU UUf / p I ti / V

arts festival
Fuller films: Lessons in syrupy cinema

By FARGO BERMAN
Samuel Fuller's films use an
eclectic barrage of "B" movie
characters and stories and wrap
them up with filmmaking tech-
niques culled from the past and
future to punch your mind into.
a neurotic limbo. Fuller fin-
ished his schooling by age 14,
and had gained three years of
newspaper experience as a crime
reporter by the time he was 17.
His movies, which he writes and
directs, often focus upon char-
. acters and situations p e r f a c t
for headline coverage. In fact,
a favorite method of counter-
point in Fuller is a shot of a
newspaper headline; describing
- in its depersonalized manner
- events which we have just
seen happen in a "reality" that
is as emotional as Fuller can
make it.
The reformed prostitute in
The Naked Kiss comes to the
house of her ultra-rich husband-
to-be (Grant) to show him her
wedding gown. He is a lover of
poetry and music as is she; un-
fortunately the ex-hooker (Kel-
ly) .learns at .this moment that.
Grant also loves molesting little
girls - he wanted to marry her
because of her past; not in spite.
of it, since a .prostitute would
obviously understand his odd
tastes. Kelly' shows her feelings.
for Grant by fatally slugging him
with a phone receiver. Flash
to a newspaper. headline =-
GRANT DEAD: MURDERED
BY PROSTITUTE.
Fuller is very conscientious
about creating contrasts with-
in his movies. The Naked K i s s
opens with a fight between a
whore and her pimp, followed
by funny scenes about Kelly dis-
playing her wares and a bordello
where a madam named Candy
peddles her bonbon girls. Af-
ter a light-hearted look at
prostitution : we are confronted
with a child-molester and a
murder. And in Verboten!, a
brutal fight, climaxed by a fire,
is intercut with a happy do-
mestic scene.
The central characters of Ful-
ler movies are all non-heroes,
motivated throughout by p e r-
sonal desires on a solely emo-
tional level. Sgt. Zack, In The
Steel Helmet, is a perfect sold-
iefr who goes:.berserk just once;
when the little Korean kid tag-
ging along with him is shot. A
prisoner laughs at the boy 's
affection for Zack, and Zack, in
a powerful outburst of fury,,
chops him with 'bullets. Tolly
Devlin (Underworld, U.S.A.)
eradicates the gangster king-
pins who long ago killed his
worthless father;., he un d e r -
mines the nation's top crime
syndicate, but only out of re-
venge and with no motivation

Barry Sullivan was to have kill-
ed Barbara Stanwyck to get at
her brother in Forty Guns. Some
of these changes might have im-
proved the works or added ano-
ther thrill, but essentially t h e
gritty stories and shallow char-
acters of Samuel Fuller are hor-
ribly overladen with didacticism
and schmaltz..
Why then do Godard and Truf-
faut think so highly of the man
claiming him as a maor in-
spiration? I like to believe the
effects of the dialogue upon
their ears is mitigated by their
insufficient knowledge of Eng-
lish - perhaps they concen-
trate on subtitles which might
alter the flavor of Fuller's ver-
bal syrup. Apart from devastat-
ing story-lines, though, Fuller
wields a masterfully controlled
camera, shifting back and forth
between close-ups and longer
shots. He moves the c a m e r a
fluidly to give actions maxi-
mum impact. For the Naked
Kiss fight he put the camera
on the pimp, had Kelly swing at
the lens, then attached t h e
camera to Kelly to divulge her
point of view. Fuller's frequent-
ly unusual camerawork creates
shock elements that are a treat
- the revelation of Kelly's bald-
ness is priceless. In Steel Helmet
the' camera effectively draws
upward from the Korean boy
worshipping at the base of Bud-
dha. Having the medic put a
transfusion bottle on the loom-
ing sculpture's hand, and a
soldier shooting over the Bud-
dha's shoulder while standing
on the sculpture's arms are very
FRIDAY SPECIAL
MIKE'S STEAKS
1313 S. University
FISH & CHIPS
with COLE SLAW 99c
Delicious CHAR-BROILED
STEAKS and HAMBURGERS
REMEMBER!
SUNDAY'S SPECIAL
Strip Sirloin Steak with Potatoes,
Salad, Bread & Butter Incl. Your
Favorite Drink $1.80

successful bits. Even as a film's
storyline becomes increasingly
depressing, attention is held by
Fuller's visual competency and
the anticipation of the director's
shockers, which are present in
every one of his films.
Fuller can make good movies.
If one saw his three or four best,
especially his favorites, Shock
Corridor and 'Ihe Steel Helmet
he would appear quite favorably.
Samuel Fuller movies are us-
ually very bad stories, yet just
as often are visually interest-
ing, and for filmmakers they are
a particularly fascinating les-
son.
Mr. Fuller will speak in Archi-
tecture Aud. tonight at 8:30
after the 7:00 showihg of Pick
Up on South Street. The Fuller
Festival continues through Sun-
day night.
The Michigan Daily, edited and man-
aged by students at the University of
Michigan. News phone: 764-0552. Second
Class postage paid at Ann Arbor, Mich-
igan. 420 Maynard St.. Ann Arbor,
Michigan 48104. Published daily Tues-
day thrcugh Sunday morning Univer-
sity year. Subscription rates: $10 by
carrier, $10 by mail.
Summer Session published Tuesday
through Saturday morning. Subscrip-
tion rates: $3.00 by carrier. $3.00 by
mail.

PRESENTS
TONIGHT & SATURDAY -8 P.M. ON
FREE FLICKS
Buffalo Bill, Chaplin (2); Laurel & Hardy; Indy
Race of 191 l; Great Train Robbery; Our Gang.
OUTLANDISH MUSIC &SOME SILENCE
330 MAYNARD ST. PHONE: 665-0606
Order You WDaily No-
Phore 764-0558

I

Come To The -W
FridayEvenings
9:00 to 2:00 A.M.
After a Game, Dance, or Show
LIVE ENTERTAINMENT
Free Coffee, Tea, Cookies and Donuts
35c admission Bring your tambourine

I'

t

from the criminals' present
crimes against society.
.Everyone acts as he does
because he must. Tolly acts out
of a need to avenge his father.
Bob Ford murders his leader and
friend, Jesse James {I Shot
Jesse James), to get an am-
nesty and reward so he can set-
tle down with his girl; he is
completely controlled by his
need to fulfill his love. In Shock
Corridor, the reporter subjects.
himself to the terrors of an in-
sane asylum because he is tot-
ally driven by his desire to win
a Pulitzer Prize.
Social commentary is always
present in Fuller's works - us-
ually far too obviously present.
O'Meara, a frustrated Confed-
erate rebel who cannot accept
the North's rule, joins a Sioux
tribe in Run of the Arrow. He
is lectured by a ,U.S. officer on
the need to accept his fellow
Americans in a banal moral
speech which perhaps O'Meara
required, but which the aud-
ience certainly did not. At the
end of the drama, his Sioux
wife tells him (in totally out
of character English platitudes)
that one can not run from one's
people (strangely, enough s h e
leaves with him). Moral teach-
ings run rampant to the point of

nausea, often in dialogue, often
an entire film - Verboten!
shows that not all Germans are
Nazis as forthrighatly as a "See
Spot. Spot is a do ." lesson.
A Fuller flick is either about
crime, war, or the "old West."
Characters come from gangster
and war films of the 1930's and
40's. Kelly's Naked Kiss some-
what recalls the shady but gold-
en-hearted ladies of hundreds of
1940 romances and mysteries.
She is Fuller's version of Die-
trich in Shanghai Express, cast
in a uniquely Fullerian p 1o t.
Fuller likes non-heroes, loves
shocking moments, digs card-
board people named' Griff,
Candy, Cuddles, Zack, a n d
Soapy, people who say "h o 1 y
smoke," and men who smoke
cigars (like himself).
Shock treatments: In Forty
Guns (not at the festival), Barry
Sullivan has to shoot through
Barbara Stanwyck (who he
loves) to kill her brother who is
using her as a shield. And he
does. In the fight which opens
Naked Kiss, Kelly's wig comes
off revealing a bald head - a
guaranteed crowd-pleaser. At the
end of Run of the Arrow an of-
ficer is realistically skinned
alive.

-Daily-Jay Cassidy
across so badly that it hurts-
us. We are supposed to see how
characters are driven by their
situation, but the personalities
are so superficial that it is im-
possible to become involved with
,them. The soldier known to us
only by a medium long-shot of
his back for two seconds be-
fore an arrow kills him, means
as much to us as any character
in Run. One dimensional char-
acterizations come off well in
Shock Corridor and The Steel
Helmet because of the peculiar
stories. However, in most other
cases the people are not deep
enough to hold our interest, and
excesses of "meaningful" dia-
logue and action grate very
harshly on the viewer's intelli-
gence.
Fuller could not always do
what he wanted because of a
lack of funds or censorship from
the front office. Merrill's Mar-
auders (not at the festival) was
to have had a scene where Amer-
icans shot their own men 'be-
cause of their panic; originally,

i

he BACH CLUB
wishes most emphatically
to announce that under
no curcumstances what-
ever will any program of
any kind ever again in its
utter entirely last even
one iota past 9:15 P.M.

I

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*1

Love,
Randy

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~II

'I

From the country
that gave you
"I,AWOMAN" "INGA"
and "I AM CURIOUS"
(YELLOW)
'Fanny Hill' is a "porno-classic!"
-ARCHER IVlNSTON
"In there with sex and
love all the way!"
- N.Y. Post

+ h .',

Joe Nickerson

"Fanny is played by Diana
-° - Kjaer, who has a nice body,
lots of red hair, big blue eyes,
and a lovely soft mouth into
which she often sticks a finger."
-N.Y. Times

from the

Library of Congress
Folk Music Division
J.H. is one of the main
sources for releasing most
of the folk songs you have
heard. If you like folk
music, don't miss him.

°,
' ;..
:-t ' '.
.': ..~ .
? ++ +w

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Jerry Gross and Nicholas Demetroutee
new... and from Sweden

TUES.-Baroque
Chamber Music
TH URS.-T-Lab

PERSONS
UNDER
18 NOT
ADMITTED

for beginners
8 P.M.-

DIANA KJAER - Hans Emback -Keve Hjelm
Written and Directed by MAC AHBERG 'GW ]
Produced byTORE SJOBERG for MINERVA-EUROPA
Distributed byCINEMATION INDUSTRIES -COLOR by Deluxe
O f I on oNAL RA C AR i

first 24 accepted

HELD OVER AGAIN
ry r aVNFa HAYIY-a

3rd BIG WEEK
FRI.-7:15, 9:00, 10:45
SAT. 5:30, 7:15, 9:00, 10:45i

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Held Over Again For A

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Program Informotion-5-6290
SHOWS "HOcW
T QD AY An ar
ATQWill C
1 :00Grand
13:00 Miss F
3:00 so IS'
5:00
7:00
9:00
EVENTUALLY
"VIVA
MAX"
"Rollicking
with New Yorke

7th Delightful Week!
)neen acts as he hasn't before
t f ul wily bumpkin .
Geer mademe wish he'd been my
df ather, and I hope to see more of
Farrell. T'hey're all mighty good and
The Reivers!' "-LOOK MAGAZINE

. e. ... ..

"Excellent
One"

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.. ....;
, Sharon For
J f Will Gee

"I
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I UJt # Ifunujn '2Iina MoZe1rs~.

tI .r . .. .,A1 I h A 1 D( R f~iA L6t R/"

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