Samuel Fuller


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Giornalista di cronaca nera, critico letterario e romanziere poliziesco, Samuel Fuller giunse al cinema come sceneggiatore. Debutto` (a 38 anni) con due western: I Shot Jesse James (1949), a complex melodrama that is only remotely a western movie, After getting rich with bank robberies, Jesse James lives a comfortable middle-class life in a charming house of a quiet town, disguised as a honest citizen. Jesse and Bob plan one last robbery. Bob learns that the girl he loves is in town, now a famous actress, and can't resist to see her. Cynthy has just met a gentleman, Kelley, who wants her to leave her terrible show so she can invest her talent in something better, but she dreams that Bob will abandon his criminal lifestyle, marry her and become a farmer. Bob sees an ad that promises pardon for the man who kills Jesse James and decides to seize the opportunity. The press calls him a "traitor" and a "coward", and the people of the city would like to lynch him, but the authorities eventually pardon him. Even the sheriff who opens his jail treats him like a rat. Even Cynthy is ashamed of him. He protests in vain that he's done it for her. Bob thinks that she's in love with Kelley. Cynthy begs Kelley to leave town before Bob can kill him. Bob, determined to prove his worth to the woman, takes an embarrassing job at the theater, reenacting the way he killed Jesse James in a short play. The act is a failure and he loses his job. In a saloon hears a folksinger sing a ballad about how a coward killed Jesse James. Outside a kid tries to shoot him because anyone who kills Jesse James' killer would become a hero. Bob realizes that he needs to move west and joins the many who migrate to look for silver. When he arrives, he finds that all hotel rooms are taken. He has to share one with another immigrant, who turns out to be Kelley. At the saloon Bob saves the life of a friend of Kelley, and old drunk who is about to be shot by a gunslinger. The next morning Kelley and Bob's valuables are gone. Bob's fortune finally changes when the old man, now sober and grateful, offers him to become partner in his mine (while defending Kelley as a gentleman unlikely to steal). Bob saves the old man's life again when a mountain lion is about to kill him. Thanks to his hard work, Bob finally gets rich and can ask Cynthy to join him. But she doesn't look happy. Kelley also returns, and proves to Bob that he didn't steal his things, but a hotel clerk did. Kelley didn't get rich and is a hardened man, but has still hopes that Cinthy will choose him and decides to accept the job of marshall in order to stay in town. While Kelley is begging Cynthy, who feels an obligation towards Bob, Jesse James' brother arrives to takes his revenge on Bob. Kelley does not hesitate to arrest him, but the jury sends him free. Frank finally confronts Bob but doesn't shoot him, because he figured something worse: he tells him that Cynthy is in love with Kelley. Bob killed Jesse for a woman who will never love him. A furious Bob hunts Kelley in the streets until they face each other: Bob draws first, but Kelley kills him. and Baron Of Arizona (1950), also inspired by a legend of the Far West. In 1912 Arizona becomes a state of the USA. The governor has a small reception to celebrate. One of the distinguished guests, John, toasts to James, a man who was important for the success of their cause. The governor argues that John was a swindler, and James concedes that John spent many years to forged documents to steal the entire state. James tells the story of what happened in 1872. One night James showed up at the house of a poor illeterate man and displays documents about the last descendant of the Spanish baron of Arizona: the orphan child that the man adopted, Sophia. James was inspired by a book on forgery to create a fictional baroness. James hired a governess to educate Sophia. Then James proceeded to forge documents to show that the girl was the descendant of the original owner of Arizona. He traveled to Europe and joined an ancient monastery in order to falsify ancient documents. After being a friar he became a gypsy, because he needed to get into a library and alter more documents. He seduced both a gypsy girl and the wife of a marquis in order to enter the library. It took him years to achieve his plan. Finally he returned to Sophia, who was now a beautiful woman and behaved like a real noblewoman; and he proposed to her. His forged documents proved that she was the baroness of Arizona, and her husband was to be the baron. James, now living in a colossal mansion and technically he owner of the entire business of the state, made enemies in towns who tried to scare him away, but was determined to stay. When James filed his claim, John was a clerk in a government office and decided to investigate thoroughly: he had written the very book on forgery that James used as an inspiration. John quickly realized the scam, but couldn't prove it because John was now rich enough to bribe the witnesses. Sophia honestly believed of being a baroness, and was honestly eager to learn the truth. She began to sense something evil in her husband's behavior and his claim to the land and business of so many honest people. The people hated the baron and the baroness, and she could not stand it. Nonetheless, James refused to sell the barony when the USA government offered to buy it. A trial starts. John cannot prove his accusations and ends up offeding the baroness herself, who now sides with her husband. James doesn't give in to violent threats either, as the dispossessed owners organize a militia. James feel that his case is unassailable. But one day the man who raised Sophia reveals that Sophia was not an orphan: he has known all along that James was lying because Sophia was the daughter of a white man and of a native-american woman. He kept the secret to protect the girl, so that she would not be despised by the whites. Now the old man is feeling guilty. Suddenly James feels that his life is pointless. Sophia, once she is told the truth, feels sorry for him. He confesses to her the whole fraud. She loves him. James concedes to John and is arrested. He narrowly avoids being lynched by the crowd and spends six years in prison. When he comes out, she is there to wait for him.

Si rivelo' con due film bellici, Steel Helmet (1950)

A USA soldier moves slowly amid dead bodies. He fears someone approach and he freezes, pretending to be dead too. A Korean kid with a rifle states at his body and feels your heartbeat. It turns out is a South Korean, allied with the USA. The soldier, Zack, recovers and starts walking away but the kid begs him to be allowed to go with him: his entire family has been killed. Zack tells him to grab a steel helmet. They survive an ambush by enemies desguised as women and then they venture into the jungle. There they meet a black soldier wearing the cross of the medical staff and then a group of soldiers. Zack tells them that his entire unit was massacred by the North Koreans. The group is led by an old acquaintance of Zack. They dislike each other but everybody agrees that Zack, an experienced sergeant, is the only one who can lead them to safety. They survive an attack by snipers. Zack is rude and cynical, but his tender side comes out when he deals with the Korean kid, who treats him with reverence and devotion. The group finds an abandoned pagoda with a giant Buddha inside and turn it into their fort. One night they realize that there is an enemy in the pagoda become one of them is murdered. Zack finds the enemy and captures him: a major who speaks fluent English, and knows that they will not hurt him but take him a prisoner. They have a radio but they can only receive, not transmit. They come to realize that they are surrounded by enemies when the kid is shot dead outside. Zack coldly orders his men to bury the kid, but then he cannot withstand the pain and shoots the major who is making fun of the dead. Realizing that he has just broken the rules on prisoners of war, Zack then orders the doctor to save the major's life. They finally fix the radio and begin to communicate with the nearby troops. From the pagoda they can transmit detailed information about the enemy positions. This forces the North Koreans to attack the pagoda. The soldiers defend themselves heroically but most of them are killed. Zack is one of the survivors who meet the USA troops when they arrive. He leaves his helmet on the grave of the kid. e Fixed Bayonets (1951), entrambi ambientati durante la guerra di Corea e concentrati sulla sociologia del militarismo. Furono in pratica questi film a riscoprire il filone bellico che, dopo aver nauseato il pubblico con migliaia di episodi della Guerra Mondiale, stava ripiegando a favore del genere spionistico sulla Guerra Fredda. La guerra di Corea consenti' a fuller e ai suoi continuatori di affrontare il genere bellico da un'angolatura piu' critica.

Steel Helmet e' la storia di un sergente, unico sopravvissuto di un plotone, che viene aggregato ad un'altra pattuglia (un muto, un "nisei", un medico, un negro) che avanza fra le insidie della zona e le imboscate dei nemici. Trovano rifugio in un tempio buddista, uccidono un prigioniero e vengono circondati dai cinesi; quando arrivano i "nostri" a salvarli sono rimasti soltanto in tre, praticamente a pezzi. Il sergente e' di fatto impazzito fin dall'inizio, devastato dal fanatismo patriottico e da un pervicace razzismo, dalle agghiaccianti scene di morte e da un cinismo assoluto.

Fixed Bayonets racconta l'eroismo di un giovane caporale che si ritrova di colpo a dover comandare i suoi uomini: trascina in salvo un soldato ferito, ma si accorge di aver rischiato la vita per un uomo che e' gia' cadavere.

Park Row (1952), uno dei primi film indipendenti, e` a sua volta un omaggio al giornalismo indipendente, anche se un po' melodrammatico.

Set in Park Row, the street of New York famous for being the headquarters of newspapers, in 1886, the film opens in a pub where journalists are chatting and drinking. One of them, Phineas, is angry because an innocent man has been hanged due to the campaign launched by the newspaper he works for, owned by the cynical Charity. Phineas confronts Charity when she demands who is spreading the rumour that the man was wrongly accused by her newspaper, and fires him after he spits out what he thinks of her methods. The idealist Phineas dreams of starting his own newspaper, "The Globe", and his ramblings attract the attention of wealthy Charles, who offers to fund the operation. Journalists who are in the pub and are fascinated by Phineas' speech immediately join in. Phineas immediately seizes the first chance to write an article: he delivers to the cops a man, Steve, who broke the law because he jumped from the bridge, realizing that he can make a hero of him (Steve jumped because he wanted to become a celebrity). "The Globe" is immediately popular on the street. The unscrupulous Charity would like to hire the German inventor who is improving Phinea's printing press, but the inventor is not interested in money, only in good journalism. She then tries to seduce him, but he is not moved by a passionate kiss. Bitter, she swears revenge. Charity's gangsters attack Phineas' news stands and almost kill a boy who works for him. Charity, who had not authorized violence, goes to apologize but Phineas kicks her out. Then forged receipts start appearing for a fund run by Phineas' paper. Another attack destroys the printing press and kills Phineas' right-arm journalist. Phineas manages to restore the press and wants to print a scathing editorial, but bombs damage it more severely. Phineas has lost all hope, but the German inventor fixes the machine and Charity offers her press to print the very edition that accuses her of being behind the terrorist attacks. She has been redeemed: she wants the "Globe" to live.

Hell and High Water (1954) is a war/spy thriller set in a submarine.

La demagogia anti-comunista gli prese la mano in Pick-up On South Street, 53, realizzato per servire gli interessi del maccartismo. Il film racconta di un ladro redento (Windmark) che ruba alle spie comuniste un microfilm su segreti nucleari, ottenendo cosi' il perdono per i suoi crimini; il tutto attraverso una serie di sequenze violente, agguati, omicidi, e incrociato dalla seduzione di un'ignara segretaria.

House Of Bamboo (1955) e' invece un film d'azione senza riferimenti politici: un detective americano nel Giappone post-bellico finge di essere un gangster per infiltrarsi nella banda di ex- militari guidata da un pazzo criminale e, con l'aiuto della vedova di uno di loro, uccide il capo e sgomina la banda.

Con questi film Fuller si afferma come specialista della violenza, nei suoi aspetti piu' morbosamente reazionari ed irrazionali. In Fuller la violenza diventa quasi una koine' americana, un rituale insito nel folklore nazionale.

China Gate (1957) apri' un nuovo fronte per il film bellico, quello del Vietnam: come in Steel Helmet e' la storia di una missione impossibile di una pattuglia composta da una piccola umanita'; a guidarla e' una meticcia che ha accettato di collaborare con gli occidentali a patto che suo figlio cresca in America. L'obiettivo e' un deposito di munizioni dei vietcong, nel quale lei uccide il comandante comunista e poi salta in aria con l'esplosivo. La pattuglia e' composta da esseri cinici, razzisti, mercenari e spietati, ciascuno preso dalla propria guerra privata.

Torno' al western con Run Of The Arrow (1957) e Forty Guns (1957); Forty Guns descrive una maschia allevatrice abituata a comandare che si invaghisce di un ipocrita giudice di pace; lo sceriffo, respinto, si suicida. La trama e' intricata e trabocca di riferimenti sessuali.

Run Of The Arrow ha per protagonista un sudista che preferisce aggregarsi ai Sioux piuttosto che piegarsi agli stati Uniti, ma che non resiste a veder torturare un bianco.

Con questi western Fuller anticipa lo stile sanguinario di Leone e Peckinpah.

Verboten (1959) e' un nuovo bellico ma ambientato nel dopoguerra. Un soldato americano lotta contro un gruppo nazista underground.

Crimson Kimono (1959) is a mediocre mixture of detective movie and romantic melodrama. The film is mostly a loose survey of characters and environments, a sort of wild-goose chase that takes a long time to coalesce around a plot. It's almost a plot in search of a plot. At the end the killer turns out a very minor character who was on screen barely a few minutes. As usual, the whole thing sounds implausible (even improvised) and character analysis is superficial and unconvincing. The "romantic" scenes between Chris and the two men are particularly tedious.

A stripper, Sugar, ends her show and walks into her dressing room just to see a masked killer who is waiting for her gun in hand. She runs in the street screaming, chased by someone who eventually guns her down. Two detectives are called to investigate: Charlie and Joe. Charlie is Caucasian and Joe is a Japanese-American. They realize that the killer shot a bullet through the painting hanging in her dressing room, the painting of a geisha for which Sugar posed as the model. They look for the painter, Chris. Charlie talks to a female drunkard, Mac, hoping to get a clue to where to find Chris, while Joe talks to a Japanese-American wrestler who was hired for a new act of hers. In that new act she and her Japanese lover were supposed to be killed by a jealous boyfriend. Charlie and Joe happen to be roommates and in the morning exchange information. Mac phones Charlie where to find Chris. Chris turns out to be a woman: she tells him that the painting was commissioned by a Hansel. Charlie is attracted to her. Meanwhile Joe looks for a Korean karate master who was hired to be the other man in Sugar's new act, Shuto. Two nuns tells Joe that Shuto was drunk the night before and was eventually helped by a Japanese man whom Joe knows. Charlie takes Chris for a tour of Little Tokyo. Joe finds the spiritual Japanese acquaintance in a temple, mourning his dead son, and he takes him to the Korean, but, hearing the name of the dead stripper, Shuto runs away before Joe can ask him any question. Meanwhile Chris is taken to the police station and shown the pictures of thousands of criminals, hoping she can identify the mysterious Hansel. Chris draws a sketch of Hansel to be broadcast on television and printed in all newspapers. In the evening the two detectives and Chris meet with Mac, and Mac observes that the killer now has an interest in silencing Chris. Sure enough, someone, claiming to be Hansel, calls Chris at the phone while she's at home with her four female housemates, and another man is ready to shoot at her from the window. The hitman misses and the following day she's back in Charlie's room to look at pictures. She is frightened and they kiss. Joe finds Shuto and calls Charlie for help because Shuto has gone crazy. When they finally subdue him, he says something in Japanese to Joe. They head for the library, where the director recognizes Chris' sketch as his employee Paul, who has suddenly resigned and disappeared. Charlie confides to Joe that he is in love with Chris. It turns out that their friendship dates back from the years of the Korean war. Joe, alone at home with Chris, opens his heart to her, and they almost kiss, but then Joe moves away from her. Later Joe confesses he's in love with a Caucasian to his spiritual Japanese acquaintance. Walking with Chris later that night, Charlie notices that Joe looks depressed (not hard to notice since Joe is not talking to him). Chris tells Mac about her interest in Joe, and Mac tells her that Joe is being faithful to Charlie. Chris is now torn because she realizes that she is standing between two friends who are like brothers. Joe and Charlie are invited to fight a duel at a fence context in the Japanese community. Joe attacks Charlie until Charlie collapses. When Charlie wakes up, Joe confesses that he and Chris are in love. Joe thinks that Charlie doubts his motives based on his race, and decides to leave everything: Charlie, Chris and the police. Charlie and Chris find him and convince him of their good intentions. Just then Chris recognizes Hansel walking by. They eventually find him at a nearby Japanese exhibition, but he claims that he was merely consulting for Sugar to put together her new act. Hansel's girlfriend Roma enters the room and shoots him. They chase her in the middle of a Japanese parade. Joe shoots her in the back and kills her. Dying, Roma admits that she killed Sugar out of jealousy. The case is solved. Chris and Joe can live their mixed-race romance, while the drunk Mac consoles Charlie.

Il suo miglior gangster e' Underworld USA (1961), ambientato nei bassifondi e nelle carceri. The plot is a bit implausible and the character study of the revenge maniac is a bit superficial.

A kid robs a drunk who fell asleep in the street. Then another kid hits him and takes the money from him. A prostitute who runs a bar, Sandy, disinfects his wound. Sandy treats Tolly like an adopted son because his mother died and his father is a criminal himself. They hear noise outside and witness four thugs beat to death a powerless man. They see the face of one of the thugs: notorious bad man Victor. Then they realize who is the victim: Tolly's father. Tolly refuses to tell the cops what he saw, determined to get his own revenge. He escapes from the orphanage and looks for Victor. Vic's girl tells him that Vic has been sentenced to life in jail. Tolly does not hesitate to break a shop's window to be arrested and be sent to the same jail. But they only send him to reformatory. Years later he has finally graduated to real crime (a safe cracker) and to real jail. He finds Victor who is dying in the hospital ward of the prison and obtains the names of the other three promising in return to forgive him (instead he slaps him). Once released, he returns to Sandy's apartment and learns from her the whereabouts of one of the three, Gela, a notorious druglord. She also informs him of a campaign launched by an attorney to clean up the city: the three targets of the attorney are precisely the three men he's after, each of them a boss of the organized crime. Gela enters Gela's house to search it, and saves the life of a blonde girl, "Cuddles", who was about to be killed by one of Gela's gangsters for refusing to make a drug delivery. Tolly pretends to be a cop and obtains her cooperation in finding the drugs and contacting the man who was about to kill her, Gus. He lets himself into a trap and is taken to Gela. He then surrenders the drugs to Gela, pretending that Victor told him the four killers of his father died in a car accident, and vows to become a faithful member of Gela's organization. Gela meets with his two pals: they have bought the chief of police. The attorney, though, has found out through a bookkeeper, and the chief of police has no choice but to commit suicide. This deprives the attorney of an important witness that he needed to frame the boss of all bosses. The boss also orders Gus to kill the little daughter of the bookkeeper and Gus coldly runs her over under with the car while her mother watches powerless from a window. In the meantime, Sandy has told Cuddles that Tolly is not a cop but a thief. Not realizing that she's still wanted by the mob, Cuddles walk into a bar and gets drunk. She is in love with him and would like to believe that he loves her, but he's only interested in her as a tool to obtain his revenge. Tolly offers himself to the attorney as an informer, and convinces Cuddles to testify against one of the three (she witnessed him murdering a girl). The attorney immediately arrests him and puts her under police protection. At the same time Tolly volunteers to Gela to break into the attorney office and open his safe. Tolly brings back a fake report prepared by the attorney for him. This buys him the trust of the bosses. The fake report incriminates the third killer as an informer, and the fellow is burned alive in a fake car accident architected by Gus. Now Tolly has seen one die in jail, sent one to the electric chair, and had this one killed by the mob. There's only Gela left alive of the four who killed his father. Tolly humiliates Cuddles when he laughs at her idea of getting married, as if she was not worth it. Sandy, who is still treating him like a son, is ashamed of him. Eager to get rid of Gela, Tolly fakes a police report incriminating Gela as an informer. The boss of all bosses falls for it and sends Gus to kill Gela. Tolly gets first at Gela's place and beats him up, then forces him to open the door to Gus who shoots him without a word. Tolly has completed his mission, and now he is finally redeemed. He tells the attorney that he's going to get married and become a honest citizen. The attorney is disappointed: his goal is the boss of all bosses, and Tolly was the perfect informer to get to the boss. Tolly is ready to find an excuse and leave the services of the boss, but Gus visits him telling him that they found out where the bookkeeper hides, and that the boss has been selected him (Tolly) to kill the bookkeeper and his remaining family. Gus also mentions that Cuddles is next in the list, destined to die like all informers. Tolly knocks Gus off and delivers him to the police station with a note to check his gun against the gun that killed Gela. Then he drives to the residence of the boss. Sandy, alarmed by a phone call, and Cuddles are parked outside. Tolly drowns the boss, making it look like an accident, but one of the bodyguards shoots him in the back. Cuddles and Sandy see him walk outside, staggering, and collapse in an alley. Intellettualmente nullo come i precedenti, il film e' pero' girato nello stile violento e rivoluzionario di Fuller, che risulta particolarmente efficace per questo genere.

Diresse poi un altro bellico, Merrill's Morandors (1962) dove ancora una volta una pattuglia di disperati deve aprirsi la via attraverso una giungla infernale e infestata di giapponesi, in un'atmosfera da incubo.

Shock Corridor (1964) e' un thriller claustrofobico, ma dal taglio di un'inchiesta giornalistica, che sottende una critica durissima alle istituzioni da un lato, e al mito del successo ad ogni costo dall'altro.

Un giornalista esibizionista che aspira al premio Pulitzer, ha escogitato lo scoop dell'anno: farsi internare in un manicomio e scrivere dall'interno un reportage. Perche' la messa in scena funzioni, occorre che la sua ragazza, una cantante spogliarellista che lo ama alla follia, vada a denunciarlo alla polizia spacciandosi per sua sorella e accusandolo di aver tentato di violentarla. All'esame psichiatrico si comporta come un maniaco sessuale e si guadagna il visto per il manicomio.
Nell'intimo pero' sente che la disapprovazione della ragazza (dettata dal bisogno di averlo vicino e dalla preoccupazione per cosa puo' succedergli) e' giustificata e che non permetterebbe a lei di avventurarsi in un'impresa cosi' rischiosa per la loro relazione.
Gli viene assegnato un letto in una delle camerate che danno sul "corso", un lungo corridoio nel quale discorrono e passeggiano i malati. La sua missione e ' risolvere un omicidio (un uomo e' stato accoltellato in cucina), i tesyimoni del quale sono ricoverati in quel luogo. E' entusiasta di essere riuscito a penetrare nella fortezza, ma di notte sogna la sua ragazza in costume e in pose sensuali. Il tenore stonato che dorme nella sua stanza canta a voce spiegata nel cuore della notte.
Viene aggredito e seviziato dalle ninfomani; suggerisce la strategia da adottare nella battaglia di Gettysburg a un reduce della Corea. Questi, che era sotto un tavolo nel momento dell'omicidio, gli dice che l'assassino aveva i calzoni bianchi, cioe' era o un infermiere o un medico.
La sua ragazza e' sempre piu' in apprensione; lo trova ferito e deperito. Lui, infatti, non riesce a dormire, sotto pressione per lo sforzo mentale e scosso dall'ambiente. Ma e' troppo vicino al successo per mollare. La ragazzanon puo' nulla contro la sua ambizione.
L'altro testimone e' un negro che crede di essere un membro fanatico del Klu Klux Klan, e che tiene comizi nel corridoio incitando al linciaggio dei negri. Era perseguitato perche' era l'unico negro in un'universita' di bianchi e alla fine e' impazzito. Mentre il negro racconta le reazioni crudeli, spietate, feroci dei genitori degli studenti bianchi, le umiliazioni subite nel breve periodo dell'esperimento, il giornalista riesce ad estorcergli che l'assassino e' un infermiere.
Durante le visite della sua ragazza lui da' segni di cedimento: quando lei lo bacia, lui ha uno scatto, come se avesse fatto qualcosa di orrendo: sta cominciando a credere che lei sia veramente sua sorella.
Gli fanno l'elettroshock. Dopo gli sembra di non riuscire piu' a parlare. La voce va e viene.
Il terzo testimone e' un premio Nobel, scienziato atomico e spaziale (giocano a nascondino). Siccome ha l'hobby del disegno, il giornalista accetta di farsi fare il ritratto e durante le pose gli chiede il nome dell'assassino. lo ottiene: ha risolto il caso, conosce persino il movente (abuso di una ninfomane e il pazzo lo ricattava), ma quando vede il proprio ritratto scoppia in un delirio epilettico. E' impazzito. In camicia di forza vuol confidare al dottore il nome dell'assassino, ma non lo ricorda piu'; accusa un po' tutti: il dottore, la sua ragazza, se stesso. Quando gli passal'attacco viene rimesso in liberta', ma non ricorda piu' il nome, anche se ricorda di averlo sentito dallo scienziato. A tratti e' lucidissimo, come quando e' entrato, a tratti vaneggia, confonde la finzione con la realta'. Un temporale gli provoca un altro attacco isterico (immagini di fulmini che penetrano nel suo petto e di cascate). Gli torna la memoria, ma il dottore non gli crede; allora aggredisce l'assassino, il quale fugge in cucina. Lottano, finiscono nel corridoio in mezzo ai pazzi e il giornalista lo picchia finche' non confessa. sembra che tutto sia finito.
Scrive il suo articolo, vince il premio Pulitzer, ma in realta' diventauno schizofrenico cronico, un alienato muto, un automa senza parola che si muove a comando.
E ritorna nel corridoio.
Vennero poi dei film piu' commerciali.

Naked Kiss (1965) is a detective movie with strong psychiatric overtones. It also reads like a nightmare of male perversion and female self-destruction.

A prostitute hits her drunk customer with her purse, over and over again, then takes the money that he owes her. Her wig falls down: her head has been shaved bald. Two years later the same woman, Kelly, arrives at a bus station carrying a suitcase of champaigne bottles and introducing herself as a saleswoman. She immediately sells herself to the local police captain, Griff. While they are partying, she tells him that her hair just grew back. Griff tells her to leave town and even recommends a brothel. Alone, she stares at herself in the mirror. She looks for a place to stay in the quiet town, and finds a room in a charming home with an old landlady, now pretending to be a honest woman. She finds a job in a hospital for handicapped children, and turns out to be an excellent nurse. Griff accuses her of hiding behind the children to carry on her trade, but she protests that she has seriously changed. Griff still wants to expel her from town. At a party the town's young tycoon, Grant, falls in love for Kelly. They make love the very same night. At the hospital one of the nurses, the pretty Buff tells Kelly that she can't handle it anymore: she is quitting. Kelly even helps her get dressed elegantly, but then Buff uses her looks to get a job in a brothel. Kelly slaps her in the face and takes the money that she made. Then she walks into the brothel, grabs the owner Candy, hits her repeatedly with the purse and stuffes the money into her mouth. Another nurse, Dusty, is secretely pregnant and only Kelly consoles her. Kelly tells Grant the truth about her past (but not that her last customer was Griff), and Grant asks her to marry him. After spending a night pondering the offer, she accepts. Even Griff is won over by Kelly after he learns that she told Grant all about her past. She excited about preparing for the wedding. But she catches Grant molesting a little girl. Grant tells her that he cannot marry a normal woman because he is sick: he's marrying her precisely because of her past. Disgusted, she grabs the telephone and slams it into Grant who has knelt in front of her. Grant dies on the spot. She puts away the dress she has just bought for her wedding. Griff arrests her for the murder. The whole town reads in the newspapers that she was a prostitute. Kelly tells Griff the truth, but Griff does not believe her story. During the investigation she is abandoned by everybody: Buff doesn't want to admit she almost became a whore, Dusty doesn't want to admit she was pregnant, Candy invents a blackmail story, etc. And the pimp she hit in the first scene shows up to testify that she has a violent temper. But Griff starts believing her story. All the girls in town are brought to the police station and Kelly identifies the one who was with Grant, and eventually the little girl tells the whole story. Released from jail, Kelly decides to leave town. The whole town, including all those who betrayed her, is outside to bid her farewell, but nobody talks. Sharks (1967) racconta il cinico jeu de massacre di un quartetto di avventurieri (anziano scienziato, bionda avvenente, trafficante d'armi, poliziotto corrotto) alla caccia di un tesoro sommerso.

Fuller ha di fatto psicanalizzato le paranoie americane: quella dell'anti- comunismo, quella del successo, etc. mostrandone la paradossale irrazionalita'.

La sua opera (bellico, giornalistico) e' in gran parte autobiografica.

Dead Pigeon On Beethoven Street (1972), poliziesco.

Big Red One, 80) e' un bellico retorico in cui Marvin e quattro reclute passano attraverso tutte le situazioni stereotipe del genere.

White Dog, 82).

Les voulers de la nuit, 84); sorta di Bonnie & Clyde che cominciano per scherzo, per vendetta, e finiscono tragicamente.

Maestro del cinema d'azione, incalzante, emozionante, deve tutto all'azione.

Le sceneggiature sono sempre banali e stereotipate, e spesso i protagonisti hanno ruoli sfasati (la prostituta idealista contro il primario bruto, il sudista anti-razzista, etc.), il che ingenera confusione ideologica.

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