Yesterday me and Jody started watching a series of films by the same filmmaker. We’re going to alternate after 3-7 films by a filmmaker. This flies in contrast to what we were doing, our pre-determined movie calendar that we kind of fell off of.
Sam Fuller is an exploitation filmmaker. He’s a tabloid filmmaker. He’s economic, extreme and grabs you and holds a mirror up to a hippocratic society.
White Dog is one of my favorite films, maybe I’ll talk about it later. But I had just bought the Fuller at Columbia boxed set and wanted to break into a few of those.
We watched Power of the Press (1943), written by Fuller, not directed. The film, while it does have a little charm, is not too much more than a bunch of stump speeches about the importance of Editorial virtue in the newspapers. The level of flag waving and paper-thin morality tail is a lot less than what I’ve come to expect from Fuller… but I don’t blame him. And it was 65 minutes long, so it has that going for it.
Then we watched Targets (1968), again, not directed by Fuller, and not even officially credited as a writer! Peter Bogdanovich named his character after Sam Fuller in appreciation of the work Fuller did on the screenplay.
The story goes that Roger Corman told a young Bogdanovich he could make any movie he wanted to as long as it used footage of the “The Terror” and had to star Boris Karloff. Boris Karloff owed Corman 2 days of work, and was available for 2 days. With that level of restriction, you might expect a pile of crap. But what you get is a white knuckle thriller about a middle class white man with a gun who goes on a killing spree.
There was just a spree shooting last week, when isn’t there… so this 50+ year film didn’t have a spec of age on it.
This story is played against Boris Karloff’s character, Byron Orlok, an aging horror actor, over his prime, mostly forgotten about grappling with the thought of retirement against the wishes of his friends and associates. It all comes to a head in a beautiful drive-in theater that will make you wish you were living in the 60s (sans spree killer). I highly recommend it.
I’ll be back to talk more Fuller’ish Fuller movies soon!