Samuel Fuller: A Fuller Life

First show: September 23

Fuller-Nake-Kiss-PosterThis weekend the Roxie is delighted to bring San Francisco face to face with the visceral, take-no prisoners filmography of an American iconoclast.  Sam Fuller lobbed brave and angry messages at his audience, spelling out prejudice, hypocrisy, ignorance and misogyny in the big, bold headline form perfected in his days as a beat reporter, but always wrapped in an irresistible yarn spun by a master raconteur.  Featuring recognized gems and infrequently unspooled rarities the Roxie, in conjunction with the Smith Rafael Film Center co-present a retrospective that has been  years in the scheming.   Sam Fuller’s widow, muse and collaborator, actress Christa Lang-Fuller and their daughter, Samantha Fuller, director of the documentary A FULLER LIFE, around which the entire series is anchored, will join us IN PERSON!

The “Fuller Disclosure Card“, a pass providing access to all Fuller shows from September 23-25, is ON SALE NOW at the box office! 


Fuller-a-fuller-lifeFriday, Sept. 23
Samantha Fuller & Christa Lang-Fuller  in conversation with Bay Area musician, film programmer and archivist, Peter Conheim after the film.

Samantha Fuller’s touching documentary portrait of her father Sam Fuller has several of his admirers and collaborators read and dramatize his memoirs. The admirers include: James Franco, Jennifer Beals, Bill Duke, James Toback, Mark Hamill, Joe Dante, Tim Roth, Wim Wenders, Monte Hellman, Buck Henry, Constance Towers and William Friedkin, among others. Executive Producer: Christa Lang-Fuller. Producer/Director: Samantha Fuller.  DCP.  80 mins.  2013.  USA.   Buy Tickets

Fuller-shock_corridor__still1_0-lo9:15  SHOCK CORRIDOR
IN PERSON: Samantha Fuller & Christa Lang-Fuller in conversation with Peter Conheim, BEFORE THE FILM.

A journalist, hungry for a Pulitzer Prize, has himself committed to an insane asylum in a bizarre attempt to solve a murder that has taken place there. Unquestionably one of Fuller’s most unusual films, it gave the director an opportunity to explore the dynamics of race relations and sexual politics all in one thrill-packed journey to the dark side. Starring Peter Breck, Constance Towers, Gene Evans, James Best. Brilliant cinematography by Stanley Cortez. Written and directed by Samuel Fuller. In Black & White.  HD Digital.  101 mins. 1963. USA.  Buy Tickets

Saturday, Sept 24
Fuller-underworldUSA-lo2:30 UNDERWORLD USA
Christa Lang-Fuller &  Samantha Fuller  in conversation with Bay Area musician, film programmer and archivist, Peter Conheim, BEFORE THE FILM. 

Fuller’s biting commentary on the world of organized crime provides us with one of his most exciting noir dramas. A young man witnesses the murder of his father at the hands of the Mob and he vows to exact brutal vengeance. His lifelong obsession is filled with stunning flashes of “Fulleresque” violence and moments of uncharacteristic introspection. Starring Cliff Robertson, Dolores Dorn, Beatrice Kay, Robert Emhardt, Larry Gates. Shimmering cinematography by Hal Mohr. Written and directed by Samuel Fuller. In Black & White. DCP. 99 mins. 1961. USA. Buy Tickets

FullerPickUpOnSouthSt-lo5:30  PICK UP ON SOUTH STREET
Criticized at the time for its exceptional level of violence, this has become one of the director’s most cherished films. A pickpocket and a prostitute become inadvertently entangled with Communist spies over the whereabouts of a valuable piece of microfilm. Often mistaken for an anti-Commie screed, this is, in fact one of the 1950s most potent examples of film noir. Starring Richard Widmark, Jean Peters, Thelma Ritter, Richard Kiley. Elegantly photographed by Joe MacDonald. Written and directed by Samuel Fuller. In Black & White. DCP. 80 mins. 1953. USA.  Buy Tickets

nakedkiss7:15 *THE NAKED KISS
When a headstrong prostitute rebels against her abusive pimp, she hightails it out of town to begin life over in a small town. But the indignation and scorn that await her is far worse than her former life on the streets. A controversial look at modern day perversions that places the viciously small-minded values of Small Town America squarely on display. Starring Constance Towers, Anthony Eisley, Virginia Grey, Michael Dante. Dazzlingly photographed by Stanley Cortez. Written and directed by Samuel Fuller. In Black & White. 35mm. 90 mins. 1964. USA.  Buy Tickets

crimsonkimono9:15  THE CRIMSON KIMONO
A stripper is gunned down on Main Street and the cops are hard at work trying to solve this brutal crime. But what the director has on his mind has less to do with this violent crime than it has to do with exploring the then taboo topic of interracial romantic relationships. One of Fuller’s most overt social commentary films, it’s loaded with hyperbolic imagery and highly suggestive sexual urgency. Starring James Shigeta, Victoria Shaw, Glenn Corbett, Anna Lee, Paul Dubov. Provocative cinematography by Sam Leavitt. Written and directed by Samuel Fuller. In Black & White. 35mm. 82 mins. 1959. USA. Buy Tickets

Sunday, Sept 25
forty_guns2:30 FORTY GUNS
This floridly flaming saga of a stubbornly willful land baroness running roughshod over her band of hired guns (studs?) still retains the power to shock and amaze given its highly unusual (for the time) feminist trappings. A full-scale power struggle erupts when an equally single-minded sheriff arrives on the scene. One of the director’s most exciting films! Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan, Dean Jagger, John Ericson, Gene Barry. Breathtaking widescreen cinematograpy by Joseph Biroc. Written and directed by Samuel Fuller. In Black & White. DCP. 80 mins. 1957. USA.  Buy Tickets

deadpigeon4:15  DEAD PIGEON ON BEETHOVEN STREET [Tote Taube in der Beethovenstraße]. Christa Lang-Fuller in conversation with Bay Area musician, film programmer and archivist, Peter Conheim after the film.

The director was clearly having a fine time of it with this curiously tongue in cheek adventure of an American detective searching for the murderer of his partner in modern day Germany. A knowing blend of American pulp fiction and the director’s unerring ear and eye for action and nuance make this rarely revived film a major treat for his fans. This version is a longer, recently-discovered and restored director’s cut.  Starring Glenn Corbett, Christa Lang, Sieghardt Rupp, Anton Diffring, Stephane Audran. Written and directed by Samuel Fuller. In Color . DCP. 124 mins. 1972. USA / GERMANY.  Buy Tickets

Fuller-whitedog-lo7:15 WHITE DOG
Christa Lang-Fuller in conversation with Bay Area musician, film programmer and archivist, Peter Conheim after the film.

By far the director’s most controversial film, it tells the incendiary story of a young actress who adopts a white dog, which, unbeknownst to her, has been trained by its previous owner to attack black people on sight. With the help of an animal trainer, a black man, she sets out to undo this dangerous scenario. Possibly perceiving a racist subtext, Paramount first demanded cuts of Fuller, and then abandoned the film’s release, shelving it and only reviving it later on cable.  Seen today, it is a clear example of Fuller’s desire to broaden our awareness of the racial divide in this country.  We are presenting a rare, uncut version on 35mm.  Starring Kristy McNichol, Paul Winfield, Christa Lang, Burl Ives, Paul Bartel, Dick Miller From a novel by Romain Gary. Expertly photographed by Bruce Surtees. Written and directed by Samuel Fuller. In Color. 35mm. 90 mins. 1982. USA.  Buy Tickets


With the Korean War still in its first year, Fuller created the first American feature film to deal directly and specifically with that conflict. It tells the story of a gritty unit of US soldiers caught up in the hellish surroundings of a brutal war and, in the process, manages to emerge as a simmering statement on the futility of war itself. Low-budget and typically independent. Superbly photographed by Ernest Miller. Starring Gene Evans, Robert Hutton, Steve Brodie, James Edwards, Sid Melton. Written and directed by Samuel Fuller. In Black & White.  84 mins. USA. Buy Tickets