Cover image for A third face : my tale of writing, fighting and filmmaking
A third face : my tale of writing, fighting and filmmaking
Fuller, Samuel, 1912-1997.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Alfred A. Knopf : Distributed by Random House, [2002]

Physical Description:
xii, 592 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1998.3.F85 A3 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In his new book, Samuel Fuller, independent director-producer extraordinaire, tells the story of his life, a life that spanned most of the twentieth century. His twenty-nine tough, gritty pictures made from 1949 to 1989 set out to capture the truth of war, racism, and human frailties, and incorporate some of his own experiences. He writes of his years in the newspaper business--selling papers as a boy on the streets of New York, working for Hearst'sNew York Journal American, first as a copyboy, then as personal runner for the famous Hearst editor in chief Arthur Brisbane. His filmPark Rowwas inspired by his years as a reporter for theNew York Evening Graphic, where his beat included murders, suicides, state executions, and race riots--he scooped every other New York paper with his coverage of the death by drug overdose of the legendary Jeanne Eagels. Fuller writes about hitchhiking across the country, seeing America firsthand at the height of the Great Depression. He writes of his years in the army . . . fighting with the first infantry division in World War II, called the Big Red One . . . on the front lines during the invasion of North Africa and Sicily, and landing on Omaha Beach on D Day, June 6, 1944. These experiences he later captured in his hugely successful picturesThe Big Red One,The Steel Helmet, andMerrill's Marauders, which was based on the true story of a three-thousand-man infantry that fought behind enemy lines in Burma in 1944. Fuller talks about directing his first picture (he also wrote the script),I Shot Jesse James. . . and how, as a result, he was sought after by every major studio, choosing to work for Darryl Zanuck of Twentieth Century Fox. We see him becoming one of the most prolific, independent-minded writer-directors, turning out seven pictures in six years, among themPickup on South Street,House of Bamboo, andChina Gate. He writes about makingUnderworld U.S.A., a movie that shows how gangsters in the 1960s were no longer seen as thugs but as "respected" tax-paying executives . . . about the making of the movieShock Corridor--about a journalist trying to solve a murder in a lunatic asylum--which exposed the conditions in mental institutions . . . and aboutWhite Dog(written in collaboration with Curtis Hanson), a film so controversial that Paramount's then studio heads, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Michael Eisner, refused to release it. Honest, open, engrossing. A must for anyone interested in movies.

Author Notes

In addition to his work in film, Samuel Fuller (1911-1997) wrote eleven novels. A Third Face was completed by Jerome Henry Rudes, Fuller's longtime friend, and his wife Christa Lang Fuller
Jerome Henry Rudes created the French-American Film Workshop in Avignon, France (now the Avignon Film Festival), and in 1995 started the Avignon/New York Film Festival. He is currently writing a one-man play about Fuller and lives in New York and Provence
Christa Lang Fuller appeared in New Wave films directed by Jean-Luc Godard. She was married to Samuel Fuller in 1967 and lives in Los Angeles with their daughter, Samantha, and grandchild, Samira

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ebullient and cantankerous, director Sam Fuller probably had more personality than anyone else in the movie business. It came through clearly in his films, particularly in the outrageously lurid, low-budget likes of Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss. Happily, it is also fully displayed in his wildly entertaining autobiography, which with characteristic excitement recalls breaking into Hollywood, describes the shooting of his 29 films, and relates his struggles to continue working on underfunded projects in Europe after the studio system died in the late 1960s. Fuller's earlier life was actually more colorful and exciting than his Hollywood years. At 17 he became a crime reporter for a New York tabloid, at which he developed his expertise in sensationalism, and later he took part in the D-Day landing at Omaha Beach. He always saw himself as a storyteller first--he turned to directing to keep his scripts from being butchered--and his final story (he died at 85 in 1997) shows that his own life was the greatest tale he had to tell. --Gordon Flagg

Publisher's Weekly Review

" `Hammer!' Hell if I know why that was the first goddamned word that came out of my mouth," writes cult filmmaker Fuller (1911-1997) in his autobiography's opening line. But "hammer" is an apt word for Fuller's abrupt, shocking style. With such classics as Pickup on South Street and Run of the Arrow, Fuller brought seriousness and art to the Hollywood B-movie. "I'm a storyteller," he proclaims, and this straightforward, unsentimental account of his life and substantial career is reflective of his film sensibility. The book details Fuller's early days as a journalist on the crime beat who wrote exposs of the Klan and later as a soldier in WWII. During his long career, Fuller wrote and directed 23 films, wrote another 16 and published 11 novels. Famous for his gritty stories with stark plot details-the bald prostitute beating up her pimp in The Naked Kiss; the asylum race riot started by a black man who thinks he's in the KKK in Shock Corridor-Fuller was one of Hollywood's most political filmmakers, and his memoir neatly conflates his artistic and political visions. Of Shock Corridor, he reflects, "It had the subtlety of a sledgehammer. I was dealing with insanity, racism, patriotism, nuclear warfare, and sexual perversion... my madhouse was a metaphor for America." Always energetic and often gossipy-he writes of his odd, intense friendship with Jim Morrison and how Barbara Stanwyck did her own stunts in Forty Guns-Fuller's last work is a joy and an important addition to film and popular culture literature. 171 photos. Agent, Fifi Oscard. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Fuller takes the title of this excellent book, one of the best film books published in 2002, from his reflections on the self. The first face is the one we are born with; the second is the one we create in life, the one visible to others; the third is the inner face, which others cannot see. He reveals his own third face in this story of his life as a newspaperman, a soldier in WW II, a writer, a filmmaker, an actor--and a person. He comments on all of his films and brings to life some of his best: Pickup on South Street, Shock Corridor, Park Row, The Naked Kiss, and The Big Red One. Of great value to scholars and students is the section "The Works of Samuel Fuller," which lists his work as director, actor, writer of screenplays, published books, and unproduced plays, stories, and treatments. This very readable book will have an honorable place on the small shelf of books by directors who have written on their craft: Jean Renior's My Life and My Films (CH, Apr'75), Luis Bunuel's My Last Sigh (CH, Feb'84), and Ingmar Bergman's The Magic Lantern (1988) and Images: My Life in Film (1994). Many notes, film stills, and photographs. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All film and autobiography collections. W. K. Huck emeritus, Idaho State University

Table of Contents

Forewordp. xi
Introductionp. xiii
Part I
1. A Stroke of Good Fortunep. 3
2. Plunging in Head Firstp. 7
3. Mama's Boyp. 12
4. Manhattan Explorerp. 17
5. Run Sammy Runp. 25
6. Flash Like a New Cometp. 39
7. World of Neverthelessp. 54
8. Westward Hop. 64
9. Chaos and Bewildermentp. 77
10. Added Zeroesp. 87
11. Forget About Greatnessp. 98
Part II
12. The Big Red Onep. 109
13. Huskyp. 122
14. Just Stand Therep. 135
15. Impossible to Feel Blessedp. 147
16. Send a Photo to My Motherp. 162
17. Detailed Descriptionp. 176
18. Death Rained Downp. 178
19. Eggs Off a Woman's Bellyp. 190
20. A River of Tearsp. 200
21. Falkenaup. 213
22. Earthquake of Warp. 219
Part III
23. The Bubble Will Burstp. 233
24. The First Adult Westernp. 244
25. Earning Some Cloutp. 251
26. Pursuit of Happinessp. 267
27. A Little Black-and-White Picturep. 279
28. Don't Wave the Flag at Mep. 291
29. Wide-Screen Sub Picturep. 307
30. Cherry Blossoms and Whirligigsp. 314
31. Mato Grossop. 324
32. Where's Your Pride, Ma?p. 332
Part IV
33. Grab 'Em. Slap 'Em. Shak' 'Em Upp. 345
34. Stuffed with Phallusesp. 355
35. I Used My Own Voicep. 365
36. Los Angeles, Mon Amourp. 375
37. Breathing Revengep. 382
38. The Smell of Truthp. 391
39. Tempted by Televisionp. 398
40. Love Your Country Despite the Ulcersp. 403
41. Want to Be a Lindy?p. 415
Part V
42. Two to Tangop. 427
43. Sharksp. 440
44. Lean Timesp. 446
45. Off the Radar Screenp. 450
46. Turmoil and Wastep. 456
47. Making It All Worthwhilep. 464
48. The Unmaking of a Klansmanp. 471
49. Let Them Judge for Themselvesp. 475
50. Four-Legged Time Bombp. 484
Part VI
51. A Third Facep. 497
52. Breadwinner in Francep. 505
53. Half Full, Not Half Emptyp. 512
54. Sons and Sonsofbitchesp. 518
55. Being Serious Without Taking It Seriouslyp. 526
56. Still Burning Insidep. 530
57. Metamorphosis of a Melodyp. 537
58. Long, Long Thoughtsp. 543
59. State of Peacep. 550
60. Kiss Me, Babyp. 556
Notesp. 563
The Works of Samuel Fullerp. 569
Bibliographyp. 575
Acknowledgmentsp. 577
Indexp. 579