Samuel Fuller

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Samuel Fuller (1987)
Fuller's signature (1991)

Samuel Michael Fuller (born August 12, 1912 in Worcester , Massachusetts , † October 30, 1997 in Hollywood , California ) was an American actor , screenwriter , director and soldier during the Second World War .


Samuel Michael Fuller was the child of Jewish parents from Russia, father Benjamin Rabinowitsch, and Poland, the mother, b. Rebecca Baum. After the father's death, the mother moved with her children to New York City in 1924 . Fuller worked as a delivery boy for various newspapers until he became the youngest crime reporter in New York in 1929 with the New York Evening Graphic . Fuller came to Hollywood through employment at various newspapers in San Francisco and San Diego, where he began writing scripts, short stories for pulp magazines and novels for lending libraries. Between 1936 and 1942 he made eight films based on his scripts.

In 1942, Fuller was drafted into military service. He served in the 1st US Infantry Division ( Big Red One ) and took part in the war in North Africa, Sicily , Normandy, Belgium , Germany and Czechoslovakia . Fuller has received several awards ( Bronze Star , Silver Star , Purple Heart ). During the liberation of the Flossenbürg subcamp Falkenau in Sokolov , Czechoslovakia, in May 1945 by US troops, the infantryman Samuel Fuller captured with a 16-mm camera, like a captain, about 20 local residents who protested nothing of Knowing about the subcamp, forced them to recover the bodies found in the camp, to clothe them and to bury them in the city cemetery. The film formed the basis of the documentary KZ Falkenau - A lesson on human dignity , made in 1988 under the direction of Emil Weiss , in which Samuel Fuller also appeared as a contemporary witness.

His novel The Dark Page was published as early as 1944. It was set in the newspaper environment and received the award for the best psychological novel of the year from American literary critics. In 1948 Fuller wrote the screenplay for Douglas Sirk's film Unwavering Love .

In November 1948, Fuller realized I shot Jesse James his first film as a director. Another western followed, The Baron of Arizona (1949), and the war film Hell of Korea (1950). Fuller received a seven-year contract with 20th Century Fox and realized the film The Last Attack (1951) for Fox . Park Row (1952), which played again in the newspaper milieu, was Fuller's first self-produced film. For Police Intervene , Fuller received the Bronze Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1953 .

In 1956, Fuller founded his own production company Globe Enterprises and produced the following six films himself. The 1957 western Forty Rifles is now considered an unconventional classic of its genre and a pioneer of the late- western genre.

From 1962, Fuller also turned for television, including an episode for the western series The People of Shiloh Ranch . In 1963, the films Schock-Korridor and The Naked Kiss followed , which Fuller also processed as novels. From 1965 Fuller stayed in France , where he appeared as an actor in films by Jean-Luc Godard ( Eleven o'clock , 1965) and Luc Moullet ( Brigitte et Brigitte , 1965). During this time, Fuller also met his future wife, the German actress Christa Lang .

In 1967, Fuller directed the film Hai in a US-American-Mexican co-production , which, however, was drastically cut by the producers without Fuller's knowledge. In 1969, Fuller played a film director in Dennis Hopper's chaotic production The Last Movie . In Germany, Fuller shot the film Dead Taube in Beethovenstrasse in 1972 as a contribution to the Tatort series (investigator: Kressin). In 1978 Fuller realized his last major project: The Big Red One , a war film with autobiographical features, which Fuller later turned into a novel. The 1981 production of White Dog turned into a fiasco: The film was only shown briefly on pay-TV instead of international theatrical release due to the charge of being racist. In 1983, he shot the film Les Voleurs de la Nuit in Paris, where Fuller had his main residence for some time . His last feature film was Street of No Return in 1989 , but he continued to work as a television director and actor, most recently for Wim Wenders in The End of Violence (1997).

Filmography (selection)

Memorial plaque for Samuel Fuller in Sokolov


  • 1943: Margin for Error
  • 1949: Unshakable Love (Shockproof)
  • 1974: Cursed They All (The Klansman)




  • Burn, baby, burn . Phoenix Press, New York 1935.
  • Test tube baby . Goodwin, New York 1936.
  • The Dark Page . Duell, Sloan & Pearce, New York 1944; German translation: The dark side . Ullstein, Berlin, 1989.
  • 114 Picacadilly . RW Barrow, New York 1971
  • Crown of India . Award Books, New York 1966.
  • Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street . Pyramid Books, New York 1974. German translation: Dead Taube on Beethoven Strasse , Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 1973.
  • The Big Red One . Bantam Books, New York 1980.
  • Les Voleurs de la nuit . Parafrance, Paris 1983
  • Sapphos Escape . Ullstein, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin 1986.



  • Samuel Fuller, Christa Lang Fuller, Jerome Henry Rudes: A Third Face - My Tale of Writing, Fighting an Filmmaking ; New York: Applause Theater & Cinema Books, 2002; ISBN 1-55783-627-2 .

Secondary literature

  • Nicholas Garnham: Samuel Fuller ; New York: Cinema One 15, The Viking Press, 1971; ISBN 0-670-01925-9 .
  • Phil Hardy: Samuel Fuller ; London: Studio Vista Film Paperbacks, 1970; ISBN 0-289-70035-3 .
  • Lee Server: Sam Fuller - Film Is a Battleground ; Jefferson: McFarland, 1994; ISBN 0-7864-0008-0 .
  • David Will, Peter Wollen (Eds.): Samuel Fuller ; Edinburgh Film Festival 69 in association with Scottish International Review, 1969.
  • Ulrich von Berg, Norbert Grob (Ed.): Fuller ; Berlin: Edition Films, 1984; ISBN 3-88690-060-6 .
  • Norbert Grob: [Article] Samuel Fuller. In: Thomas Koebner (Ed.): Film directors. Biographies, descriptions of works, filmographies. With 109 illustrations. 3rd, updated and expanded edition. Reclam, Stuttgart 2008 [1. Ed. 1999], ISBN 3-15-010455-6 , pp. 268-270.

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