03 July, 2009


Film Still

The Baron of Arizona

Samuel Fuller

United States
97 minutes
Black and White
The late Samuel Fuller remains one of my favorite American filmmakers. He was American all the way, but he questioned and critiqued the concept of the American Dream and explored some dark passages in US History. Tonight on TCM at 9:30PM Eastern one of his most unique works will be aired, the bizarre anti-western THE BARON OF ARIZONA (1950), Fuller's account of James Reavis aka "The Man Who Stole Arizona" (almost). Vincent Price is ideally cast as the obsessive swindler. Shot in noirish b&w the film also has a Gothic feel. Highly recommended.
I had the pleasure of meeting Fuller in 1980 and found him engaging, generous and eager to encourage a struggling writer. I like his work for the same reason I admire Jess Franco, they are both ferociously independent, risk-taking and true to themselves in an often ruthless business which tends to discourage personal filmmaking and innovation.
THE BARON OF ARIZONA will be preceded and followed by two other early Fuller titles, I SHOT JESSE JAMES, his debut feature, and THE STEEL HELMET, a gritty war movie, along with a documentary.

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1 comment:

dfordoom said...

Sam Fuller's The Naked Kiss and Shock Corridor are about as strange as American movie-making gets. And I mean that in a good way! I'm not very fond of his earlier more conventional movies, but those two are a treat.