Film is Like a Battleground: Sam Fuller's War Movies by Marsha GordonFilm is Like a Battleground: Sam Fuller's War Movies by Marsha Gordon

Film is Like a Battleground: Sam Fuller's War Movies

byMarsha Gordon

Paperback | February 3, 2017

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Film is Like a Battleground: Sam Fuller's War Movies is the first book to focus on the genre that best defined the American director's career: the war film. It draws on previously unexplored archival materials, such as Fuller's Federal Bureau of Investigation files and WWII-era 16mm films, toexplore the director's lifelong interest in making challenging, thought-provoking, and often politically dangerous movies about war. After establishing the roots of Fuller's cinematographic schooling in the trenches during World War II, including careful consideration of his 16mm footage of a Nazi camp at the end of that war, Film is Like a Battleground explores Fuller's first forays into hot war representation in Hollywood withthe pioneering Korean conflict films The Steel Helmet (1951) and Fixed Bayonets (1951). This pair of films introduced Fuller to his first run-ins with the American political machine when they triggered both FBI and Department of Defense investigations into his political sympathies and affiliations.Fuller's cold war films Pickup on South Street (1953) and, though it veers into hot war territory, Hell and High Water (1954) are Fuller's responses to the political pressures he had now personally experienced and resented. A chapter on Fuller's representation of pre-American-invasion Vietnam inChina Gate (1957) alongside his unrealized Vietnam war screenplay, The Rifle (ca. late 1960s), illustrates the degree to which Fuller's representation of war and nation shifted even as he continued to probe war's impossible contradictions.Film is Like a Battleground would be incomplete without a thorough exploration of the films depicting the war Fuller personally experienced and spent a lifetime contemplating, WWII. Verboten! (1959), Merrill's Marauder's (1962), and The Big Red One (1980) demonstrate Fuller's representation of amorally justifiable war. Fuller's 1959 CBS television pilot - Dogface - offers a glimpse at one of Fuller's failed attempts to bring his WWII story into American living rooms. The book concludes with a chapter about a documentary film made late in the director's life that returns Fuller to theactual site of the Nazi's Falkenau camp, at which he discusses his experiences there and that powerful, unforgettable footage he shot in the spring of 1945.
Dr. Marsha Gordon is Associate Professor of Film Studies at North Carolina State University. She is the author of Hollywood Ambitions: Celebrity in the Movie Age, co-editor of Learning with the Lights Off: A Reader in Educational Film in the United States, and the former co-editor of The Moving Image journal.
Title:Film is Like a Battleground: Sam Fuller's War MoviesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:February 3, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190269758

ISBN - 13:9780190269753

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Editorial Reviews

"Marsha Gordon's extraordinary study establishes war as the generative aspect of an entire career, in the way it provided the emotional and aesthetic valences of all of Sam Fuller's films and writing, and generative also of the director's combative relationships with studio bosses,journalists, and government bureaucrats. Film is Like a Battleground is a terrific cultural and critical biography of a great tough guy, iconoclast, and filmmaker." --ERIC SMOODIN, author of Regarding Frank Capra: Audience, Celebrity, and American Film Studies, 1930-1960