A list of all films associated with the Criterion Collection, including laserdiscs, DVDs, Blu-rays, Essential Arthouse, Eclipse Series, Hulu Plus,…
The Steel Helmet
It's the REAL Korean Story!
A ragtag group of American stragglers battles against superior Communist troops in an abandoned Buddhist temple during the Korean War.
Combat isn’t a poetic ballad but a blow to the head, says Samuel Fuller; his riposte to Milestone’s A Walk in the Sun opens with the audience already besieged by artillery shells. The body-strewn aftermath of an ambush introduces the mauled terrain of the Korean War, the bestial sergeant (Gene Evans) stomps through it like bundled dynamite wrapped in a beard, a deranged guide for a deranged conflict. He’s joined by a munchkin dubbed Short Round (William Chun) and an Army medic (James Edwards), then runs into a lost American patrol surrounded by Red snipers. Among the dogfaces is a fellow World War II survivor (Richard Loo), a conscientious objector (Robert Hutton) lugging a mini-church organ, a radio operator (Richard…
Astounding that Fuller was able to get away with something so progressive back in the early 50's, a pretty aggressive attack on racism that points the finger at the complacent Americans who would more than likely make up most of the audience. Gene Evans is great as the wearer of the titular helmet, a gruff and experienced sergeant who seems to hate the company of others as much as he hates intolerance. Also features a character you almost never see in films from this era: Harold Fong as the enemy combatant whose logical arguments make more sense than some of the protagonists'. As he pokes and prods and whispers in the ears of the Americans, you definitely get the sense…
Excellent war movie that manages to get across both the lived in bagginess of Fuller's wartime anecdotal writing style with the taut low budget action direction to create something special.
As with so much of Fuller's work it is both contradictory and brave. Attacking American racism front on with no easy answers, just minority actors getting to agree with communist Korean complaints about American society before shrugging and getting on with being competent, rounded characters. At the same time it shows brutal violence against prisoners from the character who at first had seemed like your typical gruff officer baiting sergeant. A character who avoids a court martial through the officers death, not because his actions were being shown to be…
"If you die, I'll kill ya!". Fuller's supremely low-budget, shot in 10 days (though you wouldn't pick either) effort is a great war movie, of a genre I'm generally not too hot on. The eclectic group stuck together inside a Buddhist temple all bring complex and problematic ideas to the usually black-and-white world of Hollywood war, like the black medic, fighting for a country that discriminates him with Jim Crow laws in peace time. The performances are all solid and the action sequences well directed. A tight 85 minutes means there is little in the way of filler or dull moment, a real American war classic.
Human beings in a mob
What's a mob to a king? What's a king to a god?
What's a god to a non-believer? Who don't believe in anything?
We make it out alive. All right, all right
No church in the wild
To Sam Fuller, war is the great equalizer. When it rains bullets, there’s no conscious awareness of where it goes. It pierces the skin – regardless of age, creed, race, or religion– just the same. Still, if there were a war-zone equivalent to privilege, it would see a bullet ricochet through a soldier’s steel helmet, leaving behind just a trace scar. We’re not all bulletproof; some are just luckier than others.
As always with Fuller, more textured, more intense, and more progressive than you initially expect. He uses the Korean War to introduce themes and tone that later Vietnam War pictures will attempt to replicate, but they won't do it as well. "There is no end to this story."
A U.S. infantry unit sets up an observation post in a seemingly abandoned Buddhist temple during the Korean War, but it's not as abandoned as it seems. Low-budget early "indie" film is a gripping action epic, a profound study of men during wartime, and a potent examination of racism in American culture -- the film is unique in that it was one of the first to feature a diverse platoon, including a black medic (James Edwards) and Japanese-American soldier (Richard Loo) -- and, with the latter, it was the first film to even mention the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Brilliantly written and directed, movie features a strong cast, anchored by Gene Evans' superlative portrayal of a cynical but loyal sergeant.
Format: Eclipse DVD
Location: Parents' house
Gnadenlos (,) zynisch, hart und realistisch. Fuller übertrug hier seine eigenen Kriegserlebnisse in die Dschungelhölle Koreas.
This was a solid early film from Samuel Fuller. Mr. Fuller was on the front lines and he definitely knew what war was like. It was cool to see where the name "Short Round" actually came from this movie and not Temple of Doom. The main character was complex and interesting. There were definitely a few things about it that were dated and I'll probably never watch it again, but all-in-all it was solid and not a waste of time.
I've only seen a handful of Samuel Fuller's movies, but everyone of them has left me with the impression that Fuller was a writer/director who not only understood the complexities of a male dominated society, but was intellectually (and cinematically) capable of illustrating man's often vicious proclivities in the face of those extreme circumstances.
Definitely the best scene was Shortround* singing the south koran anthem to Auld Lang Syne. I should also notice just how daring it was for this film to discuss issues like the moral conflict of African Americans' taking part in the military and internment of Japanese citizens during wwii. while by no means the best resource on this, it's still a movie made by a white guy in the 1950s, it took some guts to address such controversial subjects during the Red Scare. Gold star for trying, Sam.
*Who was totally just lifted from this for Temple of Doom, which is why in that film he feels like something from a movie from the 50s, he literally was that outdated
If only every filmmaker that wanted to make points with their film was as brash & unsentimental as Sam Fuller. He wields a sledgehammer with a precision that most directors & writers couldn't achieve with a scalpel. & if only other war films were as perceptive as to take note of the wars that will always be fought. (Shame about that stock footage, though.)
A list of films compiled from every response to "What Have You Been Watching" on r/TrueFilm in 2015.
From his book Essential Cinema.
A huge thanks to everyone who added films, helped me find films with alternate titles,…