Friday, May 21, 2010

"Let's make some money!"

I went to see Samuel Fuller's ultra-rare film masterpiece "Steel Helmet" at the Freer Gallery tonight. Man was it good on the big screen. The black and white print looked great and Fuller's extreme close-ups on his actors' faces really gave the movie a gritty style that was brand new to war movies in the 1950's. The writing was superb pulp noir but sounded so authentic and right for the characters that it felt more like a documentary than a scripted movie. I've seen this movie once before on video, but seeing it tonight in a theater really made it special. The movie boils down the experience of war to the basic facts. No matter what your philosophy of life or your race may be, when the bullets start flying all war is really about is trying to survive it. When the medic is forced into action near the end of the movie it is one of the most heart-breaking heroic actions in a movie ever. And what makes it all the better is the way Fuller just makes it happen without fanfare or fancy direction. The medic just curses and then starts firing. Perfect. "Steel Helmet" is a gritty masterpeice that deserves a restored DVD release so everyone can get a chance to experience it.

Originally posted on February 26, 2005 on Myspace.

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