The Frances Farmer Show #10: Three and Shock Corridor

This week Mike and Sean, for the third time, trek out to downtown Seattle to catch the opening night of the new Johnnie To film, the hospital-set thriller Three, with Louis Koo, Zhao Wei and Wallace Chung. Paired with it is another thriller set in a hospital, Samuel Fuller’s 1963 Shock Corridor, about a journalist who goes undercover in a mental institution and comes unglued.

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A Correction:

Philip Ahn, who played Dr. Hong in Shock Corridor, was Korean-American, not Chinese American.

Samuel Fuller at the Grand Illusion Cinema


Playing at the Grand Illusion this week is Samantha Fuller’s 2013 documentary about her father, A Fuller Life. Aside from a short introduction explaining the concept, her movie consists entirely of excerpts from Fuller’s memoir, as read by a variety of his friends, co-workers and fans (generally shot in the kind of propulsive close-ups so recognizable from Fuller’s films). The images we see are a combination of archival footage, clips from Fuller’s movies and never-before-seen 16mm home movies shot by Sam over the decades. It’s a loving account of a remarkable American, one of the unique and definitive personalities of the 20th Century. Beginning his professional life as a newspaper boy in 1920s Manhattan, he quickly worked his way up to teenaged crime reporter. During the Depression he set out across the country, making his living as a freelance journalist and pulp novelist, chronicling the darkest corners of a turbulent decade (an anecdote he relates about a KKK woman is especially vivid). At the end of the 30s, he settled down in Hollywood, making a living as a screenwriter for hire.

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