Writer/Director Sam Fuller’s The Big Red One never received the accolades it deserved in his lifetime for a myriad of reasons. I mention this simply because I was going through my research records for Lee Marvin Point Blank and came across some reminders of the film’s reconstruction back in 2004. I was invited to the screening at the Director’s Guild of America (DGA) in Hollywood and wound up mingling with several of the film’s participants.

Program cover for the DGA screening of Sam Fuller’s reconstructed THE BIG RED ONE.

Those in attendance included Sam’s widow Christa Fuller and their daughter Samantha, as well as the film’s costars Robert Carradine, Kelly Ward, Bobby DiCiccio, Perry Lang and a few others. Mark Hamill was scheduled to appear but had to cancel.
Anyway, it was a wonderful experience.

Inside page of BIG RED ONE reconstruction program.

There were also a few unexpected surprises, such as Martha Plimpton and her father, Keith Carradine. I spoke briefly with Carradine in hopes of getting an interview for his work in Emperor of the North but sadly, it was not to be.
On a happier note, I was able to reconnect with Peter Levinson (1934-2008), The Big Red One’s original publicist who had granted me an interview a few months before, regaling me with some wonderful industry anecdotes I might blog about in the near future.
Viewing the film was of course an incredible experience as the lost footage had been rumored and whispered about for decades were finally on display. Historian Richard Schickel did a most commendable job putting the pieces together, as most fans would later discover on DVD.
Okay, I am apparently avoiding the obvious, which is what I REALLY found in my research records. Can you tell? So, without further adieu, here it is. Before the film started, Christa Fuller took a photo of me chatting with her daughter outside the DGA building. It might best be dubbed “Beauty & The Beast.” I give you…..

Samantha Fuller (left) reacts to something I’m telling her while I blather on about something that, for the life of me, I have no memory of whatsoever. Maybe that’s a good thing.



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Sam Fuller!
I ‘ve been extremely fortunate in my research for Lee Marvin: Point Blank to get to know several film greats and few were greater than the legendary Sam Fuller, so much so that way back in February 1998 FilmFax Magazine allowed me to reminscence on the great man’s passing. Below is the cover. Hey, they had to sell copies, right?

Okay, so it’s not the cover story. That aside, at least I did get to write what I want. I also had access to rare pictures and was able to express and expand on some personal anecdotes in my own clunky way and came up with a catchy title. In fact, that cute little girl in the photos with Sam? That’s Sam and Christa Fuller’s daughter, Samantha. She’s now the director of a wonderful new documentary about her father entitled, that’s right, A Fuller Life.

What was it like to be friends with the great Sam Fuller? That can only be answered by reading the article below. So, sit back, read and enjoy. As Sam Fuller himself would’ve said, it’s a helluva yarn!




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On what would have been his 74th birthday, has found a perfectly useable connection to Lee Marvin and birthday boy, John Lennon. You may or may not know a more prominent connection. John Lennon was a big fan of The Wild One, and as stated in Lee Marvin: Point Blank, Marvin’s gang in the film, The Beetles, proved to be quite inspirational.
Stranger still, but nontheless applicable, is yet another Beatle connection. When Lee Marvin’s recording of “Wanderin Star” from Paint Your Wagon was released as a single, no one was more surprised by its success than Marvin himself. The record company that released the single in England crowed no little bit about the success and paid for the following ad to be placed in the industry’s BillBoard magazine…..

Billboard Magazine ad touting Marvin's successful release of his singel of Wandern' Star.

Billboard Magazine ad touting Marvin’s successful release of his singel of Wandern’ Star.


The ad’s copy, barely visible in the bottom right corner, boastfully states:
We said LEE MARVIN had a record! But “Wanderin’ Star” is a song as timely as today from a story that is ageless.
Lee Marvin’s record of “Wanderin’ Star “from the movie “Paint Your Wagon.” PD’s [Program Directors] throughout the country loved the record.
“It’s the most different thing I’ve heard,” was what we heard most. “But when can I play it” is the thing we heard second most.
For anyone who missed the flash, this record was #1 — in England. It kept the Beatles out of the top of the chart.
We have just sent you a shining brand new copy of “Wanderin’ Star.” Listen to it again.
Get with the picture playing in every neighborhood in America.
Just play it. It takes care of itself.

That’s right. He kept the Beatles from having one last number 1 hit in the UK. The Beatles’ single came close but topped out at number 2. This fact, of course was NOT lost on Marvin who chided his Beatle-loving son Christopher about it constantly.
What was the Beatle song that Marvin kept out of the top spot? Well, let’s just say…..

The Beatles - Let It Be

The Beatles – Let It Be

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