Samuel Fuller was an American screenwriter and film director, but also a freelance journalist, crime reporter and novelist. His film career began in late 1930s. As a film director he was well known for low-budget genre movies with controversial themes.
The following part of an interview is an excerpt from a book titled Film Noir Reader 3:
Q: What about the main character in The Naked Kiss, a hooker, and the upstanding citizen who's a child molester? That's pretty dark.
Fuller: Well, sure, I wanted it to be a shocking film. You know the opening, the victim's point of view as the call girl beats on him, the visual shock when her wig comes off; but after that, the audience knows who she is. There's no surprise there. What I wanted was the whole concept of a a caste system--not the formal one like they have in India or Japan--but a real sense among the social outcasts that there is something so vile, so low, that even they must scorn it. In prisons, you know, the convicts all revile the child molesters. They call them chicken hawks, and a lot of them get killed by murderers and thieves who are outraged at what they did. And that's the hypocrisy in our society. Constance Towers is a hooker but she has a moral belief. She tries to change her life, thinks it's going to happen, finds out this guy is scum, and kills him. And when they find out about her past everybody assumes she's guilty as hell. I guess that is something of a film noir situation, but for me the irony was more straight-forward. She is a hooker for business reasons. She loves children for personal reasons. She can love kids and be a good person and still go back to being a hooker without a second thought because that's just business. Again I hate the cliché, whether it's the whore with a heart of gold or that stupid, self-sacrificing stuff, like Stella Dallas. You know, the guy loves her anyway, or he's a phony but someone genuine turns up, or she walks away in the rain. Whatever the ending, it's phony and it stinks.
Q: So you were most interested in realism?
Fuller: Oh, yeah. I researched every milieu. If I were to do a movie tomorrow about a fashion designer, say, I would have to spend some time to find out what language they spoke. Because I would never be satisfied with my dialogue, I want something that gives you the color of that character right away. In The Naked Kiss, I had more time than with Pick-upto work on that. But you also have to create interest. The Constance Towers character wants to rise above her station, quotes from books. That's all to make an impression. A real hooker would not be interested in any of that. It wouldn't mean anything unless it made money for her. A whore-house story is always great. Just great! The way they hang around and discuss the men and pull together in their outlook. Hollywood could never deal with that. And television has a different kind of whore: they all have Black pimps. No Black pastors, teachers, bus drivers--they're all pimps. I don't understand it. And this is coming into people's homes...
In The Naked Kiss I had to rewrite a scene, and I resented it. The Shurlock office, the new version of the Breen and Hays Offices, the "censor," didn't like the speech Constance Towers made at the end. This was the first time I used profanity, and my argument was that this real profanity suggests the depth of her anger. She is not trying to be dirty if she says, "I moved to this town to get away from shit." Then she realizes that the Chamber of Commerce, the American Legion, the D.A.R., that's the real shit. Of course, the censors suggested that I should use another word and not mention the D.A.R. etc. So I said the hell with it, I need to get a [Motion Picture Code] Seal or this movie doesn't get released.
Being a hooker does not mean being evil. The same with a pick-pocket, or even a thief. You do what you do out of necessity. The people who look down on you are just prejudiced, like the townspeople who deride Constance Towers when they think she's a killer and find out about her past and then cannot face her when they discover she actually did something heroic. That's what I wanted to show and that's what I thought was shocking. The irony was a woman who has struggled, finds what she thinks is happiness, the whole nine yards, then finds out it's all a lie. After it's all smashed to bits, she can still pick up the pieces because she still has her own integrity. But nobody got it. It went over like a lead balloon, probably because it was too shocking and distasteful.
"In a documentary about Samuel Fuller, the spectator gets different impressions about the Hollywood director and his films. The film is divided into the three sections: The Typewriter, the Rifle and the Movie Camera. The first segment covers Fuller's past as a newsman where he began as a copy boy and ended as a reporter. Part two describes Fuller's experiences in World War II, in which he participated as a soldier. The last section focuses on Fuller as director. Tim Robbins interviews Samuel Fuller revealing the director's own memories and impressions. Beside the interview, Jim Jarmusch, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino accompany the documentary with their comments."
"Samuel Fuller: the Typewriter, the Rifle and the Movie Camera" - documentary directed by Adam Simon
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