Film Is Like a Battleground: Sam Fuller's War Movies


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6.1 X 9.2 X 1.0 inches | 1.15 pounds

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About the Author

Dr. Marsha Gordon is Associate Professor of Film Studies at North Carolina State University. She is the author of Hollywood Ambitions: Celebrity in the Movie Age, co-editor of Learning with the Lights Off: A Reader in Educational Film in the United States, and the former co-editor of The Moving Image journal.


"Film Is Like a Battleground, besides being a highly readable and cogently written analysis of the director's war films, is archetypal as a potential textbook. Gordon shows us how to base our writing on factual, authentic sources and how to weave these empirical findings into a work of historiography and humanities scholarship." -- Donald Crafton, The Moving Image

"Marsha Gordon's book is an engaging, lucidly written work of original and highly useful scholarship." --Rick Worland, Journal of Film and Video

"With clear thought, clear prose, and impeccable research, Marsha Gordon has written a fresh and insightful new edition to the study of major American stylist, Sam Fuller. Gordon thoroughly explores Fuller's war films, connecting them to archive records across a wide spectrum including his own personal experiences. This book is both important and readable." --JEANINE BASINGER, author of I Do and I Don't: A History of Marriage in the Movies

"Marsha Gordon's deft blend of biography, critical insight, and original argument makes this an exemplary study. Emphasizing the shaping experience of war in the life and art of Sam Fuller, Gordon finds a central tragic theme in the work of a director known mainly for his hyperbolic visual style. Important and timely, Film is Like a Battleground illuminates Fuller's career in a way that gives it immediate contemporary relevance." --ROBERT BURGOYNE, author of Film Nation: Hollywood Looks at U.S. History

"Marsha Gordon is a brilliant researcher and equally brilliant reader of films. Gordon takes Fuller's work and its contexts very seriously and sees them in a light that reveals what is so important about this neglected director." --ROBERT KOLKER, author of A Cinema of Loneliness

"Marsha Gordon's extraordinary study establishes war as the generative aspect of an entire career, in the way it provided the emotional and aesthetic valences of all of Sam Fuller's films and writing, and generative also of the director's combative relationships with studio bosses, journalists, and government bureaucrats. Film is Like a Battleground is a terrific cultural and critical biography of a great tough guy, iconoclast, and filmmaker." --ERIC SMOODIN, author of Regarding Frank Capra: Audience, Celebrity, and American Film Studies, 1930-1960

"It not only focuses on Fuller's war movies but brings hitherto unknown archive material to light resulting in that rare combination of stimulating critical insights and very relevant excavation...Using archival sources in an admirable and penetrating manner, Gordon succeeds in this project...Gordon's detailed researches into the Fuller archives often result in new discoveries...reviewing Fuller's legacy from another perspective to reveal its inherent humanity and relevance to an era in which we are again subject to the absurdity that Fuller earlier recognized." -- Film International

"In the engaging Film Is Like a Battleground: Sam Fuller's War Movies, Marsha Gordon explores how Fuller grappled with trauma, memory, and the impossibility of realistically representing war across his eight combat and Cold War films as well as his television and script work...Fuller was a master storyteller, and Gordon's meticulous research reorients and adds texture to many of the yarns he told not only about his films, but also about his own life...Gordon's focus allows her to provide sustained attention to individual pictures, interweaving discussion of their production and reception with detailed analysis of the films themselves and their political, cultural, and generic contexts." -- Film Quarterly

"Marsha Gordon's book on Fuller is part biography, part critical analysis, and it's eminently worth reading on both counts. Primarily she's engaged in making connections between Fuller's years with The Big Red One (aka the 1st Infantry Division) during World War II--the seminal experience of his life--and his filmmaking career...Gordon emerges with some stunning information...Gordon's book leaves no doubt that the war was the making of Fuller as an artist and he knew it while it was still happening." -- Film Comment