The Typewriter, the Rifle, and the Movie Camera recounts the three stages of filmmaker Samuel Fuller's remarkable career -- from his beginnings as Arthur Brisbane's copy boy, to his experience as a rifleman in World War II, to his success as a "B" movie writer/director. Tim Robbins narrates the documentary and interviews the lively, articulate Fuller, while fans Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, and Jim Jarmusch provide commentary. The film is highlighted with clips from hard-to-find Fuller films and glimpses of the director's memorabilia, including Gene Evans' helmet from The Steel Helmet, a sword from The Crimson Kimono, and the famed portable camera that Fuller's mother sent to him while he was overseas. It also features Fuller's cartoons, his drawings, readings from his journal, and photographs from his personal collection. Yet, nothing is more prominent in the film than the eccentric, excited Fuller as he tells his own story. Produced only two years before the filmmaker's death in 1997, the documentary is one of his last onscreen appearances. Film critic Andrew Sarris declared that a Sam Fuller film cannot be explained, it must be seen. The same is true for Fuller himself, and this documentary is the closest today's fans will get to that experience.
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