A documentary about Sam Fuller, directed by his daughter Samantha Fuller.

Samantha Fuller's documentary isn't the first to profile her father, the big-hearted, cigar-chomping, Godard-revered filmmaker Sam Fuller—it follows 1996's The Typewriter, the Rifle & the Movie Camera—but it's the first in which he narrates his own life story (Fuller died in 1997).

The hydra-headed voice-over combines film clips and 16 mm home movies with readings by actors and directors from his pungent memoir, A Third Face. Fuller started off as a newsboy before climbing the ladder to crime reporter, novelist, screenwriter, and, finally, director of low-budget classics like Pickup on South Street.

As for World War II, during which he served in the infantry, he called it "the biggest crime story of the century." The man deserves a clutch of documentaries, but his daughter makes some beginner's mistakes, like an extraneous prologue and close-ups on faces like that of the overexposed James Franco (his reading is fine, but speakers with a closer relationship to her subject, like the radiant Constance Towers, make more sense for this project).

If her film inspires more people to seek out Fuller's work, however, that will be more than enough. In addition to A Fuller Life, the Grand Illusion will be screening two of his most essential films, Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss. recommended