Samuel Fuller, whose films are often forthrightly, and powerfully, unglamorous, once suggested otherwise. In his thoroughly enjoyable posthumous biography A Third Face, Fuller waxes philosophical on the reception and intended purpose of his 1980 war film, The Big Red One:
In a strange twist of fate, some people got the idea I was a warmonger, that my films promoted war. What bullshit! For Chrissakes, war is living hell. I hope no one ever has to have that goddamned experience again, either as a soldier or a noncombatant. Never! We must avoid war at all costs (219).
The first half of that quote captures the insolence and beautifully single-minded determination of the Fuller who made crackerjack and paradoxically inimitable (because they were works of genre) films in the 1950s. I want to believe the passion behind Fuller's statement: his Run of the Arrow (1957) still stands as one my most revelatory cinematic experiences - seeing it alongside my first French New Wave films, it helped me understand how the stylistic construction of a film could generate, rather than merely illustrate or invisibly convey, narrative content. But as much as I admire him, the second half of Fuller's quote strikes me as bullshit. If Fuller didn't want anyone to have that "goddamned experience again," why make a movie about it?