kitparkerfilms

Posts Tagged ‘Samuel Fuller

“Today we are engaged in a great Civil ‘Wah’”

— Maury Dexter, from the 3 Stooges short, “Uncivil Warriors” (1946)

Maury Dexter(1)(2) is one of the most interesting individuals I’ve ever seen in the motion picture industry, and he’s put his amazing rags to riches life into words in a well-written, page-turning, autobiography, “Road to Hollywoodthe hard way.”   

Maury was born into dirt-poor poverty during the Depression in Paris, Arkansas.   Early on, he developed a love of acting, which he parlayed into a successful career as an actor, producer, director of feature films and television programs and, of particular interest to me, head of production for Robert L. Lippert’s Associated Producers, Inc.    

Without the thought of having it published, Maury Dexter wrote his life story to fulfill a personal goal of putting his life story on paper.  Tom Weaver, who interviewed Maury in his book, “I Talked With a Zombie” (McFarland, 2008)(3), couldn’t persuade the usual movie book publishers to take it because they felt their readers might find fault with the first part of the book which covers Maury’s life before becoming involved in the motion picture business.  I suggested to Maury that he release it as an ebook, and after explaining what “email,” “Internet,” and “downloads” meant (He’s just fine with knowing absolutely nothing about computers), he agreed, but didn’t want to make money on it. 

Hat’s off to one of my favorite movie bloggers, Toby Roan, who produced the ebook, and Jim Briggs for designing it.  Here’s the link to Toby’s terrific blog, which includes the link to Maury’s autobiography. 

http://fiftieswesterns.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/maury-dexter-hollywood-the-hard-way/

P.S.  As I write this I’m laughing to myself about Maury’s challenges of producing movies on the meager budgets demanded by his penurious boss, Robert L. Lippert…and especially about how he once achieved the goal of producing two low budget westerns for the price of one.  Then there’s the story about how Samuel Fuller who shot the windows out of….

(1)    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0223317/

(2)    http://billcappello.blogspot.com/2010/11/maury-dexter.html

(3)    http://www.amazon.com/Talked-Zombie-Interviews-Veterans-Television/dp/0786441186/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336102379&sr=1-1

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Before Roger Corman there was Robert L. Lippert

Producer/Exhibitor Robert L. Lippert’s low-budget productions are sometimes called Grade “C.”  Personally, I’ve never seen one below “B-,” and in fairness, he did put out some “B+,” “nervous A,” and who can call “The Fly” (1957) anything but an “A”?

Lippert felt there was an unmet demand for “B” product for his circuit of theatres, so in 1945 he and John L. Jones formed a production company, Action Pictures, and distribution company, Screen Guild Productions.   The first and sole release for 1945 was “Wildfire – The Story of a Horse,” in Cinecolor, starring Bob Steele.  Regular releases followed, and in 1949 Screen Guild became “Lippert Pictures,” and in the final count, cranked out over 125 low budget movies, and released many more acquisitions and reissues.  He produced many more films for release by 20th Century-Fox…more about the Fox deal later…

 

The early Lippert productions were unremarkable B movies (okay, there may have been some C’s), with a few notable exceptions.  Things changed in 1949 when he rolled the dice and took a chance on a feisty independent newspaper reporter by the name of Samuel Fuller. Lippert gave Fuller, who had no movie experience, virtual free-reign, and his name above the title, to create a film about Jesse James’ assassin, Bob Ford.   It was released as “I Shot Jesse James” (1949), and became a critical and box office success, and today it is considered a classic, notable, among other things, for its extensive use of close ups.  Soon after, Fuller directed his second film, “The Baron of Arizona” (1950), a true story about a swindler who seized much of Arizona by forging Spanish land grants.  Vincent Price played the “Baron,” and many years later claimed it was one of his very favorite roles.  Truly, the Lippert/Fuller magna opus was the classic Korean War drama, “The Steel Helmet” (1951), which garnered first-run dates at prestigious theatres.  The three Fuller films are out on DVD from the Criterion Collection.

Lippert’s cause célèbre was to produce films as cheaply as possible, and still offer at least some entertainment value, particularly for the more unsophisticated movie patrons. No Lippert movies were allowed to go over budget.  Not negotiable…even for Fuller.  Despite the puny budgets, minor classics resulted, including “Little Big Horn” (1951) and “The Tall Texan” (1953), both starring Lloyd Bridges. 

 

Robert L. Lippert, Jr. told me a story about filming of the climactic ending of “The Steel Helmet,” where a Korean temple is to be destroyed, and it almost didn’t come to be…  Fuller had shot all but the ending, and production was about to go into overtime. Lippert came on the set and literally pulled the power switch to shut down production.  Fortunately, after he left the set, Fuller turned the power on and filmed the finale. 

 

In 1950, Lippert gave himself a challenge…produce a series of six Jimmy “Shamrock” Ellison-Russell “Lucky” Hayden westerns, all at the same time, using the same casts, sets, crew, and so on.  In one movie an actor may play a bad guy and a bartender in another.  A camera was be set up in the saloon, for example, and the saloon scenes for each movie would be shot sequentially, with actors rushing about changing costumes between each roll of the camera.  It must have been a nightmare for the script girl!  Robert L. Lippert, Jr. told me it was his father’s proudest achievement!  VCI released this series as a set under the “Big Iron Collection” banner.   

 

There was also a distinctive film noir series filmed in Great Britain starting in 1953 when Lippert formed a production alliance with his British distributor, Exclusive Films, soon known as Hammer Film Productions.  Under the arrangement, Lippert would provide an American “star,” on the way down, but who still had some name value, plus cash to pay for part of the production.  Exclusive/Hammer and Lippert divided up the distribution territories.  The result was a series of good thrillers, supported by solid English casts, and many directed by Terence Fisher, in his pre-horror film days.  The Lippert-Hammers are all available as part of the “Hammer Noir” collections released by VCI Entertainment.

 

Lippert, like Roger Corman after him, was able to gather together producers, directors, screenwriters, composers, and, of course, actors, willing to work on tight schedules for minimal pay.  There were stars who had lost their major studio contracts (Paulette Goddard, George Raft) or who had problems with the House on Un-American Activities (Lloyd Bridges, Lee J. Cobb).   Even Clint Eastwood and Jack Nicolson had roles in later Lippert productions.

Lippert was a master marketer.  When producer George Pal set out to mount a big budget Technicolor production of “Destination Moon” (1950), based on the science-fiction book by Robert A. Heinlein, Lippert saw an opportunity.  He capitalized on Pal’s media campaign by throwing together his own low (of course) budget “moon” picture, “Rocketship X-M” (1950).  It beat Pal’s movie into the theatres, stealing a good deal of the Technicolor epic’s thunder.   I’m told Mr. Pal was not amused.

 

Trouble, and opportunities, lay ahead for Lippert.  To be continued…

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Who produced or co-produced almost 250 feature films and is virtually unknown today?

That man is Robert L. Lippert (1909-1976), who did just that in 25 years, from 1945-1969.

Between 1945-1956 he also distributed more than 100 of his own productions (most of which are owned by my company, Kit Parker Holdings, LLC) and another 100 films produced by others.

Compiling this filmography more difficult because some Lippert films made after 1959 were not credited to any of his production companies.

Titles in bold are Lippert productions or co-productions.  The rest were produced by others and only distributed by Lippert.

Key: R: Reissue, D: Distributor only, TV: Independent production purchased outright by Lippert expressly for use on television.

Distributors: LP: Lippert Pictures, SG: Screen Guild Productions (subsequently known as  Lippert Pictures), RS:  RegalScope (Regal Films), API: Associated Producers, Inc., Fox: 20th Century-Fox, ARC: American Releasing (later known as AIP, American International Pictures), WB: Warner Bros. RS and API are Lippert production companies financed by Fox.

“Hammer”:  Lippert Pictures-Exclusive Films/Hammer Films co-productions

Italicized titles are owned by Kit Parker Films and available on DVD from http://www.sprocketvault.com

 

  • 13 FIGHTING MEN (1960) API-Fox
  • 20,000 EYES (1961) API-Fox
  • ABDUCTORS, THE (1957) RS-Fox
  • ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN, THE (1957) Buzz Productions/Hammer, Fox
  • ACTORS AND SIN (1952) Limited TV distribution rights only, LP-D
  • AIR PATROL (1962) API-Fox
  • AIR STRIKE  (1955) LP
  • ALASKA PASSAGE (1959) API-Fox
  • ALI BABA NIGHTS (R-1953) UK: Chu Chin Chow, 1934, LP-D
  • ALLIGATOR PEOPLE, THE (1959) API-Fox
  • AMBUSH AT CIMARRON PASS (1958) RS-Fox
  • APACHE CHIEF (1950) LP
  • APACHE WARRIOR (1957) RS-Fox
  • ARSON, INC. (1950) LP
  • AS YOU WERE (1951) LP
  • BACHELOR IN PARIS (1952) UK: Song of Paris, LP-D
  • BACK DOOR TO HELL (1964) US-Philippines, Fox
  • BACK FROM THE DEAD (1957) RS-Fox
  • BAD BLONDE (1953) UK: Flanagan Boy, Hammer, LP
  • BADLANDS OF MONTANA (1957) RS-Fox
  • BANDIT ISLAND (1953) 3-D Short Subject, LP
  • BANDIT QUEEN, THE (1950) LP
  • BAR 20 JUSTICE (R-1947) 1938, SG-D
  • BARON OF ARIZONA, THE (1950) LP  (DVD: Criterion Collection) *
  • BATTLE AT BLOODY BEACH, THE (1961) Fox
  • BELLS OF SAN FERNANDO (1947) SG
  • BIG CHASE, THE (1954) LP
  • BIG SHOW, THE (1961) API-Fox
  • BLACK GLOVE, THE (1954) UK: Face the Music, Hammer, LP
  • BLACK PIRATES, THE (1954) US-Mexico, LP
  • BLACK WHIP, THE (1956) RS-Fox
  • BLACKOUT (1954) UK: Murder by Proxy, Hammer, LP
  • BLOOD AND STEEL (1959) API-Fox
  • BLOOD ARROW (1958) RS-Fox
  • BORDER RANGERS (1950) LP
  • BORDER VIGILANTES (R-1946) 1941, SG-D
  • BORDERLAND (R-1946) 1937, SG-D
  • BOY! WHAT A GIRL! (1947) SG-D
  • BROKEN LAND (1962) API-Fox
  • BUFFALOBILL RIDES AGAIN (1947) SG-D
  • BURNING CROSS, THE (1947) SG-D
  • BUSH PILOT (1947) SG-D
  • CABINET OF CALIGARI (1962) LP-Fox
  • CALL IT MURDER (R-1947) Orig.: Midnight, 1934, SG-D
  • CALL OF THE FOREST(1949) LP-D
  • CAPTAIN KIDD (R-1952) 1945, LP-D
  • CASE OF THE BABY SITTER (1947) Featurette, SG
  • CASSIDY OF BAR 20 (R-1947) 1938, SG-D
  • CATTLE EMPIRE (1958) Fox
  • CHINA GATE (1957) Fox
  • COLLEGE CAPERS (1953) 3D short subject, LP
  • COLORADO RANGER – TV: Guns of Justice (1950) LP
  • COME BE MY VICTIM, half-hour TV abridgement of Danger Zone (1951), LP
  • CONVICTS AT LARGE (1938) LP-TV
  • COPPER SKY (1957) RS-Fox
  • COWBOY, THE (1954) LP
  • CREEPING UNKNOWN, THE (1965) UK: Quatermass Xperiment, Hammer, UA
  • CROOKED RIVER – TV: The Last Bullet (1950) LP
  • CURIOUS ADVENTURES OF MR. WONDERBIRD, THE (1953) France: Bergère et le ramoneur, 1952, Dubbed, LP-D
  • CURSE OF THE FLY (1965) Fox
  • DALTON GANG, THE (1949) LP
  • DANGER ZONE (1951) LP
  • DAY IN THE COUNTRY, A (1953) 3-D short subject filmed in 1941 as Stereo-Laffs, LP-D
  • DAY MARS INVADED EARTH, THE (1963) API-Fox
  • DEADLY GAME, THE (1954) UK, Third Party Risk, Hammer, LP
  • DEATH VALLEY (1947) SG
  • DEERSLAYER, THE (1958) Fox
  • DEPUTY MARSHAL (1949) LP
  • DESERT HELL (1958) RS-Fox
  • DESIRE IN THE DUST (1960) Fox
  • DESPERADOES ARE IN TOWN, THE (1956) RS-Fox
  • DOG OF FLANDERS, A (1959) Fox
  • DRAGON OF DEATH, half-hour TV abridgement of Mask of the Dragon (1951), LP
  • EARTH DIES SCREAMING, THE (1964) UK, Fox
  • ENEMY FROM SPACE (1957) UK, Quatermass 2, UA
  • ESCAPE FROM RED ROCK (1957) RS-Fox
  • EVERYBODY’S DANCIN’ (1950) LP
  • FAMILY AFFAIR (1956) UK: Life with the Lyons, 1954, LP-D
  • FANGS OF THE WILD aka Follow the Hunter (1954) LP
  • FAST ON THE DRAW – TV: Sudden Death (1950) LP
  • FBI GIRL (1951) LP
  • FELICIA (1964) API-Fox
  • FINGERPRINTS DON’T LIE (1951) LP
  • FINGERPRINTS, half-hour TV abridgement of Fingerprints Don’t Lie (1951), LP
  • FIRE ALARM (1932) Orig.: Flames  LP-TV
  • FIREBRAND, THE (1962) API-Fox
  • FIVE GATES TO HELL (1959) Fox
  • FLAMING FRONTIER  (1958) Canada, Fox
  • FLESH AND LEATHER, half-hour TV abridgement of Stop That Cab (1951), LP
  • FLIGHT TO FURY (1964) US-Philippines, Feature Film Corp. of America
  • FLIGHT TO NOWHERE (1947) SG
  • FLY, THE (1958)
  • FORTUNE IN DIAMONDS, A (1951)UK: The Adventurers, LP-D
  • FORTY GUNS (1957) Fox
  • FRANCIS OF ASSISI (1961) API provided guided only, Fox
  • FRECKLES (1960) API-Fox
  • FRONTIER GAMBLER (1956) ARC
  • FRONTIER GUN (1958) RS-Fox
  • FRONTIERSMEN, THE (R-1947) 1938, SG-D
  • FROZEN ALIVE (1964) Germany: Der Fall X701, Feature Films of America
  • G.I. JANE (1951) LP
  • GAMBLER AND THE LADY (1952) UK, Hammer, LP
  • GANG WAR (1958) RS-Fox
  • GHOST DIVER (1957) RS-Fox
  • GHOST SHIP (1952) UK, 1951, LP-D
  • GIRL FROM CALGARY, THE (1932)  LP-TV
  • GLASS TOMB, THE (1955) UK: The Glass Cage, Hammer, LP
  • GOD IS MY PARTNER (1957) RS-Fox
  • GOD’S COUNTRY (1947) SG
  • GRAND CANYON (1949) LP
  • GREAT JESSE JAMES RAID, THE (1953) LP
  • GREAT WHITE HUNTER, THE (R-1953) Orig.: The Macomber Affair,1947, LP-D
  • GUNFIRE (1950) LP
  • HAND OF DEATH , THE (1962) API-Fox
  • HARBOR LIGHTS (1963) API-Fox
  • HARPOON (1948) SG-D
  • HAT BOX MYSTERY, THE (1947) Featurette, SG
  • HEART OFARIZONA(R-1948) 1938, SG-D
  • HEAT WAVE (1954) UK, House Across the Lake, Hammer, LP
  • HELL HARBOR(1930)  LP-TV
  • HELL ON DEVIL’S ISLAND (1957) RS-Fox
  • HELLGATE (1952) LP-D
  • HER ENLISTED MAN (R-1935) Orig.: Red Salute,1935, SG-D
  • HERE COME THE JETS (1959) API-Fox
  • HIDDEN GOLD (R-1948) SG-D
  • HIGH POWERED RIFLE, THE (1960) Fox
  • HIGHWAY 13 (1948) SG
  • HI-JACKED (1950) LP
  • HILLS OF OLDWYOMING(R-1946) 1937, SG-D
  • HOLIDAY RHYTHM (1950) LP
  • HOLLYWOODBARN DANCE (1947) SG-D
  • HOLLYWOODTHRILL-MAKERS (1954) LP-D
  • HOLLYWOOD VARIETIES (1950) LP
  • HOPALONG CASSIDY ENTERS (R-1946) Orig.: Hop-a-long Cassidy, 1935, SG-D
  • HOPALONG CASSIDY RETURNS (R-1946) 1936, SG-D
  • HOPALONG RIDES AGAIN (R-1946) 1937, SG-D
  • HORROR OF IT ALL, THE (1964) UK, Fox
  • HOSTILE COUNTRY – TV: Outlaw Fury (1950) LP
  • HOUSE OF THE DAMNED (1963) API-Fox
  • I SHOT BILLY THE KID (1950) LP
  • I SHOT JESSE JAMES (1949) LP (DVD: Criterion Collection)
  • I’LL GET YOU (1953) UK: Escape Route, LP
  • IN OLD MEXICO(R-1948) 1938, SG-D
  • IRON MASK, THE (R-1953) 1929, Silent, with added sound track, LP-D
  • IT HAPPENED IN ATHENS (1962) Fox
  • JEWELS OF JEOPARDY, half-hour TV abridgement of The Roaring City (1951), LP
  • JOHNNY THE GIANT KILLER (1953) France, Jeannot l’intrépide, Dubbed, LP-D
  • JUNGLE GODDESS (1948) SG
  • JUNGLE, THE (1952) LP
  • KENTUCKY JUBILEE (1951) LP
  • KILLER DILL (1947) SG-D
  • KING DINOSAUR (1955) LP
  • KING OF THE TURF (R-1948) 1939, SG-D
  • KRONOS (1957) RS-Fox
  • LAST MAN ON EARTH (1964) Italy-USA, AIP
  • LAST OF THE WILD HORSES, THE  (1948) LP
  • LAST SHOT YOU HEAR (1969) UK, Fox
  • LAW OF THE PAMPAS (R-1948) 1939, SG-D
  • LAW OF THE SEA (1931)  LP-TV
  • LEAVE IT TO THE MARINES (1951) LP
  • LIMPING MAN, THE (1953) UK, LP-D
  • LITTLE BIG HORN (1951) LP
  • LITTLE SAVAGE (1959) US-Mexico, API-Fox
  • LITTLE SHEPERD OF KINGDOM COME (1961) API-Fox
  • LOAN SHARK (1952) LP
  • LONE TEXAN (1959) RS-Fox
  • LONESOME TRAIL, THE (1955) LP
  • LONG FALL, THE, half-hour TV abridgement of Pr 23 (1951), LP
  • LONG ROPE, THE (1961) API-Fox
  • LOST CONTINENT, THE (1951) LP
  • LURE OF THE SWAMP (1957) RS-Fox
  • MAN BAIT (1952) UK: The Last Page, Hammer, LP
  • MAN FROM CAIRO, THE (1953) Italy-UK-USA, Guidance only, LP
  • MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS (R-1950) Orig.: Babes in Toyland, 1934, LP-D
  • MARK OF THE LASH (1948) SG-D
  • MARSHAL OF HELDORADO – TV: Blazing Guns (1950) LP
  • MASK OF THE DRAGON (1951) LP
  • MASSACRE (1956) Fox
  • MIRACLE INHARLEM(1948) SG-D
  • MISS ANNIE ROONEY (R-1948) 1942, SG-D
  • MISSING WITNESS, THE, half-hour TV abridgement of Fingerprints Don’t Lie (1951), LP
  • MONSTER FROM THE OCEAN FLOOR (1954) LP-D
  • MORO WITCH DOCTOR (1964) Philippines: Amok, API-Fox
  • MOTOR PATROL (1950) LP
  • MOZART STORY (1948) Germany-Austria: Wen die Gotter lieben, Dubbed, SG-D
  • MR. ROBINSON CRUSOE (R-1953) LP-D
  • MR. WALKIE TALKIE (1952)
  • MURDER GAME (1965) UK, LP-Fox
  • MURDER, INC. (1960) Fox
  • MY DOG SHEP (1947) SG
  • NAVAJO (1952) LP-D
  • NIGHT TRAIN TO PARIS (1964) UK, Fox
  • NORMAN CONQUEST (1953) UK:MarkPlaza605, LP-D
  • NORTH OF THE BORDER (1947) Featurette, SG
  • NORTH OF THERIO GRANDE (R-1946) 1937, SG-D
  • NORTHWEST TRAIL (1945) SG
  • OMOO-OMOO THE SHARK GOD (1949) LP-D
  • ON FOUR WHEELS, half-hour TV abridgement of Stop That Cab (1951), LP
  • OPERATION HAYLIFT (1950) LP
  • OREGON TRAIL (1959) Fox
  • ORIENTAL CLUE, THE half-hour TV abridgement of Mask of the Dragon (1951), LP
  • OUTLAW COUNTRY (1949) SG
  • OUTLAW WOMEN (1952) LP-D
  • OUTLAWS IN THE DESERT (R-1946) 1941, SG-D
  • PAID TO KILL (1954) UK, Five Days, Hammer, LP-D
  • PARTNERS OF THE PLAINS (R-1948) 1938, SG-D
  • PERILS OF THE JUNGLE (1953) LP -D
  • PHANTOM OF THE JUNGLE (1955) LP-D
  • PIER 23 (1951) LP
  • PIER OF PERIL, half-hour TV abridgement of Pier 23 (1951), LP
  • PIRATE SUBMARINE (1952) France: Casabianca,1951, dubbed, LP-D
  • PIRATES ON HORSEBACK (R-1946) 1941, SG
  • PRAIRIE, THE (1947) SG-D
  • PLUNDER ROAD (1957) RS-Fox
  • POLICE COURT (1932)  LP-TV
  • POLICE NURSE (1963) API-Fox
  • PRIDE OF THE WEST (R-1947) 1938, SG-D
  • PROJECT MOON BASE (1953) LP-D
  • PURPLE HILLS, THE (1961) API-Fox
  • QUEEN OF SHEBA, THE (1952) Italy: La Regina di Saba, 1952, Dubbed, LP-D
  • QUEEN OF THE AMAZONS (1947) SG
  • QUIET GUN, THE (1957) RS-Fox
  • RACE FOR LIFE (1954) UK: Mask of Dust, Hammer, LP
  • RACKETEERS (R-1948) Orig.: People’s Enemy, 1935, SG-D
  • RADAR SECRET SERVICE (1950) LP
  • RAIDERS FROM BENEATH THE SEA (1964) Fox
  • RANGE WAR (R-1948) 1938, SG-D
  • RED DESERT (1949) LP
  • RENEGADE GIRL (1947) SG
  • RENEGADE TRAIL (R-1948) 1939, SG-D
  • RETURN OF GILBERT AND SULLIVAN, THE (1952) (Short Subject)UK, LP-D
  • RETURN OF JESSE JAMES, THE (1950) LP
  • RETURN OF MR. MOTO (1965) UK, Fox
  • RETURN OF THE FLY (1959) API-Fox
  • RETURN OF WILDFIRE, THE (1948) SG
  • RIDE A VIOLENT MILE (1957) RS-Fox
  • RIDERS OF THE TIMBERLINE (R-1946) 1941, SG-D
  • RIMFIRE (1948) LP
  • RINGSIDE (1949) LP
  • RIVER BEAT (1954) UK, LP
  • ROAD TO THE BIG HOUSE (1947) SG-D
  • ROARING CITY (1951) LP
  • ROCKABILLY BABY (1957) RS-Fox
  • ROCKETSHIP X-M (1950) LP
  • ROLLING HOME (1947) SG
  • ROOKIE, THE (1959) (oversaw production) Fox
  • RUSTLER’S VALLEY (R-1946) 1937, SG-D
  • S.O.S. SUBMARINE (1948) Italy: Uomini sui fondo, 1941, Dubbed, SG-D
  • SAD HORSE, THE (1959) API-Fox
  • SANTA FE MARSHAL (R-1948) 1940, SG-D
  • SAVAGE DRUMS (1951) LP
  • SCARED TO DEATH (1947) SG
  • SCOTLAND YARD INSPECTOR (1952) UK: Lady in the Fog, Hammer, LP
  • SECRET OF THE PURPLE REEF, THE (1960) API-Fox
  • SECRET OF THE WASTELANDS (R-1946) 1941, SG-D
  • SECRET PEOPLE, THE (1952)UK, LP-D
  • SEPIA CINDERELLA (1947) SG-D
  • SEVEN WOMEN FROM HELL (1961) API-Fox
  • SHADOW MAN, THE (1953) UK: Street of Shadows, Hammer, LP
  • SHE DEVIL (1957) RS-Fox
  • SHEP COMES HOME (1948)
  • SHOOT TO KILL (1947) SG-D
  • SHOWDOWN AT BOOT HILL (1958) RS-Fox
  • SHOWDOWN AT SUNUP (1949) Short subject, LP
  • SIEGE, THE (1954)Spain, 1950, Agustina de Aragón, 1950, dubbed, LP-D
  • SIERRA BARON (1958) Fox
  • SILENT CALL, THE (1961) API-Fox
  • SILENT RAIDERS (1954) LP-D
  • SILVER ON THE SAGE (R-1947) 1939, SG-D
  • SILVER STAR (1955) LP
  • SIMBA (1955) LP-D
  • SINS OF JEZEBEL (1953) LP
  • SISTERS IN CRIME, half-hour TV abridgement of The Roaring City  (1951), LP
  • SKY HIGH (1951) LP
  • SKY LINER (1949) LP
  • SLASHER, THE (1953) UK: Cosh Boy, LP-D
  • SLIGHTLY DANGEROUS (1950)UK, LP-D
  • SNIPER’S RIDGE (1961) API-Fox
  • SON OF A BADMAN (1949) LP-D
  • SON OF BILLY THE KID (1948) LP-D
  • SON OF ROBIN HOOD (1958) Fox
  • SPACE MASTER X-7 (1958) RS-Fox
  • SPACEWAYS (1953) UK, Hammer, LP
  • SQUARE DANCE JUBILEE (1949) LP
  • STAGECOACH TO FURY (1956) RS/Fox
  • STAGECOACH WAR (R-1948) 1940, SG-D
  • STEEL HELMET, THE (1951) LP (DVD: Criterion Collection)
  • STICK TO YOUR GUNS (R-1946) 1941, SG-D
  • STOLEN FACE (1952) UK, Hammer, LP
  • STOP THAT CAB (1951) LP
  • STORM RIDER, THE (1957) RS-Fox
  • STREET IS MY BEAT, half-hour TV abridgement of Stop That Cab (1951), L
  • STRONGHOLD (1952) Mexico-USA co-production, LP-D
  • SUNSET TRAIL (R-1947) 1939, SG-D
  • SUPERMAN AND THE MOLE-MEN (1952) LP
  • SURF PARTY (1964) API-Fox
  • SWINGIN’ ALONG aka Double Trouble aka Johnny One Note (1961) Fox
  • TALES OF ROBIN HOOD (1951) LP
  • TALL LIE aka For Men Only (1952) LP
  • TALL TEXAN, THE (1953) LP
  • TERROR SHIP (1954)UK: Dangerous Voyage, LP-D
  • TERROR STREET (1953) UK: 36 Hours, Hammer, LP
  • TESS OF THE STORM COUNTRY (1960) Fox
  • TEXAS TRAIL (R-1947) 1937, SG-D
  • THAT TENNESSE BEAT (1966) Fox
  • THAT’S MY BOY aka Forbidden Music (R-1948)UK: Land Without Music, 1936, LP-D
  • THERE IS NO ESCAPE (1948) SG-D
  • THEY WERE SO YOUNG (1954) W. Germany-USA, LP
  • THIRD VOICE, THE (1960) Fox
  • THREE DESPERATE MEN (1951) LP
  • THREE MEN FROM TEXAS(R-1946) 1940, SG-D
  • THUNDER IN THE PINES (1948) SG
  • THUNDER ISLAND (1963) API-Fox
  • THUNDER OVER SANGOLAND (1955) LP-D
  • THUNDER PASS (1954) LP
  • THUNDERING JETS (1958) RS-Fox
  • TOUGH ASSIGNMENT (1949) LP
  • TRAIL DUST (R-1946) 1936, SG-D
  • TRAIL OF THE MOUNTIES (1947) Featurette, SG
  • TRAIN TO TOMBSTONE (1950) LP
  • TREASURE OF MONTE CRISTO (1949) LP
  • TROMBA: THE TIGERMAN (1952)Germany: Tromba, 1949, Dubbed, LP-D
  • TWELVE HOURS TO KILL (1960) API-Fox
  • TWILIGHT ON THE TRAIL (R-1946) 1941, SG-D
  • TWILIGHT WOMEN (1953) UK: Women of Twilight, TV title: Another Chance, LP-D
  • TWO LITTLE BEARS (1961) Fox
  • UNDER FIRE (1957) RS-Fox
  • UNDERCOVER AGENT (1953)UK: Counterspy, LP-D
  • UNHOLY FOUR, THE (1954) UK: The Stranger Came Home, Hammer, LP
  • UNKNOWN TERROR, THE (1957) RS-Fox
  • UNKNOWN WORLD (1951) LP-D
  • VALLEY OF THE EAGLES (1951)UK:ValleyofEagles, LP-D
  • VALLEY OF THE REDWOODS (1960) API-Fox
  • VARIETIES ON PARADE (1951) LP
  • VILLA (1958) Fox
  • WALK A TIGHTROPE (1964) US-UK, API-Paramount
  • WALK TALL (1960) API-Fox
  • WAYNE MURDER CASE, THE (1932) Orig.: A Strange Adventure  LP-TV
  • WE WANT A CHILD! (1954)Denmark: Viv vil ha’ et bam, Dubbed, LP-D
  • WEST OF THE BRAZOS (1950) LP
  • WESTERN PACIFIC AGENT (1950) LP
  • WHERE THE NORTH BEGINS (1947) Featurette, SG
  • WHITE FIRE (1954)UK: Three Steps to the Gallows, 1953, LP-D
  • WHITE GODDESS (1953) LP-D
  • WHITE PHANTOM (1949) Short subject, LP
  • WIDE OPEN TOWN(R-1946) 1941, SG-D
  • WILD ON THE BEACH (1965) Fox
  • WILDFIRE (1945) SG
  • WINGS OF DANGER (1952) UK; Dead on Course, Hammer, LP
  • WITCHCRAFT (1964) UK, Fox
  • WOLF DOG (1958) RS-Fox
  • WOMAN WHO WOULDN’T DIE, THE (1965) UK, WB
  • WOMANHUNT aka WOMAN HUNT (1962) API-Fox
  • WOMEN OF PITCAIRN ISLAND, THE (1956) RS-Fox
  • YELLOW CANARY, THE (1963) Fox
  • YES SIR, MR. BONES! (1951) LP
  • YOUNG AND DANGEROUS (1957) RS-Fox
  • YOUNG GUNS OF TEXAS (1962) API-Fox
  • YOUNG JESSE JAMES (1960) API-Fox
  • YOUNG SWINGERS, THE (1963) API-Fox

Sources:  Motion Picture Herald, Film Daily Yearbook,U.S. Copyright Office, Maury Dexter, Robert L. Lippert, Jr. and the Kit Parker Films-Lippert Collection at the Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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Ronnie James, one of the great unsung movie and television researchers felt that the Filmography would be more useful and telling, if it was in chronological order.  It started out that way, but I found too much conflicting information among my various research publications…but he’s right…it should be.

Film editor and film historian Rick Mitchell has great credentials when it comes to wide screen cinematography. He asked several excellent questions that I’m sure others have wondered about as well.

RICK MITCHELL: I believe there are some errors in the Lippert piece. I don’t believe Sam Fuller’s CHINA GATE and FORTY GUNS were made for Lippert but under a separate deal Fuller’s Globe Productions made with Fox, like Edward L. Alperson’s. THE FLY is not considered a Lippert production but an official Fox one.

THE FLY is definitely a Lippert production. Director Kurt Neumann came to Bob Lippert with the story, and Lippert felt it would be a big hit so, according to Dexter, authorized a $700 – $750K budget…astronomical for a Lippert production, but small by Fox standards. Most of the money went into special effects and, of course, it was filmed (in Canada) in color.  Lippert showed it to Fox president, Spyros Skouras, and he decided to make it a Fox “A” release.

KIT: Sam Fuller was the producer of both CHINA GATE and FORTY GUNS, released in 1957. 

 These were Lippert RegalScope productions that so impressed the Fox brass that they were released as Fox/CinemaScope pictures. Head of production was Bill Magianetti, and his assistant was Maury Dexter.  I spoke to Dexter and he confirmed this and also went into detail about the filming. Maury also told me some great Fuller stories connected with those two pictures which I’ll reveal in a future blog!

RICK: Are you sure THE FLY was filmed in Canada? I’d seen THE GIFT OF LOVE a few weeks before I first saw THE FLY and was shocked to see the same interiors of the house in both films. Fox did recycle standing sets: the schoolroom build for PEYTON PLACE appears in THE YOUNG LIONS and THE LONG HOT SUMMER with no changes, for example.

KIT:  Rick was mostly right…only some scenes were filmed in Montreal, the rest at Fox studios.

In one of my blogs I wrote that Lippert couldn’t put his name on any of his Fox productions because he totally alienated the unions by insisting on releasing his earlier productions to television and refusing to pay residuals.

RICK: Lippert takes executive producer credit on THE YELLOW CANARY (1963).

KIT: Yes, by 1963 the union problems were behind him.

RICK: The first Regal film credited on the film as being in CinemaScope; I haven’t seen any ads or trailers, so I don’t know what’s on them.

KIT:  I do know they used CinemaScope lenses on all of the Regal’s, but Fox didn’t want to use that name on low budget, black and white second features. One thing that continues to stump me is some of the Regal prints have the Fox logo, and other prints of the same picture say Regal Films! Maury Dexter didn’t know, either, so it is a probably a question that will never be answered.

 

RICK:  See attached frame blowup from a friend’s 16mm print of STAGECOACH TO FURY; I now have one of my own. It has the Regal Films logo at the head. I have not seen any of the other RegalScope films released in 1956 and don’t know how they were credited but all Regal films I’ve seen after that were credited in being in RegalScope, including British made THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN OF THE HIMALAYAS, which was actually shot in what’s now called Super 35; [a film collector] e-mailed me that his 35mm print credits Megascope, the term Hammer used for the films it shot in Super 35 and Columbia used on spherical films it released in Europe with anamorphic prints.

RICK: Incidentally, re your Lippert Pictures filmography, THE BIG CHASE was expanded from what was to be 3-D short, I believe BANDIT ISLAND.

 

KIT:  True; producer Robert L. Lippert, Jr. made both the 3D short and incorporated the footage (in 2D) into his feature film, THE BIG CHASE (1954).  The 3D short itself is not known to survive.

RICK:  I believe the color films Lippert did before the formation of Associated Producers were released as official Fox films because they were in color.

KIT: The only two color films that came out of Regal Films were THE FLY (1958) and THE DEERSLAYER (1957), which were released as Fox pictures, but produced by Lippert. When the Fox-Regal deal expired, a new one was set up under the name Associated Producers. Many of those were in color.

RICK: Were CATTLE EMPIRE, VILLA! (both1958) and THE OREGON TRAIL (1959) not part of the Lippert deal? They are credited as being produced by Richard Einfield, the son of a former Fox exhibition executive. I’d gotten the impression that all the obvious color B’s Fox released during the Skouras years went through the Lippert Unit. [condensed for clarity]

KIT: CATTLE EMPIRE, VILLA! And THE OREGON TRAIL are Lippert (API) productions.  I know IMDb isn’t the be-all-end-all of credits, but it doesn’t list CATTLE EMPIRE or VILLA! as Einfield films. Maury thinks Einfield “may” have produced CATTLE EMPIRE, and he did produce OREGON TRAIL.

Both Dexter, and VILLA! star, Margia Dean, confirm that Spyros Skouras’ son, Plato Skouras, produced VILLA!  Dexter says that Plato wanted to be a movie producer so his father assigned him to “produce” some Lippert’s, a way to get him off his back and still allow his son to call himself a producer, although his involvement usually wasn’t much more than as a figurehead.  Dexter adds it was a similar situation with Richard Einfield, whose father was indeed an exhibitor, and therefore a customer of Fox.  He added that Einfield did not have much to do with the actual producing, but did more so than Plato Skouras given Einfield had a background in film editing and directing.

Dexter has given me more details on THE FLY.  He says Lippert read the “The Fly” short story in a 1957 Playboy Magazine, at the suggestion of director Kurt Neumann.  He immediately dispatched someone to Paris to buy the movie rights from its author, George Langelaan.  Langelaan was paid $2,500, a little over $19,000 in 2010 dollars.

I’m thankful for Rick’s questions and comments, and hope he will contribute more.

GREAT NEWS!  Maury Dexter wrote an unpublished autobiography which I found to be a page-turner.  He has asked me to make it available at no charge.  I’ll get to work on the project as soon as I can figure out how to upload the book from a floppy disc!

Recommendations:

Google Rick Mitchell, or start with this site: 

http://www.in70mm.com/workshop/departments/mitchell/index.htm

 

Visit our website to order DVDs from the Kit Parker Films Collection –

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Please bear with me while I get over my passion for compiling lists!

I’ve spent weeks putting together a filmography pictures produced by various companies controlled by Robert L. Lippert.  So far there are over 300 (!) productions spanning a 20 year period commencing in 1945. It’s been interesting, fun, and definitely time-consuming!  My goal is to make this information definitive…not an easy task given many of the movies were made anonymously.   Look for it soon.  In the meantime I offer you the lists below.

Lippert Pictures: Unrealized Or Retitled Projects

During 1947-49, Lippert Pictures, and its predecessor, Screen Guild Productions, announced titles to trade publications become available in the “next season,” implying they were in production, or close to it, or “in preparation,” which was another way of saying little, if anything had been prepared other than the main title.

During my interviews with producers Maury Dexter and Robert L. Lippert, Jr., I was told by both that Lippert, Sr., almost always came up with a title before commissioning the screenplay, but did occasionally change his mind, ending up releasing the picture under another title.  For example, the announced title, “The Ghost of Jesse James,” could have been changed to “The Return of Jesse James,” which actually was released.  At this point we’ll never know which titles were abandoned, or actually released under other titles.

I’ve always wondering what a Lippert production of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, much less directed by Samuel Fuller, in CineColor, or a Wizard of Oz sequel would have looked like had Lippert Pictures actually produced them!

Titles announced as being available “next season”

20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA – Project sold to Walt Disney

ABILENE KID, THE

ALGIER’S AMBUSH – George Raft

ALOHA

BLACK TULIP

COME OUT FIGHTING

CORNY RHYTHM

CROSS-CURRENTS

DEAD END CANYON

DEAD RINGER

DESERT QUEEN

FOR DISHONOR

FORT DEFIANCE

GHOST OF JESSE JAMES

GREAT JEWEL ROBBERY, THE

ISLE OF ZORDA

KING OF THE SAFECRACKERS

MADAM SHERIFF

MONTANABADLANDS

MUSTANG FURY

PARK ROW *

PILLAR MOUNTAIN

SON OF SHEP

STRATOCRUISER

WOMAN WITH A GUN – Paulette Goddard

* Samuel Fuller eventually produced in 1951 for U.A. release

Titles announced as being “In Preparation”

CABOOSE

FIREBUG AGENT

HIGHWAY WESTWARD

REDSKIN RENEGADES

STREAMLINER LIMITED

Titles unrealized

BANDOLEER

CALIBRE .45

DALTON’S LAST RAID, THE

DAREDEVILS OF THE HIGHWAY

I WAS KING OF THE SAFECRACKERS

OUTLAW HIDEOUT

RADIO PATROL

STRANGER IN THE HOUSE

SUNSET RIM

TALES OF CAPT. KIDD

ABILENE KID, THE

WESTERN BARN DANCE

WESTERN FURY

WIZARD OF OZ, THE – Series

————————

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“’The Black Pirates’ (1954) was shit, and ‘Massacre’ was no good either.”  — Producer, Robert L. Lippert, Jr.

By 1959 the Lippert/Fox/Regal Films contract was finished.  However, Fox still needed B movies, and Lippert was always the man for that job.  A new 7-year deal was struck.

The new production entity became known as “Associated Producers, Inc.” (API).  Bill Magginetti continued running the company and, of course, Bob Lippert called the shots.  When the API deal ended, “Lippert Pictures” was reactivated and produced another 10 films for Fox release.

Producer/director Maury Dexter was a pivotal figure during the Lippert-Fox years.  Dexter told me he was born into poverty during Depression-era Arkansas.  He became interested in acting, came to Los Angeles, and had a few bit parts in films, including the 3 Stooges short “Uncivil War Birds (1946), and became involved in TV and stage.  He served in Korea, and soon after was hired by Regal Films head of production, Bill Magginetti, as his assistant.   When Lippert fired Magginetti, Dexter took over.  It was a good decision as Dexter was a natural organizer, could do many things at the same time, quickly and under pressure…the prerequisites for success at Lippert!  In addition to overseeing the company, he personally produced and directed 16 feature films!

After almost two decades in production, Robert L. Lippert returned to Alameda where he died of a heart attack at the age of 67 on November 16, 1976 in Alameda, California.

Lippert Trivia:

Samuel Fuller was set to write and direct a Lippert production of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” in CineColor as announced in exhibitor publications in 1949.   Walt Disney bought the project from Lippert Pictures, either because it inspired him to make his own version, which he eventually did 5 years later, or he had planned making it all along and didn’t want another version to compete against.

Robert L. Lippert entered into negotiations with the Estate of author L. Frank Baum for rights to produce a series of “Wizard of Oz” movies.  The reason he abandoned the project is lost to history.

The shortest shooting schedule of any Lippert production was one day, “Hollywood Varieties” (1950).

The runner up at 58 hours is “Highway 13” (1948).  Coincidentally, it was a 58 minute movie, so it literally took only one hour to produce one minute of screen time!

Lippert productions had a minimum of 50 daily camera set-ups.

Just to prove he could do it, producer Robert L. Lippert decided to direct a movie, “The Last of the Wild Horses” (1948.)  When production fell behind he fired himself and Paul Landres completed the film.  After that Lippert stuck to producing.   BTW, Lippert accorded himself something he never allowed other directors…an extravagant (for a Lippert production) running time of 84 minutes.

After a day of filming “Massacre” (1956) in Guatemala Producer Robert L. Lippert, Jr. was relaxing in his hotel room and heard gun shots in the room next to him.  Recalling that a General was staying there, he immediately calculated it was an assassination (it was.)  Lippert didn’t want to be shot as an eye witness, so he jumped out the window and ran on foot all the way to Mexico, and the cast and crew, who were staying in another hotel, departed by plane.

Again during the filming of “Massacre,” Lippert, Jr. said he was on location in a rural town where he found the electrical power was at best unreliable. Of course power was essential.  To proceed with filming he went to the local airport, such as it was, which was powered by a generator.  He paid off government officials to obtain the airport generator during the daytime hours.  Daytime air operations ceased, and each night the generator was returned to the airport thus enabling planes to once again take off and land.

There wasn’t enough money in the production budget to afford a pirate ship in “The Black Pirates” (1954), so the movie begins with the “pirates” arriving on shore in a row boat.  They never leave land for the entire movie.

Beloved character actor, Sid Melton, made 20 appearances in the early Lippert productions before becoming a TV mainstay.  I asked him why he was in so many, and he replied, “Mr. Lippert had faith in me.”  The fact Melton was willing to work for $140 a week may have helped. (2)

Between 1955 and 1965, Lippert co-financed and/or co-produced  four European productions not released by Fox: “The Quartermass Xperiment” U.S. title, “The Creeping Unknown” (U.K./1955), a Hammer Films production released through United Artists; “The Last Man on Earth” (Italy/1964), filmed in Rome and released by American International Pictures; “Walk a Tightrope” (U.K./1965), released through Paramount; and “The Woman Who Wouldn’t Die” (U.K./1965),  released through Warner Bros.

Margia Dean, Actress and Producer

Several years ago I met Margia Dean, still charming and beautiful, who appeared in 39 Lippert productions.

She revealed a story about Clint Eastwood who appeared with her in “Ambush at Cimarron Pass” (1958).  Years later at a Hollywood function, she ran into the by-then renowned actor-director and couldn’t resist chiding him, “Just remember, I got top billing over you!”

Here are some more fun bits she told me on June 17, 2011: “I was executive producer of ‘The Long Rope’ [1961] starring Hugh Marlowe. That was the only one for Fox. I was associate producer on a couple of others. It came in on time and made money.  I remember that I had difficulty getting respect because I was a woman [producer] and that was very rare in those days.”

“There was a scene in a little Mexican town and it was too bare, so I suggested that they have a few chickens and a stray dog for some atmosphere. Someone said “the producer wants chickens” and when I came on the set it was swarming with chickens!   The writer [Robert Hamner] told me I was the best producer he ever worked for and he worked for several big producers. I remember one was Aaron Spelling.”

I remember that the star wanted some aspirin so I asked the driver to go to the drug store and get some and he replied that according to the union he couldn’t go, he could only drive, so I went along, and got the aspirin. Then, in a cantina scene I asked the prop man to put some serapes on the wall and he said he couldn’t, I would have to hire a drapery man, so I hung them! I hired the director [for “The Long Rope”, William Witney] whom I worked for in another film (Secret of the Purple Reef) [1960] and I sensed he didn’t like taking any suggestions from me!”

* Mr. Lippert did produce, direct and or edit some good films!

The Robert L. Lippert Foundation.  Good overview with biography and filmography, the latter of which I am in the process of revising.

http://robertllippertfoundation.com

Maury Dexter interviewed by Tom Weaver in “I Talked With a Zombie”

http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-4118-1

Sid Melton:

http://www.bmonster.com/profile38.html

Sources:  Conversations between Kit Parker and Robert L. Lippert, Jr., Maury Dexter, Margia Dean and Sid Melton; issues of Motion Picture Herald and Film Daily Yearbook; the Kit Parker-Lippert Collection at the Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; interviews with Maury Dexter and Sid Melton by Tom Weaver in “I Talked With a Zombie” (BearManor Media, 2011).

——————–

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Samuel Fuller’s “I Shot Jesse James” (1949)

 

Before Roger Corman there was Robert L. Lippert.

Producer/Exhibitor Robert L. Lippert’s low-budget productions are sometimes called Grade “C.”  Personally, I’ve never seen one below “B-,” and in fairness, he did put out some “B+,” “nervous A,” and who can call “The Fly” (1957) anything but an “A”?

Lippert felt there was an unmet demand for “B” product for his circuit of theatres, so in 1945 he and John L. Jones formed a production company, Action Pictures, and distribution company, Screen Guild Productions.   The first and sole release for 1945 was “Wildfire – The Story of a Horse,” in Cinecolor, starring Bob Steele.  Regular releases followed, and in 1949 Screen Guild , became “Lippert Pictures,” and in the final count, cranked out over 125 low budget movies, and released many more acquisitions and reissues.  He produced many more films for release by 20th Century-Fox…more about the Fox deal later…

The early Lippert productions were unremarkable B movies (okay, there may have been some C’s), with a few notable exceptions.  Things changed in 1949 when he rolled the dice and took a chance on a feisty independent newspaper reporter by the name of Samuel Fuller. Lippert gave Fuller, who had no movie experience, virtual free-reign, and his name above the title, to create a film about Jesse James’ assassin, Bob Ford.   It was released as “I Shot Jesse James” (1949), and became a critical and box office success, and today it is considered a classic, notable, among other things, for its extensive use of close ups.  Soon after, Fuller directed his second film, “The Baron of Arizona” (1950), a true story about a swindler who seized much of Arizona by forging Spanish land grants.  Vincent Price played the “Baron,” and many years later claimed it was one of his very favorite roles.  Truly, the Lippert/Fuller magna opus was the classic Korean War drama, “The Steel Helmet” (1951), which garnered first-run dates at prestigious theatres.  The three Fuller films are out on DVD from the Criterion Collection.

Lippert’s cause célèbre was to produce films as cheaply as possible, and still offer at least some entertainment value, particularly for the more unsophisticated movie patrons. No Lippert movies were allowed to go over budget.  Not egotiable…even for Fuller.

Robert L. Lippert, Jr. told me a story about filming of the climactic ending of “The Steel Helmet,” where a Korean temple is to be destroyed, and it almost didn’t come to be…  Fuller had shot all but the ending, and production was about to go into overtime. Lippert came on the set and literally pulled the power switch to shut down production.  Fortunately, after he left the set, Fuller turned the power on and filmed the finale.

In 1950, Lippert gave himself a challenge…produce a series of six Jimmy “Shamrock” Ellison-Russell “Lucky” Hayden westerns, all at the same time, using the same casts, sets, crew, and so on.  In one movie an actor may play a bad guy and a bartender in another.   A camera was be set up in the saloon, for example, and the saloon scenes for each movie would be shot sequentially, with actors rushing about changing costumes between each roll of the camera.  It must have been a nightmare for the script girl!  Robert L. Lippert, Jr. told me it was his father’s proudest achievement!  VCI released this series as a set under the “Big Iron Collection” banner.

Despite the puny budgets, minor classics resulted, including “Little Big Horn” (1951) and “The Tall Texan” (1953), both starring Lloyd Bridges.  There was also a distinctive film noir series filmed in Great Britain starting in 1953 when Lippert formed a production alliance with his British distributor, Exclusive Films, soon known as Hammer Film Productions.  Under the arrangement, Lippert would provide an American “star,” on the way down, but who still had some name value, plus cash to pay for part of the production.  Exclusive/Hammer and Lippert divided up the distribution territories.  The result was a series of good thrillers, supported by solid English casts, and many directed by Terence Fisher, in his
pre-horror film days.  The Lippert-Hammers are all available as part of the “Hammer Noir” collections released by VCI Entertainment.

Lippert, like Roger Corman after him, was able to gather together producers, directors, screenwriters, composers, and, of course, actors, willing to work on tight schedules for minimal pay.  There were stars who had lost their major studio contracts (Paulette Goddard, George Raft) or who had problems with the House on Un-American Activities (Lloyd Bridges, Lee J. Cobb).   Even Clint Eastwood and Jack Nicolson had roles in later Lippert productions.

Lippert was a master marketer.  When producer George Pal set out to mount a big budget Technicolor production of “Destination Moon” (1950), based on the science-fiction book by Robert A. Heinlein, Lippert saw an opportunity.  He capitalized on Pal’s media campaign by throwing together his own low (of course) budget “moon” (he changed it to “mars” to avoid a lawsuit)  picture,“Rocketship X-M” (1950).  It beat Pal’s movie into the theatres, stealing a good deal of the Technicolor epic’s thunder.   I’m told Mr. Pal was not amused.

Trouble, and opportunities, lay ahead for Lippert.

To be continued…

——————————————-

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