kitparkerfilms

Posts Tagged ‘“The Steel Helmet”

 

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…

Wildfire – Story of a Horse

http://vcientertainment.com/darn-good-westerns-p-558.html

I Shot Jesse James, The Baron of Arizona, and The Steel Helmet

http://www.criterion.com/boxsets/499-eclipse-series-5-the-first-films-of-samuel-fuller

 

Little Big Horn

http://vcientertainment.com/western-film-noir-double-feature-p-512.html

 

The Tall Texan

http://vcientertainment.com/tall-texan-p-493.html

The Big Iron Collection

http://vcientertainment.com/iron-collection-p-559.html

 

Hammer Noir

http://vcientertainment.com/advanced_search_result.php?search_in_description=1&keywords=hammer+noir&x=0&y=0

 

Rocketship X-M

http://www.amazon.com/Rocketship-X-M-Lloyd-Bridges/dp/6305869367/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1306621007&sr=1-1

 

Destination Moon

http://www.amazon.com/Destination-Moon-John-Archer/dp/6305761078/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1306621077&sr=1-1

 

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 VCI Entertainment: www.vcient.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
  • 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
  • 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.

 

 

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…

Robert L. Lippert https://kitparkerfilms.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/robert-l-lippert/

Wildfire – Story of a Horse http://vcientertainment.com/darn-good-westerns-p-558.html

I Shot Jesse James, The Baron of Arizona, and The Steel Helmet http://www.criterion.com/boxsets/499-eclipse-series-5-the-first-films-of-samuel-fuller

Little Big Horn http://vcientertainment.com/western-film-noir-double-feature-p-512.html

The Tall Texan http://vcientertainment.com/tall-texan-p-493.html

The Big Iron Collection http://vcientertainment.com/iron-collection-p-559.html

Hammer Noir http://vcientertainment.com/advanced_search_result.php?search_in_description=1&keywords=hammer+noir&x=0&y=0

Rocketship X-M http://www.amazon.com/Rocketship-X-M-Lloyd-Bridges/dp/6305869367/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1306621007&sr=1-1

Destination Moon http://www.amazon.com/Destination-Moon-John-Archer/dp/6305761078/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1306621077&sr=1-1


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