A German-produced film directed with bravado by American filmmaker Samuel Fuller, Dead Pigeon On Beethoven Street is a rather generic hard-boiled private eye story, centered around an international extortion ring, whose been targeting high ranking political officials. Sandy is the American Private Eye who arrives in Germany seeking revenge for the death of his friend who is believed to be shot dead by this international extortion gang. Infiltrating the crime ring himself, Sandy joins forces with one of the gang's seductive agents of extortion, hoping to discover the man at the top of this criminal organization and bring him to justice. Certainly one of the more boldly directed television movies I've seen, Samuel Fuller's Dead Pigeon On Beethoven Street finds the hard-boiled filmmaker bringing his bold style to the small-time production, using fast twitch editing, slow pans and scans, and impressionistic cinematography that bring this otherwise dull story to vivid life. While watching this film I couldn't help but think about some of Seijun Suzuki's work with Nikkatsu studio, as Dead Pigeon On Beethoven Street is a great example of how much creative direction and ingenuity can elevate source material. Fuller directs this story with such fervor, and while there really are very few action sequences, when they do come they don't disappoint, as Fuller uses his directorial craft to create a few memorably action sequences that pump with a visceral energy in every frame. The main protagonist Sandy is a staple of machismo, a character who expresses genuine glee when stumbling across Rio Bravo playing in a movie theater while tracking his latest assignment, a no-nonsense individual who is a specialist in violence. There is a fragility to this character though, a fish-out-of-water in Germany, with Samuel Fuller examining the existentialism, capturing how he lets his guard down due to this fragility, being a character who is attempting to make sense of everything around him in a foreign land. Being such an expressive film visually, Dead Pigeon On Beethoven Street is one of Samuel Fuller's more interesting efforts, almost as if the filmmaker took the gig just as an opportunity to boldly play with style, with the film offering up some truly ingenious cinematic tricks, as well as some great examples of the economics of filmmaking, as the director routinely does/tells a lot, doing very little.
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