Film Noir : What Film Noir did you see?:November/December Edition.

My Gun is Quick (1957)

"I just crawled out of a sewer, not a decent person left in the world"

My Gun is Quick is a slightly bland B effort that doesn't live up to either the nice quote nor to other Spillane movies like I, The Jury and Kiss Me Deadly. If the audiences hopes to see our hero wallow in the cesspool of humanity, were gonna be disappointed.

Mike Hammer (Robert Bray) meets tired and disillusioned young hooker Red at a greasy spoon. Hours later she turns up dead and the valuable ring she was wearing, from an Italian treasure stolen during the War, is gone. Hammer is out to avenge her death trying to unravel a convoluted conspiracy involving sexy divorcee Nancy, several other available dames and lots of unsavory characters.

Mickey Spillane was a comic book writer before he began to write pulp fiction and his books clearly reflect that. Hammer is written as a cartoon character. Raymond Chandler loathed Spillanes writing and protagonists intensely though he shouldnt have. Spillanes protagonists are simply the darker alter egos of Marlowe, and while Chandler had the critics on his side, Spillane was loved by the audience. Mike Hammer was firmly entrenched in the gutter, and he liked it there.

Mickey Spillanes Hammer was fueled by a rage against violent crime, but at the same time considered the legal system a big hindrance to mete out justice. Hammer doesnt just bend the law, he holds it in contempt. For him law and justice arent the same thing and for that reason he often decides to enforce the law himself by acting as judge, jury and executioner. He is an avenger, in a way a precursor to The Punisher or Judge Dredd.
Hammer has often been called misogynistic but its simply not right. Hes not so much misogynistic as misanthropic. Hammer hates everybody.

Spillanes creation was a crude, violent, sadistic, unethical commie-hating thug with a badge who gleefully beat the snot out of people just for the fun of it, and other film versions didnt bother to pretty him up. Ralph Meeker simply nailed the character in Kiss Me Deadly. Bray is not Spillanes Hammer, he may still have the macho appeal but whitewashes Hammers key traits considerably. Hes a boy scout, much closer to what Chandler called a knight in dirty armor, hard-boiled, morally ambivalent maybe but with a heart of gold. He is simply too timid!

And thats the problem with My Gun is Quick. To ignore all that Mike Hammer is invalidates the specialness of Spillanes writing. Spillanes Hammer was a breed apart, he was unique, Brays Hammer is just another PI, indistinguishable from other 50s PI characters. This movie just doesnt capture the feel of Spillanes novels, everything that makes Spillane Spillane is missing, so why name the main character Mike Hammer? Robert Bray had the looks to play Hammer, but he felt neutered. Many late 50s movies were a lot more brutal and gritty than this one.

When Reds pimp starts harassing her, Bray beats him up and gives the hooker enough money to buy herself new shoes and a bus ticket back home. This is Hammer the savior of humanity, he takes pity on Red and even gives her a fatherly (!) good-bye kiss. This guy actually gives a damn and its simply out-of-character.

Another issue is the uneven pace of the movie, it was filmed by two different directors which showed, though it picks up in the second half.

On the plus side we have some good dialogue and lots of sexy, duplicitous, scantily clad and occasionally lethal babes.

Greasy spoons, run-down hotel rooms and strip clubs are Hammers natural habitat and capture the seedy ambience of Spillane quite well.

The outside locations are interesting. The 50s featured a lot more on-location shooting, but this is not a glamorous LA we get to see. Instead we have big freeways, oil derricks and stark industrial sights which convey a sense of desolation and bleakness.

Its on youtube and definitively worth a watch though I'd call the film a failed effort.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: My Gun is Quick (1957)

Nice Review I felt the same way, the grittiest sequence is at the greasy spoon, after that it's all down hill.

Here is my take: Robert Bray puts in a passable portrayal as Mike Hammer he's Hammer-esgue but again here is a case where the action is moved to California and the talent to make an acceptable Noir-ish stylized Mike Hammer film is noticeably lacking, it looks made on the cheap, it plays like a TV film and is nowhere near Aldrich's film noir masterpiece. The broads Whitney Blake, Patricia Donahue, Pamela Duncan, prostitute Jan Chaney, and stripper Genie Coree are "hammer-tommically" correct but again as in both "I The Jury" (1953), and "Kiss Me Deadly" (1955) the slightly gratuitous sexuality which should be a touchstone in any Mike Hammer based film is PG-13 if even that. To put it bluntly the hammer babes (save for Velda) peal for Mike at every opportunity. ;-)

Another big faux pas in hammer-city is where the heck is the Colt .45 automatic Huh?, Bray runs around with what looks like a .38 special a popgun in comparison, come on right from the get-go with the scene in the lunch counter you know it's gonna be off.

Re: My Gun is Quick (1957)

It was very PG-13 though all very tantalizing. The dames still threw themselves at Hammer but, like the boy scout he is, he says no. What??

I don't know enough about guns but the gun Bray was packing seemed a bit too small.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: My Gun is Quick (1957)

Not crazy about either 'My Gun Is Quick' or 'I, The Jury', in both cases the lead actor is simply not right. Ralph Meeker was good, but call me crazy if you will, I thought Mickey Spillane was awesome as Mike Hammer in 'The Girl Hunters'. I even prefer the movie as a whole to 'Kiss Me Deadly'.

Re: My Gun is Quick (1957)

I haven't seen The Girl Hunters, I must track that down.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: My Gun is Quick (1957)

The Girl Hunters (1963) Did a rewatch of the film yesterday and today. It's got some positives & negatives.

Positive:

Lots of New York City establishing & location shots, this was "my" city, the 1963 NY I remember as a kid, the police black white & olive green squad cars (BTW they changed to today's white & blue color scheme during 1973-74), the yellow cabs, the store fronts. Mike Hammer in his correct environment.

Shirley Eaton, "hammertomically" correct in every way, she is the femme fatale of the piece and a knockout. For those of you not familiar with the name she later became the iconic girl in gold in the James Bond flick "Gold Finger". She also has a memorable final denouement.

Lloyd Nolan makes a nice supporting appearance.

Negative:

Not really filmed in the Noir style, "Kiss Me Deadly" nails this aspect beautifully.

Mickey Spillane plays Hammer, now if he was a better actor it may have been better, he looks a bit ridiculous in the pork-pie hat. I still say Charles McGraw, would have been ideal.

No Velma.

Could have used more of everything it's a bit too sparse as it is, more interesting interiors, transitions, shots, lighting, camera angles, more time with bit part characters, again see "Kiss Me Deadly" as a comparison.

Score is a bit way too one note and somewhat overpowering where it is used. I prefer "Harlem Nocturne" which was used as the main theme in the Keach TV Hammer series.

And what is with this fetish with bullets, and linking crimes with bullets fired by the same gun, this and "I, The Jury" use this device and you got to think to yourself that any criminal with a brain is going to get rid of the murder weapon and not conveniently keep reusing the same gun over and over.

Not enough sex & graphic violence, again the books were ahead of the films in this department.

6.5/10

I, The Jury

As it was also on youtube (mediocre print), I watched I, The Jury and have to revise my impression of it. I isn't very good. It had a few good points, like John Alton's cinematography and Peggie Castle as the shrink (reminiscent of Helen Walker's Dr. Ritter in Nightmare Alley), but Biff Elliot as Hammer? He had Hammer's loutish behavior and violence down, but the guy can't act.

At least they kept the uncompromising ending intact. It's really a shame that Kiss Me Deadly seems to be the only good film version of Hammer. I still have to find The Girl Hunters.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: I, The Jury


I still have to find The Girl Hunters.

I don't know if it's available online, I got the blu-ray some time ago: http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Girl-Hunters-Blu-ray/106592/

Mike Hammer portrayals

I, The Jury (1982)

Directed by Richard T. Heffron, starring Armand Assante, as Mike Hammer, Barbara Carrera as Dr. Charlotte Bennett, Laurene Landon as Velda, Alan King as Charles Kalecki, Geoffrey Lewis as Joe Buttler, and Paul Sorvino as Det. Pat Chambers.

I first saw this probably sometime in the late 80s once, had nothing to compare it to, and barely remembered it so it was a delight to get to view this the other day, especially since Ive recently been revisiting Spillane and the films based on his novels.

It took 30 some odd years for a film to really do full justice to the zeitgeist of a Mickey Spillane novel. The best looking and true Noir adaptation is still Kiss Me Deadly (1955) with Ralph Meeker, Jack Elam, Strother Martin, Jack Lambert, Gabby Rogers, and Cloris Leachman, but it was hampered by being made while the Hays Code was still in effect. The original I, The Jury (1953) was DOA having non presence Biff Eliot in the title role, but at least the babes were hammertomically correct , My Gun is Quick (1957) starring Robert Bray as had the right caliber of women, but had the action not in NYC, but in some seaside resort and Hammer was running around with a pop gun not his trademark .45 Colt Automatic. The Girl Hunters (1963) had Spillane in the title role, but he was no actor, and aside from the establishing shots of NYC , the film was shot in England. At least it had the babes.

But WOW!, right from the opening credits of I, The Jury (1982) you know you are in Mike Hammer land with the emphasis on women and the Colt .45 automatic, Broads & Bullets, Girls and Guns (both kinds). Im sure graphic novelist Frank Miller (Sin City) had to have seen this graphic opening sequence in three colors black, white, and red, and was influenced by it. If not, it predates that style by 10 years.

This version has Hammers office located above Times Square, set in the post Vietnam 80s. Hammer is a sleazy detective working divorce cases. We first see him pulling a dead fish out of his tank and holding it while talking to another fish/client, who is worried about his wife cheating on him. Hammer asks to see her picture notices that she is beautiful, then tells the client that hes in trouble. Next shot has Hammer screwing the clients wife while fielding a call from him, the conversation is humorous along the lines of , yea Im right on top of her, and yea, dont worry, Im very familiar with all her moves.

Hammers one armed war buddy Jack takes a slug in the guts and dies crawling across his living room, notified of his death Hammer (like a licensed rogue cop with full access to NYPD info) acts like bull in a china shop and the action (along with the catchy and wonderfully complementary score) never quits that is unless a broad drifts into range, and a bevy of lovelies do so.

In this version Velda who in the novels was also a licensed detective holds her own doing double duty as a competent secretary/associate, and quasi love interest, she shows flashes of jealousy when Mike returns to the office disheveled and bruised from his escapades.

All the actors put in decent performances, I just wish Geoffrey Lewis had a bigger part, my only quibble.

Whats not to like.

Barely Neo Noir if that. The one noir lit sequence that I do rememner was when Hammer goes to pay respects to Jack's wife. Most of the film is too brightly lit.

No first person narrative.

And well, this version deviates a bit from the novel, i.e., using a surrogate serial killer in place of Kalekis henchman to the detriment of the novels excellent Bellamy Twins sequences, the substitution of the sex clinic for the whorehouse, and bringing an ex-CIA paranoid operative house as fortress character into the story.

Armand Assante as Hammer hews closer to the Ralph Meeker look than what you picture Mike Hammer should look like (for me that would have been the great Charles McGraw), but he has the machismo and misogynistic qualities right, lol .

The cinematography is adequate, very pedestrian, nothing stylistic.

Setting the story in the post Vietnam 1980s takes away the dirtier, grittier, sleazier, New York of the late sixties to early 70's when there was still a lot of the old 40-50's business holdovers. Theres no street level connection to the Burlesque Joints, XXX Movie Theaters, The Live Nude Girl Peep Shows, the Arcades, the newspaper stands, the street vendors, the con games, the Dime A Dance Ballrooms, the bums, the panhandlers, the hookers, etc., etc., New York was starting to losing that real noir ambiance, too bad. I remember The 42nd St. Times Square area ridden with the above in 1970, and by the time I returned in 1996 it had changed to Disneyland. Minor quibbles.

Still excellent film 8.5/10,some funny bits, almost the perfect Hammer with an excellent score.

The only way to improve would be a Sin City type treatment keeping the machismo and misogynistic qualities this film has with the dirtier, grittier, sleazier, New York of the late Forties to early Sixties.


Re: Mike Hammer portrayals

Thinking about "I, the Jury", the various interpretation's of Mike Hammer and Phillip Marlowe, and the various Noirs that I've watched in the last couple of months, I think a good all encompassing term for what is missing in the modern adaptations 1981's Margin For Murder, 1982's "I, The Jury" and Garner's "Marlowe" (1969) is, (to paraphrase a term Leone used in relation to Zapata Westerns) "The Romance of the Fedora". It's not that the characters specifically have to wear fedoras (Kiss Me Deadly) but when you take out enough of the Noir archetypes you don't get the correct feel any longer.

Margin For Murder (1981) TV movie directed by Daniel Haller, with Kevin Dobson as Mike Hammer, Charles Hallahan as Pat Chambers. Cindy Pickett as Velda, and New York City.

I'll give this one credit for being almost completely shot in the grittier neighborhoods of New York City, and it has plenty of night shots, decrepit building interiors, and to boot, Hammer actually wears a fedora in a couple of sequences, bravo, better in those areas than Assante's film which seemed a bit too antiseptic, in that respect. But again we are hampered by being in the contemporary modern era with a discotheque and its music and all the visions of "Saturday Night Fever" that that, conjures up. Dodson at least plays Hammer as tough as Assante, and the babes are again "hammertomically" correct.

Velda is more of a plain Jane secretary in this one not as pro-active as Laurene Landon in "I, The Jury" (1982). More fisticuffs than bullets flying in this Hammer version, don't think its based on any particular novel, this one also has a sidebar story of Hammer & Velda trying to find a home for stray puppies. Again as in "I, The Jury" there seems to be a penchant for making Spillane's stories into over blow conspiracy stories, trying to go for more spectacle, don't know if this was the trend in most of Spillane's stories or not, the only two I've read seemed simpler tales.

Not as much graphic violence and no nudity (its a TV film after all)as next years "I, The Jury" would have also the Nelson Riddle score pales in comparison to Bill Conti's for the 1982 film. 7/10

Re: Mike Hammer portrayals

Murder Me Murder You (1983) TV Director: Gary Nelson, With Stacy Keach, Tanya Roberts, Delta Burke and Don Stroud, nice New York location work and they shot in the winter with lingering piles of snow, on the streets and icing on the buildings, but once again Hammer is depicted out of his time period, Keach is adequate as Mike Hammer and Tanya Roberts as Velda is once again hammertomically correct, some of the supporting cast are interesting but the disco era is all wrong.

When are they going to do Mike Hammer correctly in the 1950's, where he belongs, it's not rocket science. At least Keach is wearing a fedora.

This film has a lot, actually, let me be more precise TOO MANY big hairdo big breasted Amazon chicks that the effect is incredibly watered down they all blend into one another and their effect is WASTED. It gets to the point that there are no average women around to "stack" them up against, there is even a mud wrestling sequence, but being a TV film they are wearing bikinis. Who the heck did the casting on this The Playboy Club?

I think I'll have to check out the Darren McGavin version next.

Re: Mike Hammer portrayals

I don't remember if I saw this movie but I did watch Keach's Hammer show in the 80s. I liked it but as far as I remember his character was toned down too. He wasn't a thug with a badge. But he certainly had the attitude.

You're lucky you have seen all the versions.

On a different note, it would be difficult to film Spillane nowadays. The PC brigade might hyperventilate.

Looking at the Darren McGavin version, it seems people liked it.

Edit: I like your idea of Charles McGraw playing Hammer. Another missed opportunity.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: Darren McGavin, Mike Hammer portrayals.

I have the complete set of McGavin's Mike Hammer (79 episodes, 1958-1959) starring Darren McGavin as a pretty confrontational though tongue-in-cheek Hammer, quick with his fists and his gun. As with any series there are ups and downs. There were two back to back outstanding episodes I remember "Doll Trouble" and "I Remember Sally".

The negatives:

Runtime: 30 minutes, minus commercials, intro and end credits they are probably actually around 25 minutes

Aside from Hammer (McGavin), Pat Chambers (Bart Burns 21 episodes), and coke bottle glasses wearing Geta (Vitto Scotti 7 episodes) not a whole lot of series regulars (if you even call them that) with character development.

No Velda this Hammer is pretty low rent seeming to live in his office.

Geta's Candy Store/Soda Shop set is too square, unrealistic these type of stores are invariably long and narrow, and Scotti's Geta is to clownish.

A far fetched aspect of the series is Pat Chambers, since Spillane's concept for the character of Hammer was based on former Newburgh, New York police officer Jack Stang, it seems that likewise the Chambers character is written as if he is a small town homicide chief, the real NYC is composed of a myriad of precincts and no way in hell would Chambers have jurisdictional authority all over Manhattan and all the boroughs that Hammer ranges over

The positives:

McGavin is a good Hammer/Liddlle composite, though it is Spillane's character, this Hammer, so far, has not had any over the top Gov/Commie story-lines. Frank Kane who also wrote detective fiction, creating Big Apple private eye Johnny Liddell, wrote over thirty books and countless short stories is credited with 23 episodes during the run which may account for the realistic small cases feel of the show.

For the short run times the stories move along with great economy and good use of McGavins first person narration to bridge the set pieces.

A lot of NYC on location sequences with McGavin walking the streets, driving his 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 convertible around Manhattan, or hopping in taxis gives the show a nice Neo Realist feel.

All the babes are hammertomically correct.

Occasional Noir-ish lighting and Dutch angels used and the majority of the sets have a nice sleazy look complementing the stories.

Lots of action, the episodes either feature fisticuffs (McGavin held a black belt in traditional Japanese karate and the series are notable for him doing many of his own stunts and for the "enthusiasm" he put into some of the fight scenes, sometimes forgetting to pull his punches and "ad-libbing" moves) or a lot of sudden and quick blazing gunfights in cramped quarters with the bad guys ending up dead

The decent theme music "Rift Blues".

Set in close to the correct time period for the first seven Spillane Hammer novels

Re: Darren McGavin, Mike Hammer portrayals.

My favorite HAMMER actor was Brian Keith. He did a one off tv pilot in 1954 which is mean and nasty. Blake Edwards handled the writing and also directed the episode.

Re: Darren McGavin, Mike Hammer portrayals.

The entire series is out on DVD, I might buy it.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: Mike Hammer portrayals

Great review and nice comparison between the different versions. I knew about this version but don't think I've ever seen it. I'll track it down.

"Non presence Biff Eliot", that sounds about right, though looking at some imdb reviews there are people who liked his portrayal. Robert Bray could actually have turned in a great true-to-Spillane version of Hammer IF the producers hadn't watered down the script. He had the looks and the attitude. I hate missed opportunities.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: Mike Hammer portrayals

Brian Keith in a 1954 tv pilot is my fav. Blake Edwards directs and did the screenplay. It is violent and nasty which is probably why it was not picked up. Too bad. I have a review up on my imdb pages.

Re: Mike Hammer portrayals

I looked up your review, sounds good. Unfortunately not on youtube. I'd like to see that.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: Mike Hammer portrayals

I have it somewhere on disc.

The Long Wait (1954)

And another one would be The Long Wait with Anthony Quinn which I reviewed a while ago. Quinn plays a quasi-Mike Hammer by the name of Johnny McBride and it also stars Peggie Castle. This one's definitively worth a watch, I loved it.

It was on youtube, seems to have been taken down.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: The Long Wait (1954)

It was better than I was expecting. Decent if rather unseen noir.

Re: Mike Hammer portrayals

Thank you for the excellent review Mgt of this sadly very underrated Noir. With having now seen some McGraw eps,I agree with you about him being a better fit for the Noir detective,but I do think that Assante really fits into the whole 80's vibe of the flick.

Here is what I wrote in 2015 (trivia:the original UK Video was cut by 5 minutes):

10

Before I get to the film,I have to mention that Fox Archives has delivered a terrific improvement on the rusty UK Video print of the movie,with the widescreen picture being sharp and catching every dirty street corner of the title,and the clear audio allowing the viewer to hear Bill Conti's synch-Jazz score shake with every gunshot.

Originally hired to direct until he got sacked due to going $100,000 over budget in the first week of filming,the screenplay by Larry Cohen places this adaptation of Mickey Spillane at the cross roads between the sun-set Neo-Noir and the steamy Erotic Thriller.Sending Hammer off to follow in the footsteps of his former partner,Cohen hammers Hammer into a decaying Neo-Noir world which is kept hidden by an alluring shell,which contains sex therapists secretly recording their clients deepest desires,and cops trying to put all their dirty money links onto a serial killer.Made before the sub- genre would hit the mainstream,Cohen ties the Neo-Noir with a wonderfully deranged Erotic Thriller edge,as a sadistic killer with "mummy issues" makes his victims look like mannequins,whilst Hammer uncovers the "sex therapy" to be a fashion house-style mansion,packed with alluring,but deadly femme fatales.

Rushed into the movie after Cohen was given the boot,director Richard T. Heffron & cinematographer Andrew Laszlo (who also worked on the first Rambo movie in the same year) give the film a stylish,rough and tumble Neo-Noir appearance.Filmed on location,Heffron and Laszlo,scan the burnt-out streets with excellent whip-pans and tracking shots which inject the title with a menacing atmosphere,as Hammer and the mysterious killer close in on each other.Picking up on the genre-crossing mood of Cohen's screenplay,Heffron brilliantly mixes Hammer's gritty Neo-Noir beat with ravishing naked girls and a psycho sexual killer.Before closing the case on a brittle Noir note,Heffron slams Hammer into '80s Action,thanks to Hammer having to take control of the law by taking on the gangs of dirty cops,which leads to the dark underbelly of the city being ripped across the screen,as Mike Hammer declares himself the jury.

Re: My Gun is Quick (1957)

Saw it on a rather poor vhs copy decades ago and do not recall what I thought of it. Excellent write-up.

Mike Hammer.

Hi Jess,I want to say thank you for the superb review My Gun is Quick,and that from the details you give,the very good Darren McGavin show taking place at the same time sounds like is more full-on than the film version.

THE SHADOW ON THE WINDOW 1957

THE SHADOW ON THE WINDOW

Better than expected thriller about a home invasion robbery gone wrong. Jerry Mathers plays a young boy who witnesses a murder at a home where his mother (Betty Garrett)is working. In shock, the boy wanders off before being picked up by a passing truck. He is dropped off with the police where it so happens the boy's father, Phil Carey, is a detective. Unable to get the boy to talk, the police begin a city-wide dragnet hoping to grab up someone who might know the location of Garrett. John Barrymore Jr., Corey Allen and Gerald Sarrcini are the not so bright hoods holding Garrett. Having murdered Garrett's boss during the robbery they must decide whether to kill her as well. Several gun battles and a couple of more bodies are piled up before Carey saves the day with a just in time rescue.


A decent time waster.

Time To Kill (1942)

Time To Kill (1942): Lloyd 'Michael Shayne' Nolan is hired by Ethel Griffies to retrieve a valuable coin for her, the Brasher Doubloon, which she is convinced was stolen by chorus girl Doris Merrick, who is also involved with her son James Seay. What starts out as a routine assignment quickly becomes a puzzle for Nolan as he finds the coin, but then Griffies informs him she also found it back in her personal belongings! Something is not right, and it includes murder, blackmail, Griffies' fidgety secretary Heather Angel and a seemingly inconspicuous photo taken years earlier

Even tho this is a Michael Shayne movie, it's the first screen adaptation of Raymond Chandler's novel 'The High Window', which would be remade a few years later as 'The Brasher Doubloon' starring George Montgomery as Philip Marlowe. The plot is a maze, twisting and turning non-stop in its 60-minute runtime, as the always wise-cracking Nolan ('Lady In The Lake') goes from one clue/red herring to the next. You really need to pay attention or you'll miss things. This was the last of the Shayne movies starring Nolan and it does feel a bit rushed and less fun compared to the other ones. Having said that, it's still got its moments, and Nolan is always a blast as Shayne. But part of what made Nolan's Shayne movies so much fun was the continuous back&forth witty banter between him and the leading ladies (Mary Beth Hughes, Lynn Bari, Marjorie Weaver) And this movie really lacks it as Angel's ('Lifeboat') character is nothing of the sort, and tough cookie Merrick ('Sensation Hunters') doesn't have quite enough screen time.

Director Herbert Leeds had already directed a few Shayne movies like 'The Man Who Wouldn't Die' so he knew how to direct these quick 'blink or you'll miss a clue' mysteries. DoP Charles G. Clarke ('Moontide', 'Violent Saturday') does a decent if unremarkable job. As mentioned, the movie does feel rushed, and while the crew obviously knew how to get the job done in a timely manner, it also shows. Not the best way for Nolan's Shayne to end, it's a slightly disappointing movie due to the high expectations created by the previous Shayne movies plus using a Chandler novel. A few years later Hugh Beaumont would take over as Michael Shayne for a new series of movies (which I've yet to see). Still good enough to watch for people interested in either Michael Shayne or Raymond Chandler. 6+/10

This movie can be found on youtube in not-so-good quality. It is also the only one of the Lloyd Nolan Shayne movies not yet released on DVD as far as I know. For what it's worth, I highly recommend the 4-movie Michael Shayne Mysteries DVD set.

Re: Time To Kill (1942)

One I need to see. Tick away!

Re: Time To Kill (1942)

I saw it is on youtube and the quality is pretty bad. I'll watch it anyway, it sounds like fun.

Most of Nolan's Shayne movies seem to have been restored, Amazon has them.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: Time To Kill (1942)

Hi Xhc,I want to say thank you for the great review,and that I was wondering if you have been able to track down any of the Beaumont series? The only Beaumont I've been able to find is a trailer for Murder is my Business:



On a note about modern Noir,I think that you would really enjoy the 4-part "ripped from the headlines" Aussie Noir mini-series Deep Water.The whole series is on iPlayer:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/group/b083bjdv

When you're slapped you'll take it and like it!

Go to You-Tube and type in the above line. Several links will pop up but go to the one poster, Lasma Abele, click and enjoy a great series of clips. Name the slaps.

Re: When you're slapped you'll take it and like it!

This is funny, but one thing I've always wondered. Why do these tough guys bitchslap?? How about a real punch?

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: When you're slapped you'll take it and like it!

25-30 seconds is amazing! I love how a couple of the guys start crying right when they get slapped.



Go to bed Frank or this is going to get ugly .

Re: When you're slapped you'll take it and like it!

Love that clip Someone put a lot of time into finding all the clips and editing it all together!

Name the slaps.

They're all listed in the description! *slap*

Re: When you're slapped you'll take it and like it!

Opps, I mean't name the films. Lol Great bit of clip editing as you said.

Late Phases (2014)

Hi all.before going on a weekend holiday to Birmingham,I've had the chance to see this great Horror Noir,which I would sum up as Cold In July and Gran Torino.with werewolves!

9

What do silver bullets make you think of?The Lone Ranger.


** This review may contain spoilers ***

Despite seeing him mentioned a number of times on the IMDb Horror board,I for some reason have never gotten a chance to catch a glimpse of film maker Adrián García Bogliano.Taking a look at the 3 Horror flicks chosen for viewing on a Film Festival thread,I was thrilled to find Bogliano's first English language title,which led to me deciding to make this my first Bogliano phase.

The plot:

Falling out with his son Will,crusty, blind Vietnam war veteran Ambrose McKinley is sent to a retirement community. fiercely independent,McKinley gets on the wrong side of everyone in the neighbourhood.One night someone (or something) breaks into his house and kills McKinley's dog. Calling the cops (who tell him that there is a full moon) McKinley is told that his dog was killed by an animal with large claws,which have dug into his wall. Listening in on local residence,McKinley discovers that a series of disappearances have taken place. Believing that a werewolf is attacking the community, (sure it isgrandpa!) McKinley looks towards his neighbours,and finds them to be in complete denial. Never letting blindness blind him from the memories of the Vietnam War,McKinley decides that he must face one final horror.

View on the film:

Limiting the werewolf action to 15 minutes,the screenplay by Eric Stolze brilliantly puts horror fur on a tough Neo-Noir's wolfs tail. Entering the community as an outsider, Stolze takes McKinley's glasses off to reveal a leather-face Noir war vet who is the only one prepared to step into the shadows of the neighbourhood. Getting everyone else in town "off my lawn!" Stolze cooks up deep-fried Noir steaming with nervous superstitions that block anyone else from seeing the nightmare unfolding over McKinley's eyes.

Crossing the pond for the first time,director Adrián García Bogliano displays an extraordinary confidence. Clawing into the Noir anxiety, Bogliano and cinematographer Ernesto Herrera cut McKinley's lawn down with razor sharp shards of light burning up the drops of blood on a wolfs fur. Bringing Robert Kurtzman (of legendary visual effects team K.N.B.) in to give the horror a real bite, Bogliano cleverly blends the horror shocks into the bubbling Neo-Noir unease,as pitch black shadows line the walls of McKinley's final battle. Nervous that he would be unable to portray blindness, Nick Damici (who wrote the Neo-Noir Cold In July) gives a magnificent performance as McKinley. Confronting anyone who tries to give him pity, Damici turns McKinley's skin brittle with stubborn force to attack the Noir horrors that have their claws in him.

Re: Late Phases (2014)

Thanks. Tick is on the way.

Tv Bit:"Unequal Partners" 1952 A 12 minute noir quickie

CONTAINS SPOILERS

SHORT, SHORT DRAMAS "Unequal Partners" 1952

This anthology series of twice-weekly one act plays ran during 1952 and 53. There were 58 of these shorts produced to fit a 15 minute time slot.

In this one we have two partners in a real estate company, Henry Jones and Truman Smith. The younger man, Jones is upset with Smith over a house sale that failed. Jones is henpecked at home by his wife, Natalie Priest, who is always complaining about money. The two men head home for the night.

That evening, Jones and Priest are out for drinks at a club and the wife starts in on Jones. She tells him that he needs to be a man and step up. She wants him to bump off his partner, Smith. Then they can collect on the 50 large in partners insurance. Jones does not have the nerve for such action. The wife knows this and as made arrangements to have the job done.

Priest has the club owner, a mobbed up guy, Ralph Stantley hire a hit-man for a piece of the insurance. Stantley knows a gunman who is on the run and will work cheap. The hit-man, Harry Kadison is to hit the office at opening and bump off Truman Smith. Jones will be there as well and will call the Police after the hit. He will give the cops a wrong description and tell them it was a holdup. Smith was killed as tried to go for the hold-up man's gun type thing. Hit-man Kadison asks how he will know which man to chill. Stantley tells him that the target is a bald man.

The men, Jones and Smith arrive the next morning and Smith takes off his hat and coat. He smiles at Jones and says, "Look what I bought last night". Jones eyes go wide as he stares at Smith, just as hit-man Kadison bursts in. The hit-man looks at Smith, pulls a gun and drills Jones, then runs out. What Smith had bought was a full toupee. Once Kadison had seen the hair, he had shot the still hat wearing Jones.

This is a pretty good little story that clocks in at just over 12 minutes.

So You Want to be a Detective

I've never heard of that. As far as shorts go, someone put me on to So You Want to be a Detective (1948). It's a great little hard-boiled parody clocking in at 11 minutes. It's on youtube. A must-see.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

THE MAN IS ARMED 1956 Dane Clark can't catch a break

CONTAINS SPOLIERS

THE MAN IS ARMED 1956

Truck driver Dane Clark has just gotten out of prison after serving a one year bit. He is hitching his back way back to LA. Fred Wayne, who works for the same trucking outfit Clark had, picks him up.

When they hit LA, Wayne says he needs to make a stop before hitting the warehouse. Clark says no problem and has Wayne drop him just outside of downtown. They arrange to meet in one hour.

Clark hotfoots it over to a nearby apartment building. He enters and heads upstairs. There he finds Richard Benedict. Clark figures that Benedict had set him up for the Police. The boys in blue had collared Clark with stolen goods in his truck. Clark had been filling in for Benedict on the delivery. Clark has been waiting a year to settle the score.

A quick round of fisticuffs ends with Benedict going for a 6 floor fall off the roof. Clark calmly leaves the apartment and meets his ride Wayne. The two then drive to the trucking depot.

Running the office phones at the depot is the built like a brick ****house, May Wynn. Wynn and Clark had been stepping out before Clark's trip to the jail house. While swapping spit with Wynn, they are interrupted by depot boss, William Talman. He would like a word with Clark in his office.

Talman gives Clark back his job and offers him a chance at a cool 100 grand. Talman wants to make up for being the one who really set the cops on Clark. He had wanted to test Clark's "character". A less than amused Clark wants to give Talman a bit of what he gave Benedict in error. But 100 grand is 100 grand. Talman hands Clark a couple of c notes and arranges a meeting for the next day. All will be explained then.

The pair are now interrupted by Police Detective, Barton MacLane. He is here to ask some questions about one of depot's drivers. The driver is of course, the late Richard Benedict. They need to know if anyone had it in for Benedict. MacLane, just happens to be the cop who had pinched Clark on the stolen goods beef. He asks Clark where he was at the time. "Just getting to town with one of the depot's drivers" he answers.

Clark wines and dines Wynn that night and tells her he wants to marry her. Wynn is a tad reluctant to answer. She has been enjoying the company of up and coming Doctor, Robert Horton. She tells Clark she needs some time.

Next day Clark meets up with Talman. Talman has the perfect caper lined up. He has all the inside dope on an armored car warehouse. He knows all about the guards, cash amounts, times etc.

He wants Clark to run the operation with three other men he has hired. Again, 100 large for his end talks big, and Clark agrees. Clark and the men, Richard Reeves, Bob Jordan and Henry Lewis have one week to get ready. They spend the time going over blueprints and getting the plan down pat.

The night of the robbery they silence the guard, break open the payroll safe and scoop up the half million inside. Then into the getaway car.

However, a second guard shows and shots are exchanged with the guard getting plugged for his troubles. The boys then speed off to a second car. Clark takes the cash and heads off in the second car while Reeves, Jordan and Lewis go the other direction.

The Police however are quickly off the mark tonight and have already put roadblocks up. Clark decides to ditch the cash rather than risk a search at a roadblock. He then contacts Talman by phone with the info. Clark says he will retrieve the cash later.

While all this is going on, Maclane has been giving truck driver Fred Wayne a spot of 3rd degree. Wayne breaks and admits he had dropped Clark off near where Benedict had been killed. MacLane puts out an all points for Clark on suspicion of murder.

The next day Clark and Talman meet to retrieve the cash. When Clark hands over the loot, slime-ball Talman, pulls a rod and shots Clark in the chest. He then laughs and drives off to stash the cash at the family farm.

Clark however is not quite as dead as Talman thought. He manages to get to Wynn's apartment. Wynn is busy with her Doctor, Robert Horton. Clark applies some gun butt to Horton's head and drags Wynn off. He knows where Talman intends to hide the money. He wants Wynn to drive him to the farm. They are soon on the road with Wynn behind the wheel.

Horton regains his senses and calls the Police. MacLane and the boys in blue quickly show. After a talk with Horton, Maclane radios the make, model and license number of Wynn's car to all units. They are not to stop the car but follow it. Wynn's car is soon spotted by a motorcycle cop who calls it in and follows at a distance.

Wynn and Clark have now reached the Talman farm. Clark catches Talman in the act of digging a hole in which to bury the cash. Clark fills the hole with Talman after he puts several slugs into him. He grabs the bag of cash and starts to the car.

MacLane, along with and a dozen or so heavily armed bulls have also made it to the farm. They have Clark surrounded. Clark drags the loot and Wynn into the barn. A thoroughly frightened Wynn tries to talk Clark into surrendering.

Clark throws his piece aside and staggers outside the barn where he drops dead. The blood loss from the wound Talman gave him had caught up with him. Another perfect plan goes amiss. (B/W)

Re: THE MAN IS ARMED 1956 Dane Clark can't catch a break

Thank you for the terrific review Gordon,and I was wondering if the movie has come out on disc or if it is on YouTube?

Thanks.

Forbidden aka Scarlet Heaven (1949)

Forbidden aka Scarlet Heaven (1949): Former chemistry professor Douglass Montgomery creates and sells all kinds of potions on the Blackpool funfair, to make ends meet while his wife Patricia Burke buys tons of clothes and tries to revive her theater career. At the funfair he meets ice-cream seller Hazel Court and they hit it off. But Burke won't give Montgomery a divorce however, at least not until she no longer has any use for him. When he sees her faint due to taking too many slimming pills, he sees an opportunity to get rid of Burke a different way and replaces her pills with more lethal ones. The plan works, and he buries her under the floor of his warehouse. Only to find afterwards Burke didn't take the replaced pills after all!

Told in flashback for the majority of the movie, this is a nice British noir-ish thriller with more than a few Hitchcockian touches. Hammer horror scream queen Court ('Dear Murderer') and Burke ('The Lisbon Story') are great here in their respective roles, Court charming and sweet, Burke selfish and cold. Montgomery ('The Cat And The Canary') has way less presence and comes across as a poor man's Michael Redgrave, making the viewer care less about his (ironic) predicament. Thankfully the women's performances help level out Montgomery's average one.

This was to be director George King's ('The Shop At Sly Corner') last movie and he does a good job, the movie has a nice pace and he knows how to create tension. Together with DoP Hone Glendinning ('The Scarlet Web') whom he worked with several times before they give this movie a well above-average look with plenty of shadows. They also make great use of on-location shots on the Blackpool funfair as well as on its iconic tower. All in all, a good movie that is let down a bit by Montgonery's blase performance and lack of charisma. This movie was released in the States as 'Scarlet Heaven' btw and has some additional scenes as well as some voice-over narration. Both versions are available on a DVD released by Network in the UK. 7/10

Re: Forbidden aka Scarlet Heaven (1949)

Well done. I liked this one as well. George King was a fine director and it shows. Tick is on the way.

Re: Forbidden aka Scarlet Heaven (1949)

Hi Xhc,I want to say thank you for a wonderful review on a rarely discussed non-Horror from Hazel Court.With the Network sale hopefully coming up,I was wondering about what you would say are the best Noirs that Network have put out?

Thanks.

The Return Of The Whistler (1948)

The Return Of The Whistler (1948): Due to circumstances, Michael Duane and Lenore Aubert have to check into a hotel so they can get married the next day. Still unmarried, and needing to get his car fixed, Duane decides to search for a garage and pick up Aubert the next morning. The next morning however, he discovers his fiancé checked out of the hotel minutes after he left, which he cannot believe. Private detective Richard Lane overhears the conversation and decides to help him track down his fiance. They drive back to Duane's apartment for some photos to help Lane. At the apartment Duane finds Aubert's old marriage license, she's a widow. When he hands over the photos and the license to Lane, Lane knocks him out cold and takes off! When he comes to, Duane realizes Aubert must be caught in something dangerous and heads for the estate of her dead husband, to find a clue

Based on a short story by Cornell Woolrich, this was the last of the Whistler movies, and the only one without Richard Dix, who was in bad health (and would die the next year). It's still a worthy entry in the series, even if some of the twists are not too surprising. Duane, who had already co-starred in a another Whistler movie ('The Secret Of The Whistler') and Aubert do a decent job, as does the rest of the no-name cast. Aubert, who plays a French woman, does tend to forget her French accent quite often. Random trivia: uncredited actor Fred F. Sears would go on to direct many movies himself including a few noirs like 'Chicago Syndicate'.

While it's a B-movie, it's very lean and fast-moving thanks to director D. Ross Lederman ('Strange Alibi', 'Key Witness'), and it has above-average production values with some nice sets. The chiaroscuro cinematography by DoP Philip Tannura ('Key Witness', Edgar J. Ulmer's 'Strange Illusion') is really nice, and also features the necessary shadow of 'The Whistler' in some key scenes. All in all, not a bad way to end the series. 7/10

Re: The Return Of The Whistler (1948)

It's on youtube, I'll check it out.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: The Return Of The Whistler (1948)

I need to watch this one again. I think I was a bit under the weather last time I took it in. Nice work and tick has been sent.

Re: The Return Of The Whistler (1948)

Hi Xhc,I hope you are having a good X-Mas season,and I want to say thank you for the wonderful review.With the Whistler movies,I was wondering what your best/worst rankings would be?

Thanks.

Re: Ladies in Retirement; The Verdict

Two from the forties tonight:

Ladies in Retirement:

A woman working as a companion for an older rich lady needs to find a safe home for her sisters, or else the two sisters will be put into an institution. The rich lady allows them to stay at her home for a bit, and things start to get out of hand, and a crime is committed.

The Verdict:

This one is a gothic noir-whodunit. In fact, it's a terrific locked room mystery. A superindendent of Scotland Yard is dismissed because he had sent an innocent man to the gallows, and he resents the fact that a younger & less experienced man is to take his place. The innocent man had been unfairly accused of murdering an older woman. Soon after, the older woman's nephew is murdered in a locked room situation. Terrific storyline with an amazing ending. In fact, it's one of my favourite mystery endings ever.

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Re: a follow-up to my post above this one (Ladies, Verdict)

Here I should mention that both Ladies in Retirement and The Verdict are from the forties, but both are set in the late 1800s and both have a gothic feel to them.

Ladies in Retirement is a thriller, while The Verdict is a locked room mystery.

I'm surprised that The Verdict isn't better known. It's a Peter Lorre-Sydney Greenstreet collaboration, it's great noir, it works very well as a whodunit, the ending is fantastic.why isn't it better known?

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Re: a follow-up to my post above this one (Ladies, Verdict)

Seen only the second of the two you mention. I need to dig LADIES out of storage.
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