And there I was sitting in a world where Stacy Keach was the only Mike Hammer from the hands of crime novelist Mickey Spillane. Stacy’s Mike smashed his way though our 80’s television screens like a, well, Hammer. Stacy Keach was perfect for the part as the tough, gruff and brutally efficient, hard-boiled private investigator. I just didn’t know there was a whole gang of different Mike Hammer’s bringing justice throughout the ages. Kolchak The Night Stalker very own Darren McGavin played him in a 50’s series and in a universe defying paradox, creator Mickey Spillane actually plays his own “baby” in the 1963 film The Girl Hunters. (I need to see this) Continue reading “Kiss Me Deadly (1955) Panting Barefoot Panic Starts The Hammer”→
How come the criminals, all the gangsters, fences, wiseguys all seem to be making bucks? Seeing all the crooks you put away getting released early and still making big money. Racketeers that manage to slip through your fingers living the life of luxury from the proceeds of organized crime. It starts to get to Lieutenant Barney Nolan (Edmond O’Brien). 16 years on the force laying down the law on the streets, for what? a paltry pension and no savings!. He deserves more. He’s put his life on the line every single day seeking justice for these damn criminals, how is it fair? He dreams of a big house in the suburbs, all the mod cons, the whole shebang, with his beautiful, happy smiling girl, Patty Winters (Marla English) by his side. It would be a wonderful life, he’d have to use his badge to get it though but how far would he go?
Tagline – A wild trigger finger… a lust for big money… and a weak spot for fast blondes hurled him from the straight-and-narrow to a crooked one-way road!
Just as our anti-hero hitman emerges from the subway tunnel womb to the sound of that great gravelly voice of Hart To HartsMax (Lionel Stander) I knew this was going to hit that bell at the top of my Wolfie meter with a sledgehammer blow. Blast Of Silence smashed me square in the chest with two slugs of a blasting revolver.
Narrator – “Remembering out of the black silence, you were born in pain.”
“This is not a story of escape. It is a story of survival. It is set in Changi Jail Singapore, in 1945. The Japanese did not have to guard Changi as a normal prisoner of war camp. The inmates of Changi had no friendly Swiss border or any other neutral country within reach. They were held captive not so much by high walls, or barbed wire, or machine-gun posts, but by the land and sea around them – and the jungle was not neutral, nor was the ocean. They did not live in Changi. They existed. This is the story of that existence.”
I always seem to be drawn to films that focus on mental health issues, especially older films that tackle more challenging subjects that were probably taboo at the time. Sometimes they can be of a exploitation nature but most of the films I’ve enjoyed have addressed the difficult matter at hand with great thought and sensitivity. Fourteen Hours is another fine example of mixing deep thoughtful drama with real life, complex problems that many people could face at sometime in their own life. The wonderful thing that impresses me, well most of the time, is the ability to deal with the subject matter in a way to let the viewer understand, feel sympathy for, and maybe even learn from. Fourteen Hours is about suicide. But before you turn away, this is an exceptional drama which is thought-provoking and features really outstanding performances from it’s two leads. Continue reading “Fourteen Hours (1951) Suicidal Drama From The Edge Of A Ledge”→
Hitman Claude – “Have you boys ever killed anyone?… Well?”
“I thought not.. It’s not easy, you know. You read in the paper about some wife doing away with her husband, child murderer, knifing in a tavern brawl… These are crimes of passion. Crazy people off their rocker.
Then there’s the tigger-happy hoodlum, the kid that kills a gas station attendant because he can’t open the cash register fast enough. That’s another type of crazy person. Both types eventually get caught. They don’t plan. They can’t. Even if they did, it’d be no use. The only type of killing that’s safe is when a stranger kills a stranger. No motive. Nothing to link the victim to the executioner. Now, why would a stranger kill a stranger?
Because somebody’s willing to pay. It’s business. Same as any other business. You murder the competition. Instead of price-cutting, throat-cutting. Same thing. There are a lot of people around that would like to see lots of other people die a fast death. Only they can’t see to it themselves. They got conscience, religion, families. They’re afraid of the punishment, here or hereafter. Me, I can’t be bothered with any of that nonsense. I look at it like a good business. The risk is high, but so is the profit.”