Thursday, May 31, 2018

Noirsville Short Of the Month

The Redhead In The Window

Directed by -  Lou Chianti
Starring  - Cherry Anders
A Backdoor Production (2018)

Noirsville Bonus - Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer Noir TV (Part Four)

The unofficial, Mike Hammer re-watch for noir-ness home festival continues. A nice thing about the series is that the run time from the opening frame to the beginning of the episode is about twenty seconds flat. You get Rift Blues the theme, The title "Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer" and the "starring Darren McGavin" and your off into the tale.

Revue Studios was founded in 1943 by MCA to produce live radio shows originally and then re-launched as MCA's television production subsidiary in 1950. MCA bought the Universal Studios back lot in 1958 and was renamed it Revue Studios. In 1966 Revue was officially renamed Universal Television.

You get a mix of Hollywood Studio back lots and sets, combined with actual New York City location and occasional action sequences, and a dash of older late 1930s-40s NYC stock footage. The Hollywood stuff is probably all the interiors, the giveaways for the back lot NYC are the (off for NYC) globe on concrete post streetlights, and the too clean and too bright streets.

Disc Four
The Broken Frame - A con in Sing Sing tells Pat Chambers that he and Mike sent an innocent man based on their evidence to ol' sparky.
Sing Sing

Captain Pat Chambers (Bart Burns) lt. and Mike Hammer (McGavin
Hammer has a gun given to him by the con's mother after his execution, it's the gun that killed a supermarket manager. Hammer tries to figure out who is telling the truth and what the scam is. Dick Van Patten is a passable baddie. Minimal NYC shots in this one.
Hammer's office

Mike's heap a 1957 Ford Fairlane Convertible 

Hollywood Sets above and the next four below, only the Bellevue Hospital ambulance sequence is actual NYC footage.

Hollywood set giveaway, too narrow and way too clean streets

tail fins

Bellevue Hospital NYC ambulance

Van Patten goes out the window
Directed by John English, written by Steven Thornley, DOP Paul Ivano. Straight Crime 6/10
  1. Look at the Old Man Go - An heiress (Bethel Leslie) hires Hammer to break up the relationship between daddy and his gold digger gal pal played by Angie Dickinson, both hammer-tommically correct.

    Tail fins

    Mike and the heiress, hammer-tomically correct 

    Tail fins

    A cute meet Mike and Angie Dickinson 

    left to right, Angie Dickinson, Bethel Leslie, Darren McGavin
    nice couple of twists, some minimal NYC sequences. Director Boris Sagal, written by Lawrence Kimbal, DOP Jack Mackenzie. Straight Crime 6.5-7/10
  2. The Paper Shroud - An Armored car company is robbed, looks like an inside job.
    A smoggy 1958 NYC

    Noir vet Anthony Caruso left with Darren McGavin right

    Mike works for the insurance company that has the coverage. 

    Four corpses litter a Hollywood alley
    Lisa Montell is the hammer-tomically correct babe, a decent though slightly predictable story until the twist, with Anthony Caruso (Johnny Apollo (1940), Night Editor (1946), The Blue Dahlia (1946), The Undercover Man (1949), Scene of the Crime (1949), His Kind of Woman (1951),  A Cry in the Night (1956), as head crook. Directed by Boris Sagal, written by Fenton Earnshaw, DOP Jack Mackenzie. Straight Crime 7/10.
  3. My Son and Heir - A rich man wants Mike to beat some sense into his son Douglas Dick (Rope (1948)) who has run off to the country "shack" to shack up with a lowly commoner. The girl ends up dead, who dunnit? Robert F. Simon (Rogue Cop (1954), 5 Against the House (1955)) plays the big shot. Virginia Gregg (The Amazing Mr. X (1948), Dragnet (1954),  ) is the Mater, and Dub Taylor. Directed by Sherman Marks, written by Lawrence Kimble and Stephen Marlowe, DOP Jack Mackenzie. Straight Crime 6.5/10
  4. Final Curtain - Barrie Chase (Party Girl (1958), Cape Fear (1962)), Herbert Rudley (Decoy (1946)) a riff on Jack The Ripper, someone is killing hammer-tommically correct chorus girls.
    a Jack the Ripper type attack
    Studio bound for the most part. Directed by Richard Irving, written by Frank Kane and Richard Ellington, DOP Jack Mackenzie. Straight Crime 6.5/10.
  5. A Detective Tail - Ric Roman (The Damned Don't Cry (1950), Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950), Scandal Sheet (1952), 99 River Street (1953) The Big Heat (1953), ) is an ex con just got out of a three year stretch in the slammer. He's looking for his show girl girlfriend (Frances Helm) and her roommate (Grace Lee Whitney -Yeoman Rand Star Trek TV series) both have flown the coop. Sounds like Farewell My Lovely.

    Ric Roman with Grace Lee Whitney

    McGavin and Francis Helm

    tail fin taxi

    McGavin, Carl Betz, Helm

    The late great Pennsylvania Station
    Mike pumps a gossip columnist for info. He finds out the roommate is now stripping under another name Tempest Flame. Carl Betz (Inferno (1953), Vicky (1953)) is a news anchorman. Directed by Boris Sagal, written by Frank Kane and Richard Ellington, 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Noirsville Bonus - Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer Noir TV (Part Three)

A continuation of my degree of "noir-ness" reviews of the individual episodes of the Mike Hammer TV Series that was broadcast between 1958-1959. Again, you will see for yourselves why this series fits visually into what I like to term the "Tail Fin" Noirs, practically all the cars have them. It's also a great window to see the New York City that existed at the end of 50's. For being shot in Hollywood it has an abundance of on location work in Manhattan. It was an ambitious production. This disc even has Mike going to the 1958 Brussels Worlds Fair in one episode.

"Public and critical reaction to the show was mixed. While TV Guide referred to it as "easily the worst series on TV", McGavin said that the show was "instantly successful".Some reviewers were critical of the show for its use of excessive and gratuitous violence. However, McGavin made a point of playing the role of Hammer with a hint of tongue-in-cheek satire – against the wishes of Universal Studios executives." (Wikipedia)

So lets explore more.....

Disc Three
  1. Skinned Deep - A carny beauty contest in Jersey has left one of it's participants flat broke.
    A Jersey Carnival

    beauty contest

    hammer-tomicaly correct

    Johnny Seven

    hammer-tomicaly correct

    hammer-tomically correct
    What's a woman to do if all she's got is her body and good looks? Pose in cheesecake or S&M shots for camera clubs? Join a strip club? Sell her ass on the street? No, our femme fatale tells  Hammer her plight and to see if he can get her swag back. She's star struck want's to make the big time, wants to use her doe enter legitimate contests.
    Hammer suspects a carny grift (a casting agent type scam for beauty contestants), and visit's the booking agent in Manhattan. He convinces Hammer that he'll make good on her application fee. He tells Hammer that just have her show up tomorrow.

    She comes back to Hammer and tells him to call the whole thing off. Of course her explanation leads to the another woman who always wins all the contests and actually was in on the grift and deposits the winning check back in the con mans account getting fired. That woman then contacts Hammer.
    She's been tossed over for the new twist, and got a shiner, too boot. She wants to rat the whole con out or does she.

    Tail Fins

    tail fins
    A nice twist. Sleazy, Noir-ish, hammer-tomically correct babes, carny's, and a good dose of 1958 Manhattan.

    Driector Richard Irving, with a very good story written by Frank Kane, DOP Jack Mackenzie. Crime Noir 9/10
  2. Peace Bond - Classic Noir vet Edmon Ryan (Side Street (1949), Mystery Street (1950), The Breaking Point (1950), Undercover Girl (1950), Highway 301 (1950), Storm Warning (1951)) looks like a huskier William Tallman, and a young Marion Ross playing the femme fatale are the highlights of the cast. Hammer is framed for murder.

    Marion Ross

    Edmon Ryan
    Some nice Manhattan street sequences. Directed by John English, written by Frank Kane and story by Curtis Cluff, DOP Jack Mackenzie. Straight Crime 6/10.
  3. Play Belles' Toll - Dennis Patrick (Jason McGuire/Paul Stoddard in Dark Shadows TV series) is a crooked cafe owner, Jean Willes (The Sniper (1952), The Glass Web (1953), 5 Against the House (1955), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), The Tijuana Story (1957)) is the femme fatale who wanted a bigger piece of the escort service/shakedown racket she is a part of.
    hard at work

    tail fins

    women with guns
    Johnny Seven (On The Waterfront (1954), Cop Hater (1958), is an enforcer for the escort service. Director  Boris Sagal, an interesting tale written by Frank Kane, with great cinematography by DOP Jack Mackenzie. Straight Crime 6/10.
  4. For Sale, Deathbed, Used - Mike goes after a serial killer who struck close to home. Directed by Richard Irving, written by Lawrence Kimble, DOP Jack Mackenzie. Straight Crime 5.5/10.
  5. Music to Die By - A disc jockey buddy of Mike's is threatened by a jukebox monopoly racket.  They can make or break any up and coming recording artists by putting their records in all the jukeboxes they control, or not, and they can pressure DJ's to play certain artists. 

    The Brill Building

    The Ames Brother
    The episode features the Ames Brothers, Joan Banks (Cry Danger (1951)) and comedian Wally Vernon. Director Boris Sagal written by Fank Kane, DOP Jack Mackenzie. Straight Crime 5/10.
  6. My Fair Deadly - 1958 Brussels World Fair and a contingent of Broadway chorus girls minus one is off for the Broadway exhibit. Hammer checking on the missing chorine finds her strangled in her apartment.
    shades of Detour
    Wolds Fair footage, hammer-tommicaly correct babes, a smuggled  diamond. Directed by Richard Irving, written by Barry Shipman, DOP Jack Mackenzie. Straight Crime 6/10.
  7. The New Look - A shrink thinks his high class patients are being recorded and blackmailed into buying expensive gowns. Features Doris Dowling (The Lost Weekend (1945), The Blue Dahlia (1946)), Walter Reed (The Racket (1951), Mary Anderson (Chicago Calling (1951), Dangerous Crossing (1953), I, the Jury (1953)), and Steven Geray (seven classic film noir). Directed by , written by , DOP  . Straight Crime 6/10.
    Tail Fins

    air shaft

    Tail Fins