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


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