Thursday, May 31, 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, 

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