Amid a semi-documentary portrait of New York and its people, Jean Dexter, an attractive blonde model, is murdered in her apartment. Homicide detectives Dan Muldoon and Jimmy Halloran ... See full summary »
Tough L.A. private eye Mike Hammer gives a ride to Christina, a frightened young woman he finds running along the road one night. His car is run off the road by unseen thugs. Hammer is knocked out and Christina is tortured in an unsuccessful attempt to get information from her. They are put back into Hammer's car which then is forced off a cliff. Hammer wakes up in the hospital. Velda, his trusty secretary, informs him that Christina is dead. Pat Chambers, Mike's policeman friend, tells him to stay off the case, but Mike thinks it might be a big story--meaning big money for him--because the FBI is interested. He, Velda, and Nick, his garage mechanic friend, start investigating in hopes of finding out why Christina was killed. Written by
Although Victor Saville is credited as Executive Producer and director Robert Aldrich is credited only as producer, in reality Aldrich had it written into his contract that he had complete control over the picture and it would be made the way he wanted it, specifically stipulating that his decisions could not be overruled by any studio representative. See more »
(at around 1h 10 mins) The singer is shown standing with both hands on the microphone stand. When Hammer is sitting at the bar, during the same song, the singer is shown in a reflection playing a piano and not singing, though she is still heard singing. See more »
The best thing I can say about this tedious film is that the lighting and set design were really enjoyable. I loved the dark streets and those endless staircases throwing shadows of the banister rails on the walls. The cars were out of this world and made me almost weep with nostalgia. However, for this kind of film Mike Hammer's penthouse pad was a bit out of place.
Now for the gripes: some of the actors were so grating and over the top that I can only assume they were graduates of the Strasberg school of bad acting, or that they had been told they were in a comedy. Most irritating was the noisy mechanic, so much so that I was relieved when someone dropped the car on him and put us out of our misery. Next to him was Gaby, who seemed to be giving her impersonation of Shelly Winters in 'A Place in the Sun.' I could not concentrate on anything but Velda's lacquered hairdo and wondering why she was sweating so much, and were the 50's women so stiff and awkward when kissing a man? Add to them a host of TV actors, the whole film looked like a cross between the Outer Limits and 50's TV Detective show.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?