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
The first time Mike listens to Christina Bailey's radio, the piece playing is the first movement of Schubert's Eight Symphony ("Unfinished"). The second time he listens, the first movement to Brahms' First String Quartet is playing. See more »
The shadow of the camera is visible on Mike Hammer in the tracking shot of him entering and walking into his apartment. See more »
Man, I saw this movie for the first time a few years ago and I still don't know what to think about it. Ralph Meeker as a fascistic Mike Hammer, a crazy hitch-hiker, an opera fan and a box that can destroy the world. I dunno.
From what I understand Alderitch (the director) hated Mikey Spillane's story (which was about a briefcase full of drugs or money or something else), thought Mike Hammer was an image of brutality and fascism and made a film that reflected it. He makes Hammer out to be some kind of sadist and makes the suitcase out be some kind of nuclear device. The movie turns from a simple detective story to some wierd-ass, sci-fi cold war parable.
It's sort of like the X-Files meets film-noir PI, or something to that effect.
All that being said, this is a GREAT film and is well worth watching by anyone who like apocalyptic film-noir (in fact, this may be the only film in that sub-genre). Anyone who is a fan of bizarre camera work, weird symbolism and a stranger storyline, should really check this out.
Observe the many bizarre inconsistencies (clocks that jump ahead and back, screams that don't jibe right with the soundtrack, camera angles that jump mysteriously) and keep in mind that these were INTENDED! When you get a feel for this film and start noticing what the director was attempting to do with this bizarre film I think that you will enjoy it even more. Truly a unique piece of film making.
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