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Claude is a young man with a regular job, no history of trouble with the law and no chance of making any real money. He also has the brains and emotional detachment to make the big bucks as a hit man, and that becomes his new job title. A string of successful hits gets him sent to Los Angeles for his latest job. There he is accompanied by two goons: one who is perpetually nervous and the other who quickly worships the young man as a hero. The cold, ruthless hit man finally becomes unglued when he finds out that his latest target is a woman. She's a witness, set to testify against his boss, and guarded day and night by the police. It's her femininity that worries Claude: women are unpredictable, they don't do what you expect. Claude eventually proves that he is the unpredictable one and his own worst enemy. Written by
I'm a retired real estate broker. I don't do anything anymore but sit in my room, look at television, and smoke cigars.
I'd still like to work for you.
I want to be a contractor.
Have you done it before?
You can only make a mistake once in this job.
Well, I'm different.
What do you mean you're different?
I don't make mistakes.
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Vince Edwards is Claude, a college educated young man from a middle class background with a decent job who decides upward mobility can be achieved by becoming a contract killer. Claude is clever and carefully plans his hits. However, he proves himself to be too clever when hired to kill a female witness in a federal mob trial.
MURDER BY CONTRACT is a not bad, very low budget crime thriller made when the market for low budget crime thrillers was shrinking. Having the ruthless Claude come from a respectable background makes its slightly different from other films of this nature. The film at times shows some inventiveness in the camera work and editing. Phillip Pine and Herschel Bernardi give good support. There is one scene where Edwards is sent to kill a man on life support in a hospital. He sneaks in disguised as a doctor, which is rather ironic, considering future developments in Edwards career.
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