A police lt. is ordered to stop investigating deadly crime boss Mr. Brown, because he hasn't been able to get any hard evidence against him. He then goes after Brown's girlfriend who despises him, for information instead.
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
The abandoned movie studio location in the film is the former Charlie Chaplin Studio. See more »
The only type killing that's safe is when a stranger kills a stranger. No motive. Nothing to link the victim to the executioner. Now why would a stranger kill a stranger? Because somebody's willing to pay. It's business. Same as any other business. You murder the competition. Instead of price-cutting, throat-cutting. Same thing. There are a lot of people around that would like to see lots of other people die a fast death... only they can't see to it themselves. They got conscience, religion, ...
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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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