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Blast of Silence (1961)

 -  Crime | Thriller | Drama  -  April 1961 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 2,359 users  
Reviews: 47 user | 44 critic

A hired killer from Cleveland has a job to do on a second-string mob boss in New York. But a special girl from his past, and a fat gun dealer with pet rats, each gets in his way.

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Title: Blast of Silence (1961)

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Cast

Cast overview:
Allen Baron ...
Molly McCarthy ...
Lori
Larry Tucker ...
Peter Clune ...
Troiano (as Peter H. Clune)
Danny Meehan ...
Petey
Howard Mann ...
Body Guard
Charles Creasap ...
Contact Man
Bill DePrato ...
Joe Boniface (as Bill Da Prado)
Milda Memenas ...
Troiano's Girl Freind [sic]
Joe Bubbico ...
Body Guard
Ruth Kaner ...
Cleaning Woman
Gil Rogers ...
Gangster
...
Gangster
Don Saroyan ...
Lori's Boy Friend
Dean Sheldon ...
Night Club Singer
Edit

Storyline

Having been 'away' for some time, professional killer Frankie Bono returns to New York to do another job: assassinate some mid-level mobster. Although intending to avoid unnecessary 'contact' while carefully stalking his victim, Bono is recognized by an old fellow from the orphanage, whose calm and unambitious citizen's life and happy marriage contrast heavily with Bono's solitary and haunted existence. Exhausted and distracted, Bono makes another mistake, but his contract is not one to back out of. Written by <armin@sfb288.math.tu-berlin.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

orphanage | gun | rat | pet | pet rat | See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

April 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Baby Boy Frankie  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The beginning, which shows a train emerging from a tunnel, is what would have been seen in a train *leaving* New York. The train, with its magnificent GG1 electric locomotive, emerges from the tunnel and is seen in Newark's Penn Station. Trains do not burst into the light (an important metaphor in the film) entering New York City, but arrive at dark, underground platforms. However the now-demolished sky lighted departure hall of New York's Penn Station is seen. Trains between Cleveland and New York generally traveled over the New York Central line and arrived at Grand Central Terminal. See more »

Goofs

In Ralph's apartment, when Frank Bono attacks Ralph, his gloves disappear and reappear several times during the struggle. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Bellhop: Nice view we have here.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The MPAA seal appears on the bottom right corner of the Universal-International logo instead of its usual place in the credits. See more »

Connections

Edited into Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 9 (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Torrid Town
(uncredited)
Performed by Dean Sheldon
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Should be a cult classic
5 August 2005 | by (Worcester, MA) – See all my reviews

Its not technically perfect, but this film remains one of my favorites. Definitely something with plenty of re watching value. You think the classics of Hollywood Noir where pessimistic and hard-hitting? This makes many of those films look light. There is no major studio interference or traditional Hollywood happy ending. There aren't any attractive people or even likable characters. This is just raw and pessimistic film-making. There is little or no plot, just an outline that connects various events in a week of a hit-man. The film is obviously very low budget, but that doesn't matter too much. It adds to the darkness, and the minimalism. This isn't flashy Michael Bay type film-making. This is one of the darkest and most misanthropic films ever made. It also is one of the most memorable.

The film centers around Frankie Bono, a well paid hit-man who is known for his efficiency. He is hired to kill a mob kingpin on Christmas day, and it seems like it will be a very simple job to follow through on. However, he gets sidetracked when he meets up with an old friend from the orphanage and his sister who he still has feelings for. Bono is an interesting if not completely well-developed character. He is pessimistic and feels no need for others, as they only seem to be out to get him as the narrator describes. One of the reasons he is more human than many other protagonists of low-budget noir is the narrator. The hard-hitting narration (provided by Lionel Strander, who remains uncredited but has a recognizably unique voice) acts as sort of a conscience for Bono. This is both a plus and a detraction for the film. The scenes with the narration is obviously due to lack of a budget to afford sound film. The narrator provides background on Bono, and describes his feelings. It may have been better if they had dialog instead to show the feelings of the character. I can't hold it too much against the filmmaker though, because like I stated above this is a very low-budget film, and post-dubbing is always destructing.

Bono is the closest to a well-developed character. The girl who he still has feelings for, Lorrie, is a stereotype, but the filmmaker obviously wants her to be more interesting, so it isn't for lack of trying. Big Ralph is appropriately slimy, and is an all around unappealing and sleazy character, who certainly gets what is coming to him in one of the most impressive death scenes ever caught on film. Luckilly since Bono is the most interesting character, the film centers entirely on him. As far as I can recall, there isn't a single scene where he isn't in it. This is definitely a character study, albeit a crude one.

What makes the film so great? The fact of how unique it is. It's all Allen Baron's show (he directed, wrote, and starred in it), and he equips himself well in all areas. Unlike many other Hollywood versions of Film Noir, these are people you'd run into in the street. The film is gritty beyond belief, and there is a sense of hopelessness throughout the entire thing, unlike the more higher budgeted crime films. It is far from the most technically impressive crime films such as "Touch of Evil" or "Kiss Me Deadly", but is in many ways a perfect textbook example of how noir should be made. Sleazy, irredeemable yet oddly compelling characters, and a depressing atmosphere. From the beginning you know there is no way there can be a happy ending for this film. It sticks in your memory and the lack of finance adds to the atmosphere. The camera-work is very impressive (and you even get to see some vintage footage of early 60s New York).

This is a film awaiting rediscovery, and if the midnight movie circuit had survived, this may have secured a spot on the roster of cult classics. Unfortunately, due to a perceived lack of interest, no major studio feels like releasing a DVD of this impressive film, so the bootlegs are the only ways to see it. The boots are easy to locate from several popular retailers of odd and unusual lost films, and are in overall good quality. Despite the high price of the copies, they are certainly worth the purchase for fans of film noir. This is one of the most hard-hitting noirs I have ever seen, and I highly recommend it. (9/10)


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