Kevin Dobson is Mike Hammer in this version of "I, the Jury" by Mickey Spillane - this one called "Margin for Murder," directed by Daniel Haller in 1981. It also stars Cindy Pickett, Donna Dixon, Charles Hallahan, Asher Brauner and John Considine. When a friend of Mike's is murdered in what appears to be a car accident, Mike refuses to accept and sets out to prove a) it was murder; b) whodunit, and c) why. Nothing will keep him from the case, including the murders of two people who knew too much.
Many actors have played Mike Hammer. I for one was not enthusiastic about Stacy Keach's Hammer, but I loved Ralph Meeker's. Mickey Spillane as an actor just didn't make it. Dobson has the New York sensibility and the toughness that it takes to make a good Mike, and while he's not as sexy as Meeker, his performance works just fine in this story. Velda is played by Cindy Pickett in a very straightforward, un-bimbo-like manner. There's a nice little subplot involving some puppies marked for the pound that Mike takes to Velda's so they can find homes for them.
All in all, a pretty good TV movie. Unfortunately, the version I saw on Fox Movie Channel obviously had a scene missing. I have absolutely no understanding of this - I can understand a cut on a normal station where they have less time now for a movie than they had in 1981 because of commercials, but FMC has no commercials. Seems rather ridiculous.
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