Legendary detective Mike Hammer has spent seven years in an alcoholic funk after the supposed death of his secretary, Velda. He is brought back to the land of the living by his old friendly enemy, police lieutenant Pat Chambers.
An old friend of a private detective is murdered. The detective, Mike Hammer, will make every effort to find out the killer. At each step he does, there is someone taking advantage of his ... See full summary »
Richard T. Heffron
A high-stakes poker game is robbed and Pat intervenes as the thieves make their getaway. He is shot in the back and then framed as a drug dealer. Hammer makes it his job to clear Pat and find out who nearly killed him.
Mike is asked by a Las Vegas entertainer to come to Vegas. Mike refuses, he is then knocked out and dropped (literally) into Las Vegas. He is led to believe that the entertainer had him ... See full summary »
The adventures of Mickey Spillane's tough-talking, brawling, skirt-chasing private detective Mike Hammer, who's always ready to use his fists on a "mug" or his charm on a "skirt" to get the case solved.
The Clyde Beatty Circus seems jinxed, falling victim again and again to apparent accidents which are actually the acts of a murderous saboteur. Mystery writer Mickey Spillane comes on the scene to solve the case.
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 it 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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