Johnny Cool (1963) Poster

(1963)

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9/10
'Lost' classic crime movie
noir guy19 August 2001
'Lost' classic crime movie, with 'Rat Pack' member Peter Lawford as Executive Producer, and featuring Rat Packers Sammy Davis Jr. and Joey Bishop in single scene cameos, this is an often brutal mob movie featuring glacial Henry Silva as a pitiless, downbeat anti-hero pitting his wits and weaponry against a variety of slick-suited, big-city mobsters operating behind an outwardly respectable veneer. Opening the movie as a Salvatore Giuliano-type Sicilian folk-hero (the early scenes show a young 'Johnny' being taken under Giuliano's wing in World War II after witnessing his mother's death at the hands of the Nazis), 'Johnny' is reinvented and resurrected by Marc Lawrence's exiled 'Lucky Luciano' type syndicate boss, who has arranged his faked death in order to set him loose against the former Stateside associates who are now lining their pockets with his ill-gotten gains. Swiftly acquiring Elizabeth Montgomery's thrill-seeking, well-heeled moll (a cinematic half-sister to the similarly enthralled Claire Trevor in Robert Wise's BORN TO KILL), Johnny sets about his one-man vendetta amidst the boardrooms, casinos and fancy spreads with a singleminded ruthlessness that, in its settings and attitude (if not it's visual style) appears to foreshadow Lee Marvin's similarly brutal rampage through the well-heeled trappings of contemporary corporate America four years later in POINT BLANK. Comparisons aside, this is a slick slice of thick-ear hardboiled crime, aided by a snappy Billy May score and Sammy Davis Jr. theme which adds to the sense of pace and rhythm engendered by William (BEACH PARTY) Asher's snappy direction. And the ending's a killer (pun intended). Undoubtedly worthy of wider (any!) availability, as it's an often cynical, but arresting crime movie (pun similarly intended)with the makings of a cult. Catch it if you can.
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Fast paced Gangster film with Cameos Galore!
Hoohawnaynay31 December 2003
This is a really cool gangster film featuring a much under-rated Henry Silva (Why Hollywood didn't use him more is beyond me!) playing an Italian mobster. The beggining of this film is a little awkward & slow but give it 15 minutes and it picks up quickly. Enter Elizabeth Montgomery as a bored socialite who wants some some excitement in her life and boy does she get it. Liz even gets slapped around by two guys which gets her turned on because when Henry comes back and finds her she belts out the line "I need you RIGHT NOW!" WOW! Kind of risque for the era. Good locations throughout, including many shots of Beverly Hills, Los Angeles & Las Vegas in the early 60's. Many, many cameos by Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, Jim Backus, Mort Sahl. William Asher proved he could direct drama as well as comedy (His forte'). This has no Hollywood ending either. It should be on DVD.
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Gangsters
artzau12 November 2000
This is classic Henry Silva when he was young and a potentially hot hollywood item running with the 'Rat Pack' and a pre-Bewitched Elizabeth Montgomery. The cultural aspects of the Mafia are touched on before Mario Puzo's novel, which came a few years later. Some cameo support performances from Jim "Mr. Magoo" Backus and Sammy Davis, Jr. make an interesting and dark gangster story. The ending is blunt and may leave you feeling as if you were wandering in the wasteland only to find the key to the exit doesn't work. Check it out.
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taut, slick, anomic, infected world of death 'morte'
alicepaul8 May 2004
Johnny Cool moves along at a bloody and violent pace. The bad guys are complex and heroic deeds few and far between. Dare's self-revelation about the innocence of her 'dolce vita' friends and the corruption and the prevalence of the underworld is almost understated. 40 years since the film was made, it still intoxicatingly drags the viewer back to a simpler albeit vicious time. The acting is almost uniformly true. Henry Silva is powerful and Elizabeth Montgomery is as sexy as the times would allow.It has some funny moments including Joey Bishop as a very verbal used car salesman

The murders are mostly quick and effective. Some are sloppy and brutal the way you know they must be in real life.

Every moment of this film is a hard little gem. Why films like this are so elusive escapes me.
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10/10
Intense, powerful crime drama is strange and unforgettable
mlraymond21 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This movie doesn't seem to be well known, beyond devoted gangster movie fans. It's a small, black and white thriller, about two or three days in the life of a ruthless contract killer, sent from Italy to America to seek revenge,and demand tribute on behalf of a deported Mafioso. He becomes involved with a thrill seeking society woman, who aids him in his crimes. Whether their unusual relationship can be considered a love affair in any normal sense ,is open to interpretation.

The movie was considered quite violent in its day, and still has some pretty nasty action, by implication. It's fast moving, and unpredictable, with an oddly charismatic performance by Henry Silva in the title role. Elizabeth Montgomery's character is a little under developed, but she makes a memorable impression nonetheless. A lot of the cast is made up of familiar faces, some in very odd roles. Jim Backus as a jovial, crooked contractor, John McGiver as a grumpy casino manager, Sammy Davis Jr. as a nervous gambler, all help to make the atmosphere of this picture a mix of humor and ambiguity. More traditional hoodlum roles are played by Marc Lawrence and Telly Savalas, with such crime movie reliables as sleazy Joe Turkel and creepy Elisha Cook, Jr appearing as various mobsters and hangers on.

The movie isn't quite like anything I've ever seen. It's hard to define what it is that gives this picture its unique atmosphere, but it makes for a fascinating, if unnerving viewing experience. This is well worth the effort, if you can manage to find it on cable, or home video.
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9/10
Terrific Movie
gadgetcoder14 December 2006
I saw this movie accidentally a number of years ago channel surfing. I missed the first 5 minutes of it. It caught my eye because of Elizabeth Montgomery. It was a very dark movie considering what I knew Elizabeth for (Bewitched!). It was one of the more gripping movies I have ever seen. Henry Silva is one of the best "bad guy" actors I know. In this movie, he outdoes himself - causing the viewer to both loathe him and feel sorry for him in much the same way Elizabeth's character does. I highly recommend this movie.

I was very surprised I had not seen it before, what with all the cameo appearances by rather big name actors and entertainers. If any of you find this on DVD, PLEASE let me know! I would really like a copy for myself.

Regards to all, gadgetcoder
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7/10
A Bleak, Nihilistic Ride
henri sauvage11 September 2010
There's murder and mayhem to spare in this wild ride through the underworld of the early 1960s.

There's simply no one who could play a merciless killer better than Henry Silva, with his beady black eyes, and that inimitable smirk which plays across his face as he dispatches his victims. Here he's put to perfect use as a remorseless "messenger boy of death" sent by deported mobster Johnny Colini (Marc Lawrence) to settle scores with Colini's former associates in the US.

In the odd and somewhat awkward opening scenes of "Johnny Cool", we're introduced to Silva's character as a young boy in Sicily. When fascists kill his mother, he's adopted by the hill bandits who rescued him. Next we see him as a bandit chief, a sort of Sicilian Robin Hood who's an honored guest at a local wedding. Which makes Silva's seemingly easy transition to a cold-blooded hit man a bit inexplicable, after Colini on his own initiative bribes the authorities to fake the bandit's death. I have a feeling there's something missing here; maybe the novel explained it better.

But once Silva -- who at the mobster's behest has taken Colini's name for his own -- hits New York, the movie shifts into high gear, and from that point on it never lets up. Bouncing from New York to Vegas to LA and back, the new Johnny Colini -- or "Johnny Cool" as he's inevitably nicknamed -- eliminates his targets with icy aplomb, leaving a trail of corpses to mark his journey through the underworld.

Along the way, he gets involved with bored little rich girl Darien 'Dare' Guiness (Elizabeth Montgomery), who demonstrates dramatic chops which may come as quite a surprise to those who only know her as Samantha from the TV series "Bewitched". Though she's basically a decent person, something within her is fascinated by the darkness she senses in Johnny, and she's swiftly drawn into the violence that swirls around him. He loves her, but of course in traditional "Beauty and the Beast" fashion, it will be his undoing.

Besides being produced by Peter Lawford and featuring a couple of songs by fellow Rat Pack member Sammy Davis, Jr. as well as cameos by Davis and Joey Bishop, this film sports a striking assemblage of actors in supporting roles: from up-and-comers like Telly Savalas to noir and gangster flick icons like Elisha Cook, Jr. and Robert Armstrong, to some not-so-obvious choices for mob bosses in Jim Backus and Mort Sahl. In his brief appearance Sahl leaves quite an impression, as he greets the prospect of his imminent death with a sort of weary, good-humored resignation. He correctly divines Johnny's fate, offering him some rueful advice that he really should have taken.

And Silva's final scene is unbelievably wrenching, incredibly disturbing for all that it lacks any gore or overt violence. I guarantee you, you will never forget it.

This is a neat little film, compact and brutal as a sawed-off shotgun. While not as stylishly executed as later gangster revenge sagas like "Point Blank" or the original "Get Carter", this one still carries one hell of a punch.
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10/10
Oh, so cool
SquirePM12 May 2002
This is an entrancing film in which you get lost and don't even think

about getting out again until its stunning conclusion. I've been a

Henry Silva fan ever since I saw him in it. And it features Elizabeth

Montgomery in her most enticing roll ever.

The story starts a little rough, and you just have to stick with it for a

while, but it ripens into a headlong thriller and finally cruises to its

wrenching climax. What do you think? Can a guy like this get

away with a relentless series of assaults on such powerful people

forever?

All that said, and still giving it a high rating, this movie is definitely a

1963 film. What passed for heavy action back then has long been

eclipsed. There is somehow almost an innocence to the

slaughter, if that's possible. Henry Silva's character, however, will

always stand up as a smart, remorseless, merciless and

inexorable visitor of revenge. And he's so cool.
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6/10
An Incredibly Nasty Film
richardchatten18 June 2017
Before Lee Marvin in 'The Killers' and 'Point Blank' there was 'Johnny Cool'. The name 'Johnny' in the title usually means a romantic loner; but this Johnny was such a reptilian thug that by the end I was rooting for him to get what was coming to him in a way that I never did with the likes of Jimmy Cagney.

After possibly the worst title song I've ever heard (sung by Sammy Davis Jr., who also contributes a cameo as a dealer in a gambling den in an eye-patch and loud check jacket named "Educated"), what follows is a real curate's egg vividly shot on location by Sam Leavitt in deliberately ugly black & white with an astonishing cast of cameo players (I particularly liked Mort Sahl's contribution). The bewitching Elizabeth Montgomery is wasted as a bored socialite who takes a shine to Johnny after seeing him karate someone in a restaurant, yet seems a bit slow to realise that maybe he's not really a very nice person. (She and director William Asher married the same year and together embarked the following year on the evergreen TV hit 'Bewitched', and she was lost to movies forever.)

That the Production Code was by now on its last legs is attested to by macabre details such as the fact that he takes a knife rather than a gun with him to settle one particular score; while he improbably uses a big heavy suitcase with a bomb in it to blow up one victim rather than simply shooting him. And how did he make his getaway after machine-gunning someone else through the top floor window of a high rise office block from a window cleaner's cradle? However, the film is obliged to show sufficient restraint in its denouement to leave enough to the imagination to make the conclusion far more chilling than had we seen more. (And it's refreshing to see Elisha Cook Jr. come out on top for once.)
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9/10
Johnny Cool....
MarieGabrielle28 March 2007
Pure 1963 gangster drama. Not sure if this is on DVD yet, but it should be.

Elizabeth Montgomery as a brunette, looks amazing. She is a bored socialite who wants excitement, and hooks up with Henry Silva.

Some of the scenes are classic. The Beverly Hills Hotel, Las Vegas, a NYC skyscraper. Telly Savalas also has a cameo, and Sammy Davis Jr. Also, John McGiver ("The Manchurian Candidate") as an angry casino boss.

There is also something aesthetic and wild about seeing the streets of Los Angeles and NY in black and white, in the 60's. It just seems so surreal. Don't miss this film, they often show it on TCM channel. 9/10
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7/10
Henry Silva Shines
dolly_the_ye-ye_bird23 September 2011
Nice little mob movie. And not a bad little showcase for a few Ratpack members either. Great actors...Elizabeth Montgomery, Henry Silva, Jim Backus, and Telly Savalas to name a few. Silva is in his element here, playing a gangster sent to avenge the deportation of a mob boss who can't get back in the country to settle the score himself. No one plays a better heavy than this guy! So cold and calculating! Silva's Johnny is one creepy character! Perfect! Montgomery is absolutely beautiful and shows the beginnings of a great career. No wonder she became a star!!The film itself I found to be a bit slow and, at times, ever so slightly confusing. Even so, I enjoyed it and would watch it again if only to marvel at the talent of Silva.
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5/10
Needed more cool school
tomsview15 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
An oddity from the 60's that has more the look and feel of a television show of the period such as "The Untouchables" or "77 Sunset Strip" only not as good.

There are few reasons to watch "Johnny Cool" these days, certainly not for Henry Silva; he made a great heavy when he was four or five down the cast list – just fine in "The Manchurian Candidate" – but he's deadly as the lead in more ways than one.

The main attraction for me was in spotting the host of familiar faces that pop up throughout the movie. It's almost a who's who of character actors of the time; Joe Turkel, Elisha Cooke Jnr., Brad Dexter, John McGiver; the list goes on and on. There is even Mort Stahl, Jim Bacchus and Joey Bishop, mainly as gangsters who get whacked by Johnny Cool. Most interesting are a couple of stars before they made it big on television: Elizabeth Montgomery and Telly Savalas. Sammy Davis Jnr. gets some scenes too, and sings the title song.

The story of a young Sicilian outlaw who is mentored by an exiled American gangster, then sent to America to wreak vengeance on his enemies, actually seems to have too much plot, which isn't helped by a choppy script – nothing is developed before we move on to the next plot point.

Director, William Asher, was the king of the TV sitcom. The shows he directed, produced and wrote read like a catalogue of TV shows of the 1950's through to the 1980's but his approach seemed pretty flat when translated to the big screen ("Beach Party" doesn't count). Despite being packed with incident, "Johnny Cool" generates little tension – "The Godfather" it is not.

Asher may not have had the eye of an Elia Kazan or a Francis Ford Coppola, but he had an eye for beautiful women. This is where he met and married Elizabeth Montgomery; a year later, her career took off with "Bewitched".

Now it's difficult to see her in anything without the memory of Tabitha, but she is stunning in "Johnny Cool" playing a naïve divorcée who gets caught up in the titular character's criminal activities. I think Elizabeth Montgomery was not unlike Grace Kelly, and like her, attracted men like moths to a flame – seeing her here, it's easy to see why. Although she gives it everything she's got in "Johnny Cool", it was tough going with the erratic script.

The film is full of violence, which probably bucked against the censorship of the day, but now looks tame. There is a touch of irony at the end, but I can't help feeling that the central character is so one-note that it cancels out the good performances that surround it. However, "Johnny Cool" is just quirky enough to be watchable, but maybe just once.
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One of the best movie ever made about mafia
searchanddestroy-118 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Perhaps this movie is not as realistic or well known as "The Godfather" saga, but I consider it as the most cruel, fierce and interesting film made about the mafia.

Henry Silva also gives us perhaps the best performance of his career. A cold, ambitious, ruthless and mechanical killer.

Really a vicious, brutal, sadistic but unusual vision of the underworld .

And about the end, let me invite you to discover it. You'll never forget it.

Note that William Asher, the director, has never shot any better movies since. Only "beach" ones.

But that's another story...
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10/10
Cool Musical Sounds
whpratt128 March 2007
Greatly enjoyed this fantastic film from 1963 with plenty of cameos of Marc Lawrence, Elisha Cook Jr.,("I Wake Up Screaming"), Telly Savalas,"Kojak", Joey Bishop (Comedian) and Jim Backus, (Mr. Magoo)

Henry Silva, (Johnny Cool) was given a job from a retired Mob gangster hiding out in Rome,(Marc Lawrence) who wanted him to repay some guys with a nice Mob Hit. Elizabeth Montgomery, gets involved with Johnny Cool and starts going on a killing spree with him doing all sorts of wild things and at the same time falling in love with this guy. There are plenty of great musical sounds in this picture by Billy May which adds a great deal to the entire picture. This is the type of film that will never grow old and will keep you interested right to the very end. Enjoy.
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7/10
Mega-cool.
MartinHafer26 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This film begins with a brief overview of the career of a local Sicilian hood named Salvatore Giordano. As a child, he killed Nazi soldiers and soon he's the local mob boss--but he' strictly local. Then, out of the blue, he appears to have been killed by soldiers. End of story, right? Nope...it's just the beginning. It seems that the old Giordano is dead and he's now been re-christened 'Johnny Cool'. Johnny was saved from death by a big-time hood named Colini--an ex-mob boss who has been forced into exile in the old country. His purpose for Johnny is to send him to America to be a one man killing machine--to kill all the mobsters Colini blames for the exile. And, he's been promised that he'll one day be Colini's successor.

When Johnny (Henry Silva) arrives in America, he is a cool character--and the American mob (headed by Telly Savalas) notices him. However, despite various attempts to kill Cool, he manages to use his wits to not only evade death but carry out his various contracts. The closest they come is to beat up Johnny's new lady friend (Elizabeth Montgomery). Soon, the American mob is leaderless and guess who is ready to step into the void. Colini thinks it's him, but by now Johnny realizes that Colini intends to kill him too and perhaps he can now be the big boss-man. Will Cool make it all the way to the top or will his meteoric rise come to just as swift an end? While this is not a great film, Silva is very slick in the lead--very cool, so to speak. His style is smooth as well as very cold--and it makes this average movie just a bit better than it should be. Worth watching, though it was quite inexplicable how Montgomery's character fell so hard for a man she hardly knew--particularly when she is supposedly well-educated and bright.
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10/10
Johnny Cool is way cool..
trevixarama28 February 2011
I finally got to watch Johnny Cool for the first time today and i was so surprised how great this movie is, i can honestly say its way way ahead of its time and had me glued for the entire 101 minutes. Im a huge fan of Elizabeth Montgomery and watched a few of her performances outside Bewitched (which i love) hadn't been able to find a copy until recently. Its a top casted movie and many of the past greats are found here in this classic gangster style movie which all played a great part and don't think Elizabeth Montgomery ever looked more beautiful. Its starts with a great building foundation from the old country and then gets right into the gangster style it very well succeeds at. I strongly suggest everyone who is a fan of the beautifully talented Elizabeth Montgomery or simply anyone who enjoys a great classic 10/10..i hope this movie and all that had Elizabeth Montgomery star in become available for us to buy on DVD or even better blu-ray. Johnny Cool is up there with the BEST of the classics and it deserves to be presented to us completely restored to be enjoyed forever. Once again i have no problem in giving this a 10/10 for enjoyment and pure talent.. If anyone has a good copy can you please let me know..Thanks
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3/10
An Odd Film
wormguy30 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This is not a good film but it's almost bad enough to be entertaining. Henry Silva seems like a menacing presence to many reviewers but to me he seemed intimidated by his shot at the big time. The scenes in which Elizabeth Montgomery and he interact seem spliced together from different movies. Montgomery is convincing in an impossible role and appealing in a way that makes you sad her career reached its apogee in the dreary wasteland of TV sitcom. She clearly had a great spirit and wit that would have made her an engaging presence if she'd had better scripts. The most annoying thing about this movie has got to be the cameos by Peter Lawford's pack of hacks. One can imagine Lawford saying, "Hey, you wanna be in my movie?" and then poor William Asher has to write in scenes which derail the plot (not necessarily a bad thing in this movie). There's an odd moment when Silva meets Sammy Davis Jr. at a crap game and Davis gives him a weird little grin. What does it mean? Nada apparently. This film is filled with these little oddments. Venerable Robert Armstrong shows up as a mobster and has a couple of deliciously cheesy lines which he seems embarrassed by. But he can't touch Mort Sahl's cameo for cringeworthiness. Sahl plays a gangster who faces death with such laidback indifference that you expect him to give us a couple of quips about cold war politics before he exits. No such luck.

All in all, it's an odd Whitman's sampler of schticks and groans with a void at its center. See it for Liz at the height of her beauty and with her natural hair color.
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8/10
A film that had to influence other movies
kuciak13 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Johnny Cool is a real revelation. that it was produced by Peter Lawford, and directed by a William Asher, whose Beach Party movies seemed to celebrate American life as this film condemns it. It also may seem stranger when one sees the people who participated in it, some in only cameos, like Sammy Davis Junior, or Joey Bishop. However, when you consider that Vitoria De Sica, who had once been considered the Cary Grant of Italian films, you may realize, that some of these people who we looked at as entertainers, may have also had ambitions to create art. Johnny Cool is art.

Many have commented that it is similar to Point Blank. This is true in many ways,however, another film that no one seems to have mentioned that has also some connection to, I think is John Frankenheimers Seconds. Those who have seen Seconds I think will know what I mean.

Whereas Johnny Cool came out in 63, Seconds and Point Blank came out in 66 and 67. Silva I think was so good in this film as Jonny Cool, that he was encouraged to come to Europe to become a film star their. However, the only film that I think of his European films that matches Johnny Cool at this time as a good film is 'Hail Mafia, that he would make some 2 to three years later with Jack Klugman and Eddie Constantine. Johnny Cool I think also bears resemblances to Machine Gun McCain with John Casavetes, which has a theme Song Similar to John Cools by Sammy Davis Junior. he last killing of Johnny Cool in this film also reminds me somewhat of Seijun Suzuki's 'Branded to Kill', and has some similarities for me to another dark Japanese crime film of the time, 'Blackmail Is My Business.' When we see Johnny Cool, first he is a young Italian boy in Sicily who has just saved his Mother, but it will be to no avail, as she is killed right after wards, and perhaps foreshadows Silva's character's failure at the end of the film. As a young boy, he will meet right after wards Salvatore Gulliano, a real life person who would lead a Sicilian resistance movement. The inclusion of Guilliano is interesting, in that though he was apparently killed in 1950, their was a belief by some that his death was faked, and that he would end up in the US. In this way Johnny Cool runs with this premise, and suggests what might have been of Guilianno in America.

That also, the first scenes we see of Silva, as his real person in the mountains of Sicily, will remind one of Neo Realism with its black and white photography. Also, does not Silva as that person not remind one of Fidel Castro, with his beard.

Though this is in Sicliy, one cannot help in these scenes to feel that their is some Latin American feel. The people in the village seem more down to earth people, than the ones we will see in America.

Also here, Richard Anderson as the American Correspondent, asks Silva's character about having once fought with the Americans, to which Silva's character replies that a man fights for himself. This gives the implications that the Silva character at this time may be fighting against the Americans. When he says, from the Germans we got these guns, holding a machine gun, one can't help but feel some present equation between the Germans of the 40's, to the Americans of the 60's, as they were aiding totalitarian regimes against the communists.

When we jump to America, we will be introduced to a very sinister and unpleasant America. Perhaps this film would have had a bigger box office (I don't know what that was) had it been filmed in Color. This is however one film that benefits artistically with black and white, especially when one goes to LA and Las Vegas. With its black and white photography, one does not get a feeling of beauty, but instead a dreary feeling, especially during a swimming pool scene, that might have looked too beautiful in color. Also surprising to me, Las Vegas when one considers the participation of Davis, Lawford, and Bishop, is not shown as a place one should really want to go to, as perhaps the earlier Rat Pack film Oceans 11 did. One gets the feeling that this town is really the place of losers, and people who can't really pay their bills.

Elizabeth Montgomery, as the love interest of Silva, is presented as I think the mixed up, naive American. She is drawn to his tough guy persona. However she will bring destruction to him, even though one should consider that he has saved her life from possibly a similar fate that he will have. First, after killing Mort Sahl's character, he will have plans to leave and abandon what he is doing. However, she will sadly convince him to continue. The next two victims that he does in we will have no sympathy for, so we continue to root for him. However, she betrays him stupidly when she realizes two children of one of his victims could have been killed. Instead of calling the police, she will out of her own cowardliness, because she is guilty as an accessory to murder, call the very criminals he has been fighting against. In many ways, her character, represents 'the common American' of the time, just before American involvement in Viet Nam, unaware that even in wars sanctioned by the US, innocent children could get killed, or not have really thought about that.

A very dark, disturbing view of Americana, from people you would not expect from. Get a load of one of the law enforcement people, with his glasses, one dark, one regular. What is the meaning behind that. I wanted to writer more, but with only a 1000 limit, could not.
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3/10
Good Acting Can't Save It
reader425 September 2010
This movie is just bad. Big name stars and great acting throughout from everybody can't save this tedious jumble.

Elizabeth Montgomery is the best I've ever seen her, although the character she is given to play is not all that believable -- a wealthy socialite from Westchester County who falls so ragingly in lust in a matter of hours that she's willing to throw away everything she's ever known to become a gangster moll and commit murder. The movie is almost as much about her as about Johnny. I bet she was recruited from here for Bewitched, which debuted the following year. Her first shot in the movie looks remarkably like Samantha on the first episode, except for her Angela-Lansbury-in-the-Manchurian-Candidate hairdo.

Her acting here, though, is absolutely stunning, showing a depth and power I've never seen her achieve in anything else. This is the only possible reason to watch this movie, and even it is not enough for me to recommend that you do so.

I have liked Henry Silva in most things I've seen him in on TV, so I watched this film, interested in an opportunity to see him in a leading role. The thing that impressed me most about his portrayal was that his Italian accent is appalling. Part Mexican, part Russian, mostly American. It is particularly grating because all the other Italian accents in the film are authentic.

Big names from many generations abound: Elisha Cook (Jr.), Mort Sahl, Jim Backus (doing a couple of Mr. Magoo impersonations in addition to his serious lines), Joey Bishop in a fabulous portrayal of a used car salesman, Sammy Davis Jr., Telly Savalas, Gregory Morton and a couple of TV stars, Richard Anderson and John McGiver. The acting from them as well as the other players I'm less familiar with is top notch.

So how can it be so bad? To start with, it is totally confusing. It is set in Sicily, Rome, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Newport Beach and maybe some other locations. It was impossible for me to tell where the action was taking place at any given point, except that when Miss Montgomery is on the boat, you know she's in Newport Beach.

It starts out in Sicily. If you're good at recognizing St. Peter's and the Vatican Palace from the air, you'll know that it has moved to Rome, otherwise you'll think you're still in Sicily. Then it moves to New York. After that, it's anybody's guess, moving from city to city seemingly at random, and without any explanation or even clue that the location has shifted.

I vaguely suspected we were in Las Vegas when I saw The Silver Slipper sign. But before that, there was a craps game, a very enigmatic scene starring Sammy Davis Jr. as a (maybe?) crooked gambler, where Silva holds a gun to Davis's head and makes him shoot winning rolls for some reason that was not comprehensible to me. I don't know if that was in Vegas, or in some illegal place in New York.

Suddenly Elizabeth Montgomery is in LA. Johnny calls her from Idlewilde, which I assumed meant he was in New York, but in the next scene, he is sitting next to her in a convertible, as they drive past a marquee with "PETER LAWFORD" in large letters (second-billed to Jimmy Durante at some LA hotel). Telly Savalas mentions later that he they are Las Vegas, which is the only reason I'm certain some of the movie took place there, but two scenes later, he and the same cronies are in New York. At least, I'm pretty sure they are.

Maybe if you've been to all those cities a lot, so you can recognize any anonymous back street in town, you might be able to follow it, but I sure couldn't.

How can a movie that's "action packed" and confusing be boring at the same time? I blame it mostly on the direction, which is atrocious, but the complete lack of budget and production values are also partly to blame. Lots of useless walking around. Maybe it was supposed to be suspense, which I found completely lacking in the film.

Or any other kind of excitement, for that matter.

Silva kills a lot of people, but the movie is not gory, and he does so completely without emotion, the way he is during most of this stone-faced performance. The rape occurs off-camera, and it takes some extracting to even be sure that's what happened. You see a bit of the explosion, but no aftermath. The stabbings might just as well have been a punch in the stomach. The whole thing is delivered kind of dead-pan, atypical for a gangster movie.

I found nothing about it gripping in any way, although the performances are often riveting. I don't know how many times I looked at the counter to see how many minutes remained. I don't really know why I watched it to the end, which isn't all that great anyway. Like everything else in the film, rather perfunctory, and not much to it. I'm glad Peter Lawford mostly stuck to acting. He only produced four movies, none of which I ever heard of.

Speaking of which, ever wonder why you never heard of this movie, when it has so many big name stars?
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8/10
Sleek & Serpentine B-Movie with a Pulse-Pounding Pace & a Plethora of Cameos
LeonLouisRicci2 May 2015
Offbeat, Violent, and incredibly Intense Gangster Movie Cobbled together by Rat Packers and a host of Character Actors. This Lively, but Depressing and sometimes Gruesome Mob Movie is Fascinating and Frightening at times.

Henry Silva plays a Mafia Protégé sent to America by an Italian Gang Leader to Wipe Out the Competition and does so in many Varied and Brutal ways. Elizabeth Montgomery makes quite an Impression as a somewhat Naive Society Girl that is Mesmerized by Johnny Cool's Cool and Machismo and it unleashes Her Libido and She is Hooked, "I need you, I need you now!"

Almost every Scene Features a Recognizable Actor or Two and the whole Movie is so Breathtakingly Fast Paced that there Isn't Time to Figure out who They are or why They are there. The Movie is Sleek and Snake Like winding its way from NY to Las Vegas.

The Third Act has a couple of Scenes displaying some Nasty Torture Devices that can Send Chills even Today. Overall, the Movie is Different and while Not quite Stylish it makes up for it with a very Downbeat Demeanor, Rapid Pacing, and a Terrifying Tone. It Pushes the Production Code to its Limit.
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7/10
You give me the green light and I'll put him where the fish will eat him
sol-kay12 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS*** Extremely violent mobster movie staring in one of his few, if not only, leading roles the zombie like and ice water for blood Henry Silva as Sicilian gangster Johnn Cool. Johnny is a man on a mission who's job it is to repay those who put his mentor the real Johnny Cool Johnny Colini, Marc Lawrence, out of business by having him deported, with the help of the US Justice Department, back to his native Italy.

Arriving in New York City Johnny gets down to business in letting out the word that he's there to put the mob out of business and going about it in the most brutal like fashion. What turned out to be the "Achilles Heel" in Johnny's plan was his involvement with pretty Scarsdale New York divorcée Darien Guinness, Elizabeth Montgmery. Darien fell madly in love with Johnny after seeing him in action, breaking heads, in a swanky New York City bar that she got so stuck up on him that it in the end effected his ability do do his job.

***SPOILERS****It was after Johnny's next to last hit of mobbed up oil man Lennart Crandall, Brad Dexter, that Darien lost her nerve when the rented car,in her name, was ticketed by an L.A policeman. With Darien knowing that the car, which had explosive material in it, would lead to her arrest in the Crandell murder she quickly changed her mind about Johnny and, in order to save her own neck, ratted him out to the police. This also lead to Johnny's enemies in the Mafia to set him up him up in a secret meeting he was to have with Darien at a local New York City restaurant. That's after Johnny posing as a window washer got to knock off Mr. Big himself mob boss Vince Satangelo,Telly Savalas,in a high rise building assassin!

Released at the very time of the notorious Joe Valachi hearings before congress on the Mafia's grip on US politics and local police departments the movie was a forerunner to much more popular and bigger gangster films like "The Godfather" and "Valachi Papers" that were released some ten years later. There's also in the film co produced by Rat Pack member Peter Lawford members of the famous Rat Pack of the late 1950's and early 1960's Sammy Davis Jr as someone called "Educated" an exert mob controlled crap shooter and Joey Bishop as Holmes a sleazy as they come L.A TV used car salesman. The movie also has in it as comedy relief a Rodney Dangerfield, before anybody ever heard of him, look and talk alike Hank Henry as Las Vegas bus driver Larry.
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5/10
Italian Hit Man Visits The States.
rmax30482310 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Henry Silva is Johnny Collini, aka Johnny Cool. Adopted by the deported gangster Marc Lawrence in Sicili, he's sent to America to take over all of his former businesses, wiping out the current managers if necessary. It becomes necessary.

Swept up in Johnny Cool's serial assassinations is Elizabeth Montgomery as Darien Guiness from Scarsdale -- great WASP name. She becomes Silva's love slave. We all know what great lovers Italian men are, even if they're not necessarily great actors. She aids and abets his crimes, up to and including murder by dynamite. Finally, as the agents of social control are closing in on her, she gets drunk and the next day decides to drop the dime on her boyfriend.

First of all, what a cast! Movie historians will be impressed -- John Dierkes, Elisha Cook Jr., John McGiver, Robert Armstrong ("King Kong") inter alia. One of the executive producers was Peter Lawford, which may account for the Rat Pack character of some of the cast -- Joey Bishop, Sammy Davis Jr., and a reference to Jilly's, one of Sinatra's favorite bars in New York.

Most of these celebrity appearances are in bit parts. The story depends on the leads, Henry Silva and Elizabeth Montgomery. Silva isn't a bravura actor nor a particularly interesting one. He's much better as part of an ensemble, in smaller roles, especially villainous ones. He was great as "Mother" in "A Hatful of Rain" but those glistening, quartzite irises can't carry a film on their own. He's given no help by the script. Not a tag line in a cartload.

Elizabeth Montgomery overacts volcanically when she's not chirping away in her "Bewitched" persona. This may not be her fault. The director ought to shape the performance of a newcomer, and Montgomery was quite good in a later made-for-TV movie, "The Legend of Lizzie Borden." Besides, she's so damnably cute and sexy, in the way that Jane Fonda was at the time, that she gets a pass.

The film strives for the essence of "cool" as the word was understood in the late 1950s.

The score by Billy May is a good example of what I mean. It's jazz oriented but not challenging. More like big band swing, the kind of backing that Sinatra had from Nelson Riddle. I swear that the climactic phrases in the score feature Maynard Ferguson's trumpet. He's the only guy I've ever heard who can run a trumpet up into the stratosphere, like a dog whistle.

But, as I say, the cool we see here is 1950s cool. It now seems a little dated. The general concept involves expensive suits, styled hair, smoking, big tips, American cars that are forty feet long, stylish mannerisms and digs, an excess of self confidence, dames (or, more commonly, "broads" or "mouses"), shades, a stride that has a bounce in it, and an air of unflappability. Think Las Vegas. Sinatra embodied it. You didn't have to be rich, though. Marlon Brando was cool in "The Wild One." Steve McQueen in "Bullet" was neo-cool.
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1/10
horrible writing, horrible acting
firma_ment29 August 2020
This was painful to watch. The dialog was cheesy and terrible. The acting was just as bad. The movie is full of Rat Pack-ers and their hangers-on, like Silva. Silva is awful. And that almost-lisp he has at times is extremely annoying. Elizabeth Montgomery is not very good either. She was extremely unbelievable in her role. And the horrible performance by Sammy Davis Jr. has to be seen to be believed! And your ears will be bleeding with pain after listening to Sammy's godawful bleating on the theme song. These guys thought they were so cool, and they were anything but. I'm surprised Frankie and Dean-O didn't show up for a couple cruddy cameos. Fail!
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5/10
cool cool cool
SnoopyStyle11 August 2020
Young Salvatore Giordano kills a Nazi soldier during the war. Exile gangster Johnny Colini grooms him, fakes his death, brings him to America, tasked with killing Colini's enemies, and told that he's the heir apparent. He takes the name Johnny Colini. Darien 'Dare' Guiness (Elizabeth Montgomery) notes that he's not Colini whose nickname is Johnny Cool (Henry Silva).

Everybody is trying to be cool and the fact is that most of these are cool actors. Now, Sammy may be trying too hard with the eye patch. That goes with the name. Johnny Cool is a cartoon name or it may be so on the nose that it becomes cool. I don't know. It's the karate chops. It's the jazzy music. It's the lackluster filmmaking. All of it leaves me feeling that it's fake cool. It runs out of steam and is no more than a B-movie.
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Muddled
dougdoepke17 February 2020
Johnny Muddled might be a more apt title. Too bad the script and direction fail to intensify the premise's rich potential. In fact, there's a ton of potential suspense in the idea of a hit-man taking out some big time gangsters, one-by-one. Unfortunately the narrative muddles the idea without crucially developing Johnny Cool's planning or lead up to the killings. Instead, events merely happen haphazardly, and at an audience distance. At the same time, director Asher fails to draw us in, passively filming the happenings instead. In my little book, the movie's best part are the legion of location shots of NYC, LA, and Las Vegas that lend an involving eye. In that limited sense, the movie's well produced. Also, actress Montgomery lends some much needed spark to the performances even as her role flounders in illogic. And though he has an exotic look about him, actor Silva more or less walks through his role. Maybe someone thought disengagement would be the essence of cool, but instead it adds to the emotional distance. All in all, I'm with the reviewer who thinks the script had to cobble additional players from Lawford's (producer) Las Vegas crowd into the clumsy end result. But whatever the reason, it's no wonder the flick has faded into rank obscurity; and that's despite the peripheral presence of so many familiar names and faces ( Backus, Lawrence, Cook, et al.) from yesteryear. I hope they at least picked up a good payday.
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