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Blast of Silence


GordonCole
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Discussing noir always makes me think of films not so well known among the general public. Personally I find this film from 1961 a tasty noir goulash, which is not graced by anyone particularly famous, which adds to its credibility. Directed by Allen Baron it has memorable visuals and a relentlessly dark storyline and was definitely worth buying in its somewhat recent release. One of the only names barely well known in the crew was Waldo Salt, but I will say that the cinematographer, Merrill Brody does have the distinction of working with my favorite bad girl blonde in films, Beverly Aadland in the classic noir cult film, Cuban Rebel Girls from around 1959.

If you've not seen Blast of Silence, do so, and expand your noir horizons.

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Agreed. Its a real punch in the gut. I saw it on the big screen.

Although it starts out rather like a Charles Bronson flick, it doesn't look that way. And at the end, there's few starker climaxes to a film, that I can possibly name. Truly a lonely and miserable feeling as you leave the theater. The only weak portion of the flick failed to convince me, was somewhere in Act II.

The breakdown comes when the supposedly tough-as-nails world-class hitman fumbles his accidental reunion with the clean wholesome girl of his youth and essentially falls apart like a sniveling adolescent when she snubs him. He looks like he regresses all the way back to age 21. It doesn't seem realistic that this grown man, this cold, calculating, methodical assassin can't handle a minor romantic flub. I'm not saying the plot is bad, but that this little 'section' could stand some better writing.

But the rest of the film--every aspect of it--is so forceful that one quickly glides past this flaw. The emotional rhythm resumes and carries you on to the end. Its a crushing finale.  For a brief second you wonder how the protag could let himself wind up where he did....but I suppose here's where the preceding logic creates the bridge. You have to allow that this guy has been demolished by a 15-20 yr long heartache. It works, but just barely. Whatever isn't shored up, the grim photography supplies the lack.

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Excellent low low budget "Spillane-Hammeresque" noir shot on a shoestring (for about $30,000) using actual NYC locations, they got Lionel Stander to do the narration for a $1000 uncredited, director Allen Baron was going to use Peter Falk as the lead but he got a better offer so Baron used himself, lol. Nice soundtrack also. This is my NYC from my youth a trip down nostalgia lane it won an award in Munich recently.

It's one of the Christmas Noir's also. 

Now I wish we could see Terror In the City (1964) dir. Allen Baron's second feature film with Lee Grant playing a NYC hooker with a heart of gold who takes in and protects a runaway.

 

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Blast would be a great choice for Sunday Noir. (Strangers in the City, a grim film about a Puerto Rican family disintegrating in NYC, is close to being a companion piece.)

Two more worthy neo-noir movies that TCM should program:

Murder By Contract-Vince Edwards

Helllbound-John Russell (from the Lawman TV series)

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On 1/24/2019 at 5:31 PM, Sgt_Markoff said:

Agreed. Its a real punch in the gut. I saw it on the big screen.

Although it starts out rather like a Charles Bronson flick, it doesn't look that way. And at the end, there's few starker climaxes to a film, that I can possibly name. Truly a lonely and miserable feeling as you leave the theater. The only weak portion of the flick failed to convince me, was somewhere in Act II.

The breakdown comes when the supposedly tough-as-nails world-class hitman fumbles his accidental reunion with the clean wholesome girl of his youth and essentially falls apart like a sniveling adolescent when she snubs him. He looks like he regresses all the way back to age 21. It doesn't seem realistic that this grown man, this cold, calculating, methodical assassin can't handle a minor romantic flub. I'm not saying the plot is bad, but that this little 'section' could stand some better writing.

But the rest of the film--every aspect of it--is so forceful that one quickly glides past this flaw. The emotional rhythm resumes and carries you on to the end. Its a crushing finale.  For a brief second you wonder how the protag could let himself wind up where he did....but I suppose here's where the preceding logic creates the bridge. You have to allow that this guy has been demolished by a 15-20 yr long heartache. It works, but just barely. Whatever isn't shored up, the grim photography supplies the lack.

Ya know, the bigger they are, the harder they fall for a dame, Sgt. Markoff, just like that George Jones' classic, He Stopped Loving Her Today. Some men, like that guy called the Ice Man who was a hit man for the mob, was still a homebody with his wife and girls, who had no idea he was knocking off people daily. Really appreciate your first hand review of this film from a theatre setting though since I've only seen it on dvd.

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On 1/24/2019 at 5:59 PM, cigarjoe said:

Excellent low low budget "Spillane-Hammeresque" noir shot on a shoestring (for about $30,000) using actual NYC locations, they got Lionel Stander to do the narration for a $1000 uncredited, director Allen Baron was going to use Peter Falk as the lead but he got a better offer so Baron used himself, lol. Nice soundtrack also. This is my NYC from my youth a trip down nostalgia lane it won an award in Munich recently.

It's one of the Christmas Noir's also. 

Now I wish we could see Terror In the City (1964) dir. Allen Baron's second feature film with Lee Grant playing a NYC hooker with a heart of gold who takes in and protects a runaway.

 

Hey, thanx for your take on Blast of Silence and having never seen Terror in the City, now I hope to as I really dig Lee Grant in anything.

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16 hours ago, jameselliot said:

Blast would be a great choice for Sunday Noir. (Strangers in the City, a grim film about a Puerto Rican family disintegrating in NYC, is close to being a companion piece.)

Two more worthy neo-noir movies that TCM should program:

Murder By Contract-Vince Edwards

Helllbound-John Russell (from the Lawman TV series)

Dr. Ben Casey could be lethal before his medical degree came to fruition. Always dug John Russell from way back and he was one of the best western tv stars. Thanx.

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On 1/24/2019 at 3:01 PM, GordonCole said:

If you've not seen Blast of Silence, do so, and expand your noir horizons.

I would like to but I do not want to buy it. I do not think it is available online to rent.

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