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Other/Miscellaneous => Off-Topic Discussion => Topic started by: cigar joe on December 11, 2010, 04:30:55 PM

Title: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on December 11, 2010, 04:30:55 PM
OK since DJ got the ball rolling in the film noir thread and I'm currently reading "Survival... Zero! (1970)" and on top of that just watched "Marty (1955)" with Ernest Borgnine that has a pretty good/humorous reference to Hammer &  "I The Jury" near the end.

Lets try and list the best Mike Hammer Film, the best Mike hammer book, the Best Mike Hammer depiction in film, TV, radio, the best Velda, etc., etc. I know there were at least two TV show series one starring Darin McGavin in the 50's the other Stacey Keach in the mid 80's of which all I remember is the use of the great "Harlem Nocturne" for the theme. I didn't watch much TV between 1970-1980's



Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: titoli on December 12, 2010, 06:08:49 AM
Best novel? I like almost all the '50's one but also the early '60's like The Snake or Girl Hunters. Actaully the first I ever read, in italian, was The Twisted Thing and I was enthusiastic, especially because of the finale (almost all S.'s finales are memorable). It was published in 1966 but it had been written much before.  Best Hammer ever? Easy: Spillane himself. Best movie: rationally Kiss me Deadly, but if I had to take one on a desert island I'd take Girl Hunters, in spite of having been shot in London. Best Tv? I only have the Keach series and is a good series but it has little to do with Mike Hammer. I saw  the I, the Jury made in the 50's and is good but the MH there just can't be Hammer because of the rube  face (Hammer is like Spillane all rectangular). A pity. But I am curious about the Assante's version which seems to have been a great one but, unfortunately, I couldn't locate it anywhere.       
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: dave jenkins on December 12, 2010, 07:07:26 AM
I only have the Keach series and is a good series but it has little to do with Mike Hammer.
Very true.

I don't like the Aldrich film--the women are all wrong for their parts (with one exception, the doll hanging around Paul Stewart's pool). That's partly why I prefer the 50s I, the Jury (with Peggie Castle, hubba hubba) and also the one I watched yesterday, My Gun Is Quick (with its Top TV Talent). Those two also have plenty of action. I haven't seen the Assante film. Come to that, I haven't seen The Girl Hunters either. And I haven't read the books. Huh. I guess I don't know much about this subject. Checking out.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on December 12, 2010, 04:49:02 PM
Well, Assante's "I, the Jury" was the first Hammer film I ever saw so I do have a sentimental attachment to it, but after reading "I, the Jury" obviously to me now Assante doesn't quite fit the Hammer book persona, but I haven't seen it in quite a while though I do remember the part of Velda was played by a dish Laurene Landon though as a blond rather than a brunette or redhead.



(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/landon-11_large.jpg)



and it seemed to be shot in New York, same can be said for Ralph Meeker in Kiss Me Deadly he comes off a bit like slick tough beach bum type rather than Hammer-esque, but since the local was changed to California I can live with that incarnation/interpretation.

Though like DJ mentioned, none of the women in "Kiss Me Deadly" including Velda, save the doll hanging around Paul Stewart's pool are right. Now how could anyone who's read the books screw the broads up is beyond me, everyone of them should be drop dead gorgeous.

I've seen "The Girl Hunters" on TV quite a while ago and would like to revisit it also before I can rate it but you probably can't beat Spillane as Hammer as titoli states, and the women were definitely "hammer-tomically" correct .

I've seen "I, The Jury" (1953) with Biff Elliot in the role of Hammer and  Peggy Castel as Charlotte Manning and Tani Guthrie as Mary Bellamy were hot. Elliot on the other hand was a bit miscast

Of the novels all I've read are "I, the Jury" and "Survival Zero" both are good pulp novels.

Of the TV shows I've seen nada but the Mike Hammer TV Series (1956-59) starring Darren McGavin was shot in New York .

I'll watch "My Gun Is Quick" and add my thoughts.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: dave jenkins on December 13, 2010, 10:41:13 AM
Quote
"hammer-tomically" correct .
;D Thanks for that, CJ. I'll certainly keep it around for later use.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on December 13, 2010, 05:51:30 PM
Just re-watched "The Narrow Margin" with the commentary track and have come to realize that Charles McGraw would probably have been the quintessential Mike Hammer  O0
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: titoli on December 14, 2010, 03:31:55 AM
Actually the Assante movie is available at Amazon on vhs or VOD.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on December 14, 2010, 05:54:38 AM
DJ prodded me into watching "My Gun Is Quick" (1957) so I did last night off Netflix. Robert Bray puts in a passable portrayal as Mike Hammer he's Hammer-esgue but again here is a case where the action is moved to California and the talent to make an acceptable Noir-ish stylized Mike Hammer film is noticeably lacking, it looks made on the cheap, it plays like a TV film and is nowhere near Aldrich's film noir masterpiece.  The broads Whitney Blake, Patricia Donahue, Pamela Duncan, prostitute Jan Chaney, and stripper Genie Coree  are again "hammer-tommically" correct but again as in both "I The Jury" (1953),  and "Kiss Me Deadly" (1955) the slightly gratuitous sexuality which should be a touchstone in any Mike Hammer based film is PG-13 if even that.  To put it bluntly the hammer babes (save for Velda) peal for Mike at every opportunity.

Another big faux pas in hammer-city is where the fuck is the Colt .45 automatic ????, Bray runs around with what looks like a .38 special a popgun in comparison, come on right from the get-go with the scene in the lunch counter you know its gonna be off.

Now to understand where I'm coming from I just got done watching "The Narrow Margin" twice once with the commentary track and its a very good commentary track, bty, and the current TCM miniseries "Moguls and Movie Stars" about the birth and death of the Hollywood studio system, and it informs you about why we are where we are today with films.

Here are my thoughts, Spillane wrote Mike Hammer starting with the first 1947 novel "I, the Jury" as a traditional Pulp/Noir Detective but he pushed the bubble with the lid off/over the top sexuality of the women going 20 years ahead of his time, films wouldn't be that explicit enough to do Hammer justice until the late 1960's, but by then the ability to do stylized noir with its stable of character actors  is gone, its like two ships passing in the night.

I believe that Assante's "I, The Jury" (1982) did do the graphic violence, nudity & sex right but it was set in a more contemporary setting basically the 1980's or mid to late 1970's and substitutes Vietnam for Korea, I've also read that it uses some of plot from Spillane's 1967 book "The Body Lovers" but I've never read that novel and haven't seen the film for ages so I'll refrain from commenting further .

I think our only hope may be something on the lines of an adult R rated "Sin City" type stylized Noir based on Mike Hammer.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: titoli on December 29, 2010, 01:31:44 PM
For me this should be included in the list. At number one.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQZocUjWZUo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaGbuoMlIvE&feature=related
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on January 01, 2011, 05:22:18 PM
nice find O0
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: titoli on January 01, 2011, 06:35:48 PM
nice find O0

Don't tell me you never saw it before! :o
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on January 01, 2011, 07:16:39 PM
Don't tell me you never saw it before! :o

May Have but forgotten about it.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on February 14, 2011, 05:43:19 PM
The Girl Hunters (1963) OK thanks to titoli I now own a copy of this. Did a re-watch of the film yesterday and today. Its got some positives & negatives.

Positive:

Lots of New York City establishing & location shots, this was "my" city, the 1963 NY I remember as a kid the police black white & olive green squad cars (BTW they changed to todays white & blue color scheme during 1973-74), the yellow cabs, the store fronts. Mike Hammer in his correct environment.

Shirley Eaton, "hammertomically" correct in every way, she is the femme fatale of the piece and a knockout. For those of you not familiar with the name she later became the iconic girl in gold in the James Bond flick "Gold Finger". She also has a memorable final denouement.

Loyd Nolan makes a nice supporting appearance.

Negative:

Not really filmed in the Noir style, "Kiss Me Deadly" nails this aspect beautifully.

Mickey Splillane plays Hammer, now if he was a better actor it may have been better, he looks a bit ridiculous in the pork-pie hat. I still say Charles McGraw, or Broderick Crawford would have been ideal.

No Velma.

Could have used more of everything its a bit too sparse as it is, more interesting interiors, transitions, shots, lighting, camera angles, more time with bit part characters, again see "Kiss Me Deadly" as a comparison.

Score is a bit way too one note and somewhat overpowering where it is used. I prefer "Harlem Nocturne" which was used as the main theme in the Keach TV Hammer series.

And what is with this fetish with bullets, and linking crimes with bullets fired by the same gun, this and "I, The Jury" use this device and you got to think to yourself that any criminal with a brain is going to get rid of the murder weapon and not conveniently keep reusing the same gun over and over.

Not enough sex & graphic violence, again the books were ahead of the films in this department.

6.5/10





Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: titoli on February 15, 2011, 12:53:57 AM
The Girl Hunters (1963)
Positive:

Lots of New York City establishing & location shots, this was "my" city, the 1963 NY I remember as a kid the police black white & olive green squad cars (BTW they changed to todays white & blue color scheme during 1973-74), the yellow cabs, the store fronts. Mike Hammer in his correct environment.

Until now I thought this was almost entirely shot in England, like Eyes Wide Shut...
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on February 15, 2011, 06:16:40 AM
Until now I thought this was almost entirely shot in England, like Eyes Wide Shut...

I'm sure most of it is, but all those shots of him walking around in trench coat are NYC establishing shots.

I'll do a quick run down:

Right after the Directed By credit we see the Time Life Building in the center screen with 7th Avenue looking North to Times Square traffic heading South the the NYPD car is a correct Dodge Polara. The very next scene is England the cops finding him in the alley one cop has an English accent the car is a Dodge but a Desoto with wings on the back a different car.

Hammer leaving the Hospital, looks like NYC streets, street lights, don't walk signs, wire trash baskets, the cars in the traffic, the taxi, the walk through the building is hard to say but as soon as he's out on the street again it looks like NYC curb & water hydrant, again a Chevy Impala (Bennie from Alfredo Garcia's Car) drive by as he looks at the newspaper stand. Now that newsstand sequence with Duck-Duck he sounds English. As soon as he leaves the stand you see NYC traffic, a corner Fire or Police call box on a pole a No Standing sign, then it cuts to a brownstone building, bluestone sidewalk street with a Ford panel van parked at the curb.

Next segment is him coming up out of the Subway the, The IRT Subway (To Queensboro The Broxn and Brooklyn Trains)- 8th Avenue Subway (uptown) & Walk-Do Not Run use handrails signs, the bare light bulbs above the stairway, The Herald Tribune office.

here is the same shot from Life mag looking in the opposite direction with the Tribune sign & subway entrance.

http://http://images.google.com/hosted/life/l?imgurl=68f049f345759084&q=New%20York%20herald%20tribune%20office%20images&prev=/images%3Fq%3DNew%2BYork%2Bherald%2Btribune%2Boffice%2Bimages%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26sa%3DN%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26channel%3Ds%26biw%3D1358%26bih%3D569%26tbs%3Disch:1 (http://images.google.com/hosted/life/l?imgurl=68f049f345759084&q=New%20York%20herald%20tribune%20office%20images&prev=/images%3Fq%3DNew%2BYork%2Bherald%2Btribune%2Boffice%2Bimages%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26sa%3DN%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26channel%3Ds%26biw%3D1358%26bih%3D569%26tbs%3Disch:1)

Soon as he leaves the Tribune office you see the Empire State Building in the background as he drives into the Mid Town Tunnel towards Long Island. Then I think we are back in England.

After Hammer is beaten up in office he finds the dead doorman and goes outside to hail a cab that little segment is NYC then in the cab probably England with the cabbie, then getting out of said cab you see a wire trash basket again with a Did you risk a $25 fine today DO NOT LITTER sign. Then a Worth Street Restaurant in the bg. down below Canal St. NYC. Joe Grissi Bar Grill is probably a fake sign.

That bar interior sequence probably England, the shot fired in alley England, BTW NYC has practically no wooden fences the bums would steal all the wood, lol, chain link and wrought iron are NYC fence material.

Later a shot of the 4th precinct Police station looks like the 1st stood in:

(http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1348/1183314892_3c455d81ca_o.jpg)

later Hotel Elysee

(http://img.venere.com/img/hotel/5/4/3/2/242345/image_hotel_exterior_entrance_1.jpg)

its Monkey Bar are real NYC places

(http://editor.spire.com/images/Monkey-Bar-Restaurant-New-York-City.jpg)

Skyline shots of NYC are real

The end credits showing a cruise ship docked along the Hudson is period NYC.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: titoli on February 15, 2011, 10:59:20 AM
Thanx for the infos. I hadn't realized there was that much of real NY- Of course I had presumed that the real NYC was to be seen only with Spillane alone in the shot. Still, I thought it was less than that. About the pork-pie hat, well, I like Spillane with that on. And what it doesn't work with him is the voice: not the bass voice you'd expect from Hammer. And still, I can't imagine another actor pronouncing as effectively those frightening last words.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: titoli on February 16, 2011, 03:07:28 AM
I can't imagine how you can come up with Broderick Crawford as Hammer: Hammer with a paunch?! And it has no rotund face (like the rube who played him in I, the Jury). His is an angular face: Spillane's is the model.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on February 16, 2011, 04:24:31 AM
Broderick more for his demeanor and delivery, but you are right about the paunch, as for modern day actors who could pull him off maybe Willis, Masden, Rourke.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: titoli on February 16, 2011, 08:15:52 AM
Broderick more for his demeanor and delivery, but you are right about the paunch, as for modern day actors who could pull him off maybe Willis, Masden, Rourke.

Willis, of the three: though I don't know whether there's not a better choice around. And then, I don't know who Masden is, but if you mean this one,

(http://imstars.aufeminin.com/stars/fan/james-marsden/james-marsden-20080206-372853.jpg)




 then I don't understand how you can come up with Crawford.

 
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on February 16, 2011, 07:41:27 PM
no Madsen must have dyslexia  ;)

This guy:

http://cdn.screenrant.com/wp-content/uploads/michael-madsen-vic-vega.jpg  (http://cdn.screenrant.com/wp-content/uploads/michael-madsen-vic-vega.jpg)
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: titoli on February 16, 2011, 11:54:24 PM
Oh yeah, that figures...And still I pick Spillane, once again.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on February 17, 2011, 04:48:55 AM
Like you said though Spillane's voice doesn't work and he's a bit too short for me.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: titoli on March 28, 2011, 11:18:22 AM
I, The Jury (1982) I just can't understand how Max Allan Collins can be enthusiastic about this. The reviews at IMDB are rather more spot on. Assante as Hammer? Give me a break. This is a good action flick with a couple of good car chases and another couple of good action scenes. Some good use of squibs, Barbara Carrera at her sultriest and lots of pretty girls. But where is Mike Hammer's NYC? Where is Mike Hammer's night? Where is the dirt, the sleaze, the hidden part of the city? I insist that, with all his faults, Girl Hunters is the only movie which gives a hint of what is to be found in the books. The score by Bill Conti is very good. 7\10 
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on March 28, 2011, 02:52:22 PM
I, The Jury (1982) I just can't understand how Max Allan Collins can be enthusiastic about this. The reviews at IMDB are rather more spot on. Assante as Hammer? Give me a break. This is a good action flick with a couple of good car chases and another couple of good action scenes. Some good use of squibs, Barbara Carrera at her sultriest and lots of pretty girls. But where is Mike Hammer's NYC? Where is Mike Hammer's night? Where is the dirt, the sleaze, the hidden part of the city? I insist that, with all his faults, Girl Hunters is the only movie which gives a hint of what is to be found in the books. The score by Bill Conti is very good. 7\10  

Agreed, from what I remember of it sounds about right. Too bad. It must have been shot in downtown LA.

Spillane and Hammer came along just at the wrong time, right at the end of true Noir and too early for the down and dirty sexuality of the 70's, so the films based on him were invariably missing either 50's Noir or they have it and lack the over the top sleazy sexuality.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: titoli on March 28, 2011, 10:52:29 PM
Spillane and Hammer came along just at the wrong time, right at the end of true Noir

I, The Jury  is 1947. No end of noir then.  I don't know what went wrong with movie rights but probably there was mismanagement there.
The Assante movie was shot in a sunny NYC.

Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on March 29, 2011, 12:34:30 PM
I, The Jury  is 1947. No end of noir then.  I don't know what went wrong with movie rights but probably there was mismanagement there.
The Assante movie was shot in a sunny NYC.



No, not the first one or Kiss Me Deadly, but all the rest after the end of true noir, glad to hear the Assante film was shot in NY, I don't remember it that well except for it being set in the wrong time period.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: titoli on March 29, 2011, 02:50:05 PM
No, not the first one or Kiss Me Deadly, but all the rest after the end of true noir,

You're not a Hammer scholar or fan: :'(

# 1947 I, the Jury - Mike Hammer
# 1950 My Gun Is Quick - Mike Hammer
# 1950 Vengeance Is Mine! - Mike Hammer
# 1951 The Big Kill - Mike Hammer
# 1951 The Long Wait
# 1951 One Lonely Night - Mike Hammer
# 1952 Kiss Me, Deadly - Mike Hammer

Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on March 30, 2011, 03:17:18 AM
You're not a Hammer scholar or fan: :'(

# 1947 I, the Jury - Mike Hammer
# 1950 My Gun Is Quick - Mike Hammer
# 1950 Vengeance Is Mine! - Mike Hammer
# 1951 The Big Kill - Mike Hammer
# 1951 The Long Wait
# 1951 One Lonely Night - Mike Hammer
# 1952 Kiss Me, Deadly - Mike Hammer



Not the books I'm talking about, the films  ;), most of them were made after the end of what I would consider noir, "My gun Is Quick" with its California Boats & Beach house setting feel is sort of on the cusp, and  those establishing shots in "The Girl Hunters" don't balance with those English cop accents. Granted I haven't read extensively in crime/detective fiction but of what little I have read of Spillane he seems to have way more descriptive sex than his predecessors. But I could be wrong, you may know better than I.

Films:

    * I, the Jury (United Artists, 1953) noir
  
    * Kiss Me Deadly (United Artists, 1955) noir
  
    * My Gun Is Quick (United Artists, 1957) just the initial opening lunch counter sequence, then no.

    * The Girl Hunters (Colorama Features, 1963)

    * Margin For Murder (TV movie, 1981)
  
    * I, the Jury (20th Century Fox, 1982)
    
    * Come Die With Me (Fox, 1994)

  
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: titoli on March 30, 2011, 05:57:36 AM
Exactly what I mean: movies started being made only after Spillane had temporarily given up writing. Why weren't they made before?
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on March 30, 2011, 03:17:21 PM
Exactly what I mean: movies started being made only after Spillane had temporarily given up writing. Why weren't they made before?

I'm thinking they couldn't do them justice at the time and when things got looser when you do it, it was past the studio period noirs and well into the late 1960's early 70's.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: titoli on March 31, 2011, 12:21:51 AM
I think a treatment like Sin City's might be in order.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: titoli on April 02, 2011, 05:50:12 PM
The Bill Conti's theme for the Assante's movie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOM-dnTnILo
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on April 02, 2011, 07:52:32 PM
The Bill Conti's theme for the Assante's movie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOM-dnTnILo

Nice opening credits.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on April 14, 2011, 07:55:29 AM
I like this slightly over the top interpretation of Mike Hammer, especially after viewing all the previous watered down versions.  O0 O0 O0

I, The Jury (1982)

Directed by  Richard T. Heffron, starring Armand Assante, as Mike Hammer, Barbara Carreram as Dr. Charlotte Bennett, Laurene Landon as Velda, Alan King as Charles Kalecki,  Geoffrey Lewis as Joe Buttler, and Paul Sorvino as Det. Pat  Chambers.

I first saw this probably sometime in the late 80’s once, had nothing to compare it to, and barely remembered it so it was a delight to get to view this the other day, especially since I‘ve recently been revisiting Spillane and the films based on his novels.

It took 30 some odd years for a film to really do full justice to the zeitgeist of a Mickey Spillane novel. The best looking and true  Noir adaptation is still “Kiss Me Deadly” (1955) with Ralph Meeker, Jack Elam, Strother Martin, Jack Lambert, Gabby Rogers, and Cloris Leachman, but it was hampered by being made while the Hays Code was still in effect. The original “I, The Jury” (1953) was DOA having non presence Biff Eliot in the title role, but at least the babes were “hammertomically” correct , “My Gun is Quick” (1957) starring Robert Bray as had the right caliber of women, but had the action not in NYC, but in some seaside resort and Hammer was running around with a pop gun not his trademark .45 Colt Automatic. “The Girl Hunters” (1963) had Spillane in the title role, but he was no actor, and aside from the establishing shots of NYC , the film was shot in England. At least it had the babes.

But WOW!, right from the opening credits of I, The Jury (1982) you know you are in Mike Hammer land with the emphasis on women and the Colt .45 automatic, Broads & Bullets, Girls and Guns (both kinds).  I’m sure graphic novelist Frank Miller (Sin City) had to have seen this graphic opening sequence in three colors black, white, and red, and was influenced by it. If not, it predates that style by 10 years.

This version has Hammer’s office located above Times Square, set in the post Vietnam 80’s. Hammer is a sleazy detective working divorce cases. We first see him pulling a dead fish out of his tank and holding it while talking to another fish/client, who is worried about his wife cheating on him. Hammer asks to see her picture notices that she is beautiful, then tells the client that he’s in trouble. Next shot has Hammer screwing the clients wife while fielding a call from him, the conversation is humorous along the lines of , “yea I’m right on top of her”, and “yea, don’t worry, I’m very familiar with all her moves”.

Hammer’s one armed war buddy Jack takes a slug in the guts and dies crawling across his living room, notified of his death Hammer (like a licensed rogue cop with full access to NYPD info) acts like bull in a china shop and the action (along with the catchy and wonderfully complementary score) never quits… that is unless a broad drifts into range, and a bevy of lovelies do so.

In this version Velda who in the novels was also a licensed detective holds her own doing double duty as a competent secretary/associate, and quasi love interest, she shows flashes of jealousy when Mike returns to the office disheveled and bruised from his  escapades.

All the actors put in decent performances, I just wish Geoffrey Lewis had a bigger part, my only quibble.

What’s not to like.

Barely Neo Noir if that. The one noir lit sequence that I do rememner was when Hammer goes to pay respects to Jack's wife. Most of the film is too brightly lit.

No first person narrative.

And well, this version deviates a bit from the novel, i.e., using a surrogate serial killer in place of Kaleki’s henchman to the detriment of the novel‘s excellent Bellamy Twins sequences, the substitution of the sex clinic for the whorehouse, and bringing an ex-CIA paranoid operative “house as fortress” character into the story.

Armand Assante as Hammer hews closer to the Ralph Meeker look than what you picture Mike Hammer should look like (for me that would have been the great Charles McGraw), but he has the machismo and misogynistic qualities right, lol .

The cinematography is adequate, very pedestrian, nothing stylistic.

Setting the story in the post Vietnam 1980’s takes away the dirtier, grittier, sleazier, New York of the late Forties to early Sixties. There’s no street level connection to the Burlesque Joints, XXX Movie Theaters, The “Live Nude Girl” Peep Shows, the Arcades, the newspaper stands, the street vendors, the con games, the Dime A Dance Ballrooms, the bums, the panhandlers, the hookers, etc., etc.,  New York was starting to loosing that real ambiance, too bad. I remember The 42nd St. Times Square area ridden with the above in 1970, and by the time I returned in 1996 it had changed to Disneyland. Minor quibbles.

Still excellent film 8.5/10,some funny bits, almost the perfect Hammer with an excellent score.

The only way to improve would be a Sin City type treatment keeping the machismo and misogynistic qualities this film has with the dirtier, grittier, sleazier, New York of the late Forties to early Sixties.
   
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on April 15, 2011, 07:54:04 PM
Some screencaps from I, the Jury, it could sure use a nice new pristine release;

Establishing shot Times Square, notice the twin mercury vapor lamps in the center of the shot these replaced the incandescent bishop crook lamps in the sixties, instead of a warm yellowish glow, the main avenues of NYC were more brightly lit. About this time I also remember all the bare incandescent light bulbs in the subways being replaced by florescent strip lighting, we definitely lost a lot of gritty ambiance when this change took place
(http://img832.imageshack.us/img832/2018/48050287.jpg)

here is a Times Square shot circa late 1940's note the bishop's crook lamps

(http://img820.imageshack.us/img820/5584/bishopcrook.jpg)

back to the film

Hammers Office looking down on Pussycat & Kitty Cat Theaters:
(http://img826.imageshack.us/img826/1153/hammeroffice.jpg)

FYI The Pussycat was located on the SW corner of 49th Street and Broadway making Hammer's Office a corner office on the NE corner of 49th Street & Broadway below are better images of Pussycat & Kitty Cat notice Topless Sign in film reads Mardi Gras in picture. Today all of the buildings on all 4 corners have been replaced.

this one at ground level from in front of Hammer's building
(http://img840.imageshack.us/img840/6702/kittycg.jpg)

and this one at ground level at "Jack Dempsey" corner NW corner of 49th & Broadway
(http://img193.imageshack.us/img193/6231/catbd.jpg)

First introductory shot of Hammer & his office fish tank
(http://img691.imageshack.us/img691/7449/hammerfish.jpg)

Two fish the dead one and the client whose wife is fooling around.
(http://img860.imageshack.us/img860/8313/hammersecondfish.jpg)

Hammer looking at client's wife picture. "Oh yea you got a problem"
(http://img251.imageshack.us/img251/6945/reintrouble.jpg)

"I'm right on top of it", "I know all her moves."
(http://img215.imageshack.us/img215/7864/mrightontopofit.jpg)

Velda a blond in this version.
(http://img801.imageshack.us/img801/9998/velda.jpg)

Velda & Colt 45 Auto
(http://img849.imageshack.us/img849/8692/velda1.jpg)

Velda in action
(http://img858.imageshack.us/img858/4196/velda2.jpg)

To be continued.......


Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on April 16, 2011, 04:09:47 PM
More screen caps. . .

Paul Sorvino as Det. Pat Chambers

(http://img197.imageshack.us/img197/8580/paulsorvino.jpg)

The most noir-ish sequence is when Assante goes to console Jacks creepy wife and she comes on to him.

(http://img816.imageshack.us/img816/1896/noirestsequence.jpg)

Hammers first confrontation with the Dr. Charlotte Bennett (Barbara Carrera)

(http://img38.imageshack.us/img38/774/confrontation.jpg)

The Bellamy twins at Bennett's Sex Clinic

(http://img35.imageshack.us/img35/6625/bellamytwins.jpg)

Geoffrey Lewis at his Bear Mountain/Husdon Highlands hideaway

(http://img546.imageshack.us/img546/825/geoffreylewis.jpg)

Dr. Charlotte Bennett with her hair down at her Manhattan town house.

(http://img683.imageshack.us/img683/9029/drhdb.jpg)

Bennett in her bedroom lair

(http://img846.imageshack.us/img846/4606/drinherlair.jpg)

Bennett with her pants down.

(http://img641.imageshack.us/img641/9520/drwithherpantsdown.jpg)

Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on April 17, 2011, 04:55:41 AM
Thinking about "I, the Jury", the various interpretation's of  Mike Hammer and Phillip Marlowe, and the various Noirs that I've watched in the last couple of months, I think a good all encompassing term for what is missing in the modern adaptations 1981's Margin For Murder, 1982's "I, The Jury" and Garner's "Marlowe" (1969) is, (to paraphrase a term Leone used in relation to Zapata Westerns) "The Romance of the Fedora". It's not that the characters specifically have to wear fedoras (Kiss Me Deadly) but when you take out enough of the Noir archetypes you don't get the correct feel any longer.

Margin For Murder (1981) TV movie directed by Daniel Haller, with Kevin Dobson as Mike Hammer, Charles Hallahan as Pat Chambers. Cindy Pickett as Velda, and New York City.

I'll give this one credit for being almost completely shot in the grittier neighborhoods of New York City, and it has plenty of night shots, decrepit building interiors, and to boot, Hammer actually wears a fedora in a couple of sequences, bravo, better in those areas than Assante's film which seemed a bit too antiseptic, in that respect. But again we are hampered by being in the contemporary modern era with a discotheque and its music and all the visions of "Saturday Night Fever" that that, conjures up. Dodson at least plays Hammer as tough as Assante, and the babes are again "hammertomically" correct.

Velda is more of a plain Jane secretary in this one not as pro-active as Laurene Landon in "I, The Jury" (1982). More fisticuffs than bullets flying in this Hammer version, don't think its based on any particular novel, this one also has a sidebar story of Hammer & Velda trying to find a home for stray puppies. Again as in "I, The Jury" there seems to be a penchant for making Spillane's stories into over blow conspiracy stories, trying to go for more spectacle, don't know if this was the trend in most of Spillane's stories or not, the only two I've read seemed simpler tales.

Not as much graphic violence and no nudity (its a TV film after all)as next years "I, The Jury" would have also the Nelson Riddle score pales in comparison to Bill Conti's for the 1982 film. 7/10
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: titoli on November 30, 2011, 06:40:43 PM
Released a few months ago.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51lH3OoTpeL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on November 30, 2011, 07:02:09 PM
Released a few months ago.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51lH3OoTpeL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Yes dj was telling me about them on the OUTIA location tour, he said they weren't bad, but the 22 minute run time for each episode streamlines the stories quite a bit.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on January 26, 2012, 08:48:44 PM
Murder Me Murder You (1983) TV Director: Gary Nelson, With Stacy Keach, Tanya Roberts, Delta Burke and Don Stroud, nice New York location work and they shot in the winter with lingering piles of snow, on the streets and icing the buildings, but once again Hammer is depicted out of his time period, Keach is adequate as Mike Hammer and Tanya Roberts as Velda is once again hammertomically correct, some of the supporting cast are interesting but the disco era is all wrong.

(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/MurderMeMurderYou.jpg)

When the fuck are they going to do Mike Hammer correctly in the 1950's, where he belongs, its not rocket science. At least Keach is wearing a fedora.

This film has a lot, actually, let me be more precise TOO MANY big hairdo big breasted Amazon chicks that the effect is incredibly watered down they all blend into one another and their effect is WASTED. Its get to the point that there are no average women around to "stack" them up against, there is even a mud wrestling sequence, but being a TV film they are wearing bikinis. Who the fuck did the casting on this The Playboy Club?

I think I'll have to check out the Darren McGavin version next.

Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: titoli on January 26, 2012, 08:58:02 PM
I think I wrote about this and the dvd twin companion (More Than Murder) but of course can't find where.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: titoli on March 13, 2012, 03:24:54 PM


Margin For Murder (1981) TV movie directed by Daniel Haller, with Kevin Dobson as Mike Hammer, Charles Hallahan as Pat Chambers. Cindy Pickett as Velda, and New York City.

I'll give this one credit for being almost completely shot in the grittier neighborhoods of New York City, and it has plenty of night shots, decrepit building interiors, and to boot, Hammer actually wears a fedora in a couple of sequences, bravo, better in those areas than Assante's film which seemed a bit too antiseptic, in that respect. But again we are hampered by being in the contemporary modern era with a discotheque and its music and all the visions of "Saturday Night Fever" that that, conjures up. Dodson at least plays Hammer as tough as Assante, and the babes are again "hammertomically" correct.

Velda is more of a plain Jane secretary in this one not as pro-active as Laurene Landon in "I, The Jury" (1982). More fisticuffs than bullets flying in this Hammer version, don't think its based on any particular novel, this one also has a sidebar story of Hammer & Velda trying to find a home for stray puppies. Again as in "I, The Jury" there seems to be a penchant for making Spillane's stories into over blow conspiracy stories, trying to go for more spectacle, don't know if this was the trend in most of Spillane's stories or not, the only two I've read seemed simpler tales.

Not as much graphic violence and no nudity (its a TV film after all)as next years "I, The Jury" would have also the Nelson Riddle score pales in comparison to Bill Conti's for the 1982 film. 7/10

There are some good points in this review but Joe, the problem is: where is Mike Hammer? I don't think that the modernization can hamper the Spillane's character. The problem is the the modernization of locales is accompanied by a watered down of the grittiest, meanest aspects of Hammer's personality. See, f.e., the way he disposes of the three bodyguards: it is not as violent, sadistic as it should be.   
Now, Dobson is a good Hammer (though not a good actor): but he persuaded me all the more  that James Caan would have been a perfect candidate for the role in that same year. He just doesn't inspire fear like Hammer should.
Then, as pointed out by Max Allan Collins, in this I, the Jury clone an element which is missing is the personal relationship of Hammer to the victim (which is well represented instead in the Assante movie). So we can't SEE why Hammer is taking all that trouble.
This movie was made for tv and earned a lot of critical appraise: included in the best 10 tv movies of the year. But the problem is that you can't make a good Mike Hammer movie for TV. So it earns your 7\10. But it is not my Mike Hammer movie.

In my opinion, the only true Hammer moment in all the movies I have seen so far that can be considered as strong as the Hammer of the novels is the finale  of The Girl Hunters.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on March 13, 2012, 03:44:04 PM
None of them have got it 100% right yet agreed too bad Spillane wasn't much of an actor.

PS I was in Newburgh, NY the other day and took a bunch of images of Jack Strange's town (or what's left of it) supposedly he was the original basis of the character Mike Hammer.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: titoli on May 05, 2012, 04:15:41 PM
Yes dj was telling me about them on the OUTIA location tour, he said they weren't bad, but the 22 minute run time for each episode streamlines the stories quite a bit.
Most of (or all?) episodes posted at youtube.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on May 06, 2012, 03:31:29 AM
Most of (or all?) episodes posted at youtube.

I'll check them out, thanks.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on September 16, 2012, 06:59:29 PM
Fun Article

http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/58/58kissmedeadly.php
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on October 21, 2012, 01:58:52 PM
WARNER BROS. TO RESURRECT NOIR HERO MIKE HAMMER http://screencrush.com/warner-bros-to-resurrect-noir-hero-mike-hammer/ (http://screencrush.com/warner-bros-to-resurrect-noir-hero-mike-hammer/)
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on December 26, 2012, 09:32:13 PM
Yes dj was telling me about them on the OUTIA location tour, he said they weren't bad, but the 22 minute run time for each episode streamlines the stories quite a bit.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51lH3OoTpeL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Picked up this box set for 1/2 price at Barnes & Nobel enjoying the shit out of them, surprisingly well made with great sets and lots of NYC location establishing shots  O0 O0 O0
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: Senza on March 15, 2013, 12:19:43 AM
When I think of noir, I think of The New Mike Hammer, which they put on TV late at night, here in Australia.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on March 16, 2013, 03:25:24 AM
When I think of noir, I think of The New Mike Hammer, which they put on TV late at night, here in Australia.

Which one? the Stacey Keach version?
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: Senza on March 16, 2013, 03:50:23 AM
Yep.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: Senza on March 16, 2013, 03:51:37 AM
I'm not sure if it's because of the moustache, or the fact that he is a private investigator, but he reminds a lot of Tom Selleck as Magnum, which is probably my 2nd favourite TV show.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: titoli on August 06, 2013, 11:14:16 AM
The Long Wait (1954) This is no Hammer and no NYC but is 50's Spillane, it has Anthony Quinn and Charles Coburn and for the first 3\4 it is very good. The plot hangs on a spit but the single scenes are good because of Quinn. He is  simply perfect but he doesn't look like a Spillane's character, with his Indio traits. Still he makes every scene worth watching. The females, with one exception, are barely over the low average of those in  Kiss Me Deadly. The scene with Quinn tied to a chair will make CJ happy: photographed in as noir style  as can be. The score is by the immigrant italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: it seems he was the one who taught the other american film composers who came on the scene from the 40's on.  Anyway I think this earns a 8\10 and probably is also worth a dvd release. 
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on August 06, 2013, 05:31:49 PM
The Long Wait (1954) This is no Hammer and no NYC but is 50's Spillane, it has Anthony Quinn and Charles Coburn and for the first 3\4 it is very good. The plot hangs on a spit but the single scenes are good because of Quinn. He is  simply perfect but he doesn't look like a Spillane's character, with his Indio traits. Still he makes every scene worth watching. The females, with one exception, are barely over the low average of those in  Kiss Me Deadly. The scene with Quinn tied to a chair will make CJ happy: photographed in as noir style  as can be. The score is by the immigrant italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: it seems he was the one who taught the other american film composers who came on the scene from the 40's on.  Anyway I think this earns a 8\10 and probably is also worth a dvd release.  

Nice to hear.

Almost done with Mike Hammer (79 episodes, 1958-1959) starring Darren McGavin as a pretty confrontational though tongue-in-cheek Hammer, quick with his fists and his gun. I have about a disc & a half left to go. As with any series there are ups and downs. There were two back to back outstanding ones I watched the other night "Doll Trouble" and "I Remember Sally".

(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/darren3_zps3ba520b7.jpg)

The negatives:

The positives:

As soon as I finish the series I'll probably re-watch them and rate them individually.[/list]
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: titoli on August 07, 2013, 07:37:04 AM
My Gun Is Quick (1957) Reminded me of Kiss Me Deadly. Shot in SF I guess. Bray is a very good Hammer (though his face is too lean) and he offers a very typical spillanesque scene when he mistreats the little barman. But I can't put up with the California locales. It is like bringing Marlowe in NYC. The females are of the low order: worst-looking Velma ever, though the female lead is 7\10, like trhe movie.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: titoli on August 07, 2013, 07:47:29 AM
Here's the movie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAiued1AWzw
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: cigar joe on September 03, 2013, 08:12:16 PM
Mike Hammer (79 episodes, 1958-1959)

Quote
A minor irritation, every time Hammer hails a cab it looks like the same one (a tail fin Dodge or Plymouth) and WTF its never an A8 Checker, lol, I'd say 9/10 times if you hailed a cab in the late 1950's it would have been a Checker

I take that back, watched a film from late 50's that had a street shot of NYC almost all the cabs were Dodges or Plymouth's with tail fins.
Title: Re: Best Mike Hammer
Post by: T.H. on October 05, 2013, 12:00:34 PM
My Gun is Quick (1957)

TV crap. Boring, draggy, plodding, visually dull. The cast was decent - though Robert Bray is a TV actor if there ever was one - but everything else falls flat. The "action" scenes are incredibly dull, this might have one of the most boring car chases of all time. After reading Spillane's first two novels and watching this dreck, I definitely consider myself a Kiss Me Deadly fan more than a Hammer/Spillane admirer. This adaption is built on the worst of the two novels - with the preachy dialogue and general hokiness but doesn't contain any of the rawness.

I'm a little hesitant to watch I, the Jury (1953) now. On a side note, saw a good chunk of the '82 adaptation a while back and thought it was mediocre at best.

5/10. Bad.