Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
Blast of Silence
An unforgettable experience in suspense! ... as seconds tick off a timetable ... for murder!
A hired killer from Cleveland has a job to do on a second-string mob boss in New York. But a special girl from his past, and a fat gun dealer with pet rats, each gets in his way.
Blast of Silence was suggested to me on my December Watchlist by Hooded Justice and even though I'm still coming down from the experience of the movie, I wanted to thank him for his recommendation and possibly pay it forward to anyone else looking for something new [to them] to watch this holiday season.
When I close my eyes all I can see are shadows cast on walls of rats and lurking men with hats and high collared coats. I'm typing this with my eyes closed now, savoring the the visual impressions this movie has left on me.
"Remembering out of the black silence, you were born in pain ... You were born with hate and anger built in, took…
This was Sin City before Frank Miller ever picked up a pencil. This film is a definitive noir masterpiece with the New York City setting being just as much a character in the movie as the colorful characters themselves. Drunks, mafia, New York, grit, jazz, night clubs, double cross. This has it all and does not let up. For being made in 1961, this movie will deliver in every violent/knockout way modern audiences expect from their crime dramas
A forgotten gem, brought back from the dead by Criterion, Allen Baron (director, writer and star) tells the tale of a Cleveland gun for hire, coming back to the Brooklyn of his youth for his latest job. At Christmas.
Blast of Silence is a different kind of noir, and not just because it came out in '61. The most importance difference is the stand-out voice over by Lionel Stander's trademark gravel. It's more like a voice inside Baron's head than anything else. A dark voice. And its' Brooklyn setting is very realistically portrayed, and filmed. Not to mention excellent. So, so bleak, though.
Only weakness in the story is when the self loathing hitman tries to form a bond with a female friend. It's unnecessary and adds nothing.
"When the Better Business Bureau rings the Christmas bell, the suckers forget there's such a business as murder, and businessmen who make it their exclusive line."
Frankie Bono comes back to the city of his birth to do a job. He's to kill a mid-level mobster named Troiano, a job he's more than willing to do once he builds up the requisite hate for his quarry. He sets about finding who he is, where he goes, what he does.
Now he's going to need a gun. He's set up with Ralphie, a gun dealer. Ralphie is creepy as hell and hard to work with. Frankie would much rather not have to deal with him, but he needs the gun and…
77 minutos de FURIA. Una de las mejores voces en off de la historia del cine. Padre espiritual de "Taxi Driver". Tan buena como, por desgracia, desconocida. Ahora que la has descubierto ya sabes lo que tienes que hacer.
God Bless Criterion for putting out this sparse, hard and mean little noir about a hit man, Frankie Buono, who comes to town to kill a low end NYC mobster. As he moves through 1959 NYC (which is downright amazing), we hear a narrator with a god-like connection to Frankie, telling us exactly what Frankie is feeling -- from his cold hands to his need to be alone at all times. This narrator is very poetic, in a hard-boiled way.
Meanwhile, we coldly watch Frankie as he tracks his victim. Along the way, he meets someone from his past that kind of screws his life up. Great movie.
Scorsese loved this flick when he was @ NYU, & its influence on TAXI DRIVER is obvious. Star/director Baron is a precursor to Travis Bickle; his physical resemblance to DeNiro is astonishing. Wall-to-wall narration by gravel-voiced Lionel Stander is overbearing, but then, that's the point. I'd have loved to lived in the Village in the early '60s. The lip-smacking location work here is the closest I'll get. 8/10
I was definitely way too tired to watch this at the hour that I did but none the less it was very interesting. I loved the guerrilla style shooting and the shots of Baron wondering around NYC make the film worth watching on it's own right. But yeah, I liked how dirty and gritty and noir-y this whole experience was. There's a lot that feels kinda cliche and also a lot that feels violently anti-Hollywood in terms of how dirty it was willing to go. The ending was perfectly nihilistic and horrible and while the voice-over initially annoyed me, once I got into it's patterns and rhythms, it became an essential part of the film. Yeah, there's a lot that doesn't really work but as a whole it's really fascinating and certainly worth a watch.
A hired killer from Cleveland has a job to do on a second-string mob boss in New York.
Excellent existentialist drama that utilizes the Noirish elements to extremes (e.g. most of the movie is narrated by the protagonist's hard-boiled voice-over).
Allen Baron's downbeat, melancholy 1961 noir was rescued from obscurity some years back by Criterion. Baron (who cast himself after Peter Falk dropped out to do MURDER INC instead) is a Cleveland hit man in NYC for a Christmas-time assignment to whack a mobster. The misanthropic second-person narration by an uncredited Lionel Stander is effective but takes some getting used to ("Remembering...out of the black silence...you were born in pain"). Baron catches some great NYC location shooting on the fly, as much of the film is simply his character walking around with Stander's gravelly narration supplying his thoughts and ruminations. The gritty look and incredibly pessimistic tone are the key selling points, and they do get the viewer through some occasionally tedious stretches.
A straightforward enough story (hitman hired to kill mobster), but it's so much more. Beautifully shot on location in New York City when it was on the wane.
Lionel Stander's narration was a stroke of genius.
Allen Baron went on to direct basically everthing on TV in the 70s.
"Remembering out of the black silence, you were born in pain."
Such a grim, sad, funny and strange film. A great example of how voiceover can be used as an enhancement instead of a crutch.
Hay personas que parecen nacidas para sufrir. Aunque hacen todo lo mejor que pueden, buscando de forma sistemática el modo óptimo de pasar por una vida que ni les recompensa ni reconoce, les falta esa pizca de suerte que todo el mundo necesita para ser feliz; arrojados en las alcantarillas de la existencia, derrotados antes de empezar, son traídos al mundo para conocer sólo de alaridos y del silencio. Las palabras y los susurros no están hechos para ellos.
O los narradores. «Blast of Silence» es un brillante ejercicio existencialista disfrazado de noir que, a través de un excepcional narrador en segunda persona —lo cual la emparenta, de un modo peculiar, con cierta clase de narrativa posmoderna—, nos desgrana la…
Criterion crime noir - alternative Christmas film.
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 190/768 (25%)…
UPDATED: May 18, 2015
The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company that sells "important classic and contemporary films" in…