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…
Holy hardboiled heaven. What a singular and idiosyncratic masterpiece. Raw and uncompromising guerrilla independent filmmaking at its finest. The second-person voice over narration is absolutely brilliant (as hard as I am right not to try to find another example of this, I can only think of Von Trier's Europa). The street shots of NYC are just amazing, worth watching for them alone. And Larry Tucker's performance is just exquisitely bizarre. In a parallel universe, this film is the American Breathless - a launching pad for a parallel New Wave.
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.
If Le Samourai is Paris's hitman story than Blast of Silence is New York's. More personal, gritty and emotional than it's French counterpart, it is wholly more American. Almost a visual novel because of the heavy narration, the film is a short jaunt into a gritty life. While nothing is particularly shocking there is something to be said for the excellent sense of atmosphere on display. The film transports you into the crime filled past of Manhattan and it feels like you might mugged while watching. A stand out for me was the bar scene; combined with perfectly fitting bongo music the scene itself is just insanely well constructed. I wish there were some fresher takes on situations but the movie was made in 1961. Its a short 88 minute whisky shot into a very dangerous city.
Maybe, just maybe the best voice-over I've ever heard in a movie.
This is a concise, suffocating, icy noir that should have way, way more recognition than it seems to.
angry, street-level noir. plus xmas in new york is always great
Awesome micro-budget New York crime-noir about Cleveland hitman Frank Bono in NY to do a job. Set against the backdrop of Christmas, he sorta skulks around, cases things out, buys a gun from a fat creepy dude, meets up with an old girlfriend, accidently kills a guy, and finishes up his intended job before his story comes to an icy, noir perfect end.
What sets it apart is that the film has a 2nd person narration (done by blacklisted actor Lionel Stander) that constantly comments on Frank's actions and state of mind. It sounds like a corny idea, but it works in spades. The dialogue is so damn good (thanks to co-writer Waldo Salt, future writer of Midnight Cowboy, Serpico,…
I watched this last night again with a friend. The opening sequence is glorious and still one of the best dialogues I've ever seen in a film
God moves in mysterious ways
Bono ... :) ehm, the professional killer Frank Bono ( impersonated by the director himself Baron - someone wrote on the IMDB website his face is a cross between those of actors George C. Scott and Lino Ventura) is the protagonist of this noir, in some ways the canonical metropolitan noir - I'd say my favorite metropolitan noir just for its locations selection.
A noir that's quite obscure (a great job on a shoestring budget by unsung director Baron, featuring a fascinating jazz score that's quite mysterious, too), possibly as it was released years after the decline in popularity of the genre itself.
Frank is addressed all along the movie by the narrator's voice, or…
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.
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 196/776 (25%)
UPDATED: July 27, 2015
The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company that sells "important classic and contemporary films" in…