Friday, October 28, 2011
The story is simple: hit man Frank Bono arrives in New York City at Christmas time to do a job, and things go wrong. What makes Blast of Silence (dir. Allen Baron, 1961) compelling is atmosphere, external and internal: a bleak vision of New York and the bleaker vision of human character that unfolds in Lionel Stander’s voiceover.
In a 1990 documentary about this film, Allen Baron says that he had wanted Peter Falk to play Frank Bono. The role would have been a fitting followup to Falk’s performance as Abe Reles in Murder, Inc. (dir. Burt Balaban and Stuart Rosenberg, 1960). Baron though ended up doing the job himself: “We did the best we could with what we had. And I was the best actor available to me at the time, and I was the only one I could afford.”
Blast of Silence is available, beautifully restored, from the Criterion Collection. I think it’s one of the great low-budget films, along with Carnival of Souls (dir. Herk Harvey, 1962) and The Honeymoon Killers (dir. Leonard Kastle, 1970).
The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse : Baby Face : Born Yesterday : The Dark Corner : Deception : Dream House : The Little Giant : The Man Who Cheated Himself : Murder, My Sweet : Nightmare Alley : The Public Enemy : Side Street : Sweet Smell of Success : This Gun for Hire
By Michael Leddy at 10:14 AM