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Blast of Silence - (The Criterion Collection)
Blast of Silence
The Criterion Collection
Actors: Allen Baron, Molly McCarthy, Larry Tucker, Peter H. Clune, Danny Meehan
Director: Allen Baron
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2008     1hr 17min

Somewhere between film noir and The Sopranos lies Blast of Silence, a concise, compelling psychological portrait of a low-level hit-man, shot in 1961 on a shoestring budget with New York City grit. This is the sort of movi...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Allen Baron, Molly McCarthy, Larry Tucker, Peter H. Clune, Danny Meehan
Director: Allen Baron
Creator: Meyer Kupferman
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Criterion Collection
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 04/15/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/1961
Theatrical Release Date: 00/00/1961
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 17min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 30
Edition: Criterion Collection
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Interesting and fun but well worn late 50's TV quality
David Cole | 02/02/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I liked the film but mostly as a camp B movie and low budget first film. The Criterion DVD quality is excellent. The extras are very good.

I love the NYC tracking scenes. The City and the photography is the real star of the film. Like Kubrick's Killer Kiss, you see the director's photography background.

The narration is terrible and never needed to be included. Without all that nonsense it would have had some mystery to it and could have been mistaken for French or Italian noir. The written narration itself wasn't really bad but the spoken delivery was just bad and total cornball and all in all was not needed at all. It took away all the mystery.

The Conga player should have irritated Bono enough to get taken out back and shot---that would have been "cool man." The film's problems can be excused as bordering on parody of 50's noir films and TV. Reminded me of various less supernatural Twilight Zone episodes and I almost expected Rod Serling at the end...."Frank Bono....blah now in the "Twilight Zone." Also reminded me of the 1948 film and TV series, "The Naked City" at times.

I like most of the music (except the horrid Conga player singing his obnoxious "avante garde" poetry.) I can only excuse it as a parody of 50's Greewich Village.

I noticed that the film's composer lifted or imitated a riff from Bernard Hermann's North by Northwest---the scenes where Franky is trailing the Fatman and also when Franky is escaping the scene of the hit. You also hear it twice in the excellent Documentary. I wonder if Baron even realizes it? He probably does. At that point, the soundtrack shifts from the jazz sound and goes orchestral, with a very close imitation of the famous, high-tension, Hermann riff. Not exact, but I noticed it immediatly.

Afterall, Hermann was the greatest composer for thrillers, so looking to him for some high-tension music, would not be unusual--No way Meyer Kupferman (the composer) did that riff that close to the "North by Northwest," theme by accident. The same riff has other Hermann variations in Vertigo, Psycho and later, Marnie.

Recommend viewing despite it's obvious problems, just for the NYC walking scenes, the Rat scenes and that bizarre club scene. I also like the Club bathroom scene with Flies, buzzing around and landing on the fatman and Bono. Very over the top noir house flies.

I think it misses the mark to seriously start comparing it to the better film noir classics. It's really pretty camp.

Raw. Minimalist. Existential. Noir.
Jordan Krall | Noir Jersey, USA | 09/14/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Blast of Silence is a low-budget crime drama that's closer
to a French noir than an American one. It was shot on
location in NYC and feels more like a black-and-white
documentary than a movie.

It's a character study with an uncomplicated plot: A hitman
comes to NYC from Chicago in order to make a hit. He
arranges to get a gun from his connection and has to kill
time (no pun intended) while waiting to do the job. It's
Christmas time and that depresses this professional killer
who grew up in an orphanage and has limited social skills.

He bumps into an old friend from that orphanage and
reluctantly goes to a Christmas party. He's an outsider
both figuratively and literally. He's like a more restrained
version of Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver except there is no
doubt as to what side of the law he is on (I still think Bickle
is a good guy though my wife thinks he's crazy.)

By the end of BLAST OF SILENCE, you do feel sorry for
the hit-man, however. There's a bit of sadness in his
misanthropy and you will not soon forget this film.