Mickey Spillane plays his own creation, street-thug-turned-PI Mike Hammer, in this 1963 adaptation of his novel. The film opens with Hammer on the downside of a years-long bender, scooped out of the gutter by a bitter cop ... more »intent on prying information from a dying man. Inspired to clean up his act by the secrets he hears, Hammer hits the streets on a personal crusade to find the love of his life. Future Bond girl Shirley Earton costars as a glamorous society widow who goes slumming with Hammer. Spillane, who brings the grace of a trained monkey and the sex appeal of a Bronx cheer to the role, is less a stoic, tarnished street knight than a street bum at a cocktail party, but it works for the working-class pug. The low-budget production is a rare black-and-white CinemaScope picture, rough and messy but lacking the raw edge and gritty look of more accomplished crime pictures. B-movie veteran Roy Rowland directs with a lazy pace and a prosaic style that drags until he takes his camera to streets of New York City. The definitive Hammer remains Ralph Meeker in Robert Aldrich's Kiss Me Deadly, but Spillane makes a respectable runner-up. --Sean Axmaker« less
""The Girl Hunters" is considered to be by many the second best screen adaptation of a Mike Hammer detective novel ("Kiss Me Deadly" being the first). In this one the author, Mickey Spillane, plays the role of Hammer. He's somewhat wooden in the part and his voice does not lend itself to film acting (it's raspy), but he is passable as Hammer. The film itself is B-grade but it is a good, gritty one. Shirley Eaton, from "Goldfinger", plays the female lead quite well.The story moves at a quick pace and several scenes stick in the mind. One takes place in a bar where Hammer convinces a bad guy that it in his best interest to swallow a bullet. A second is an ultra-violent confrontation between Hammer and the villian that is better than the fight between Connery and Shaw in "From Russia with Love" (Hammer finds a unique method for getting the defeated villian to stay put for the police that is extrememly violent for the time the film was produced). Also, Hammer's advice on how to properly care for shotgun lingers at the film's fade-out. The widescreen version is very well done. The black and white print is crisp."
Mickey Spillane IS Mike Hammer
Steven Hellerstedt | 06/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Mike Hammer's ex-partner, still a cop, has a squad unit drag him out of a booze washed gutter so that Hammer can hear a fatally wounded man's last word. The man will speak only to him, and, to Hammer's surprise, the dying man leads him to believe that Hammer's old flame - Velda - whose disappearance and presumed death lead to a lost weekend that stretched into months - may still be alive. Velda's fate is tied up with a prominent politician's `accidental' death, a 50-year-old ultra secret European group that dreams of spearheading a worldwide dictatorship, and the mysterious red - as in commie - assassin known as The Dragon. Okay, he ain't Ralph Meeker or Stacy Keach or any other Hollywood pretty boy who jams a fedora on his bulb and plays tough for the camera. Mickey Spillane plays the fictional Mike Hammer, the ex-cop he created and rode to worldwide fame starting shortly after the Second World War with the runaway best-seller, I, the Jury. Spillane's Hammer is a big man, a wide cinderblock in a trenchcoat with a nose broken once for effect and once again for the fun of it. Unfortunately, Spillane is possessed of a cinderblock's charisma and animal magnetism, as well. Fortunately, THE GIRL HUNTERS keeps the obligatory love scene short and, if not sweet, at least dialogue-free. Anyway, whatever they were doing was over quick and when Mike Hammer ain't doing that - and (thankfully) he ain't doing that much in this one - he's talking tough, and like his literary creation, Spillane can talk tough with the best of them. There are a couple of notable actors in THE GIRL HUNTERS. In 1964, the year after THE GIRL HUNTERS was made, Shirley Eaton played the gold-painted corpse in the James Bond movie Goldfinger. In THE GIRL HUNTERS she plays the widow of a murdered politician and spends most of her time running around in skimpy bikinis that wouldn't seem overly modest forty years later. Veteran character actor Lloyd Nolan plays federal agent Arthur Rickerby, who has a personal and `unofficial' interest in Hammer's investigation, which amounts to a score to settle with whoever it was who killed the same man that told Hammer that Velda may still be alive. Beyond pushing the plot forward, Nolan is around to add some professional ballast to the movie and give Hammer a chance to make ha-ha by mangling his last name over and over and over again. Nolan was a good actor and he adds value to this one, even though his character is peripheral to the main story and only pops in and out of the movie now and then for short scenes with the star. I liked THE GIRL HUNTERS. The transfer print of the 35mm original was in very good shape, and it's presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This black-and-white film (original distributed in the USA by Colorama Features, no less) had good scale tone, or whatever it is the techies call it when the blacks are deep and rich and the whites shimmer. I thought the author Spillane would make a terrible actor, but he was a convincing Mike Hammer and more or less carries the story. For the first 85-minutes or so the violence is there but relatively tame - the last ten minutes or so contain a couple of discreetly edited gruesome sequences. High recommendation for this one, if you can find it. "
Bare-bones DVD is nevertheless worth a look
Joseph P. Menta, Jr. | Philadelphia, PA USA | 08/29/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It's funny how Mike Hammer, gritty gumshoe from the streets of New York, always seems to get involved in white-hot cases involving the most sensitive and clandestine areas of international politics. So one has to smile when this happens yet again in "The Girl Hunters." But that's the fun thing about Mike Hammer stories: you know what you're gonna get and you always get it. Other Hammer staples this movie serves up with enthusiasm include tough talk, a fistfight or two, a most-likely untrustworthy female protagonist, and a brutal, memorable ending. To quibble a bit, I would have liked to see Hammer's longtime secretary Velda actually appear, as her unknown whereabouts and mysterious past are major motivations for Hammer moving through the complicated plot. Also, the weird trumpet music we hear when Hammer is on the prowl searching for clues sounds more like a funeral dirge for a fallen mafioso than a private eye theme. But, hey, the movie is generally pretty good, and non-actor Spillane actually holds his own with the dazzling Shirley Eaton and old pro Lloyd Nolan. However, all but die-hard Hammer fans will probably prefer to rent rather than buy this item, as there are zero extras on the DVD. You get the movie and that's it."
The girl Hunters
Susan Cazanave | Downingtown, PA USA | 08/11/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Although Mickey Spillane's acting is terrible, the film has a certain reality about it. After all to actually see Spillane portraying his famous character is great. The film is shot in a very realistic home movie fashion. Clearly not an oscar candidate, yet it has a rare quality. I think it is the honest nature of this film that is captivating to watch. It is truely a must for any Mike Hammer/Spillane fan. I never tire of seeing it!"
Spillane's not the problem here
nom-de-nick | United States | 05/09/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"While he's no Brando, he doesn't do a bad job of playing his own character at all. Considering Hammer's overall depth (read the books), he was actually a decent pick for the role, and did at least as well as, say, Matt Dillon or James Spader could have. The problem is the overall plot, which gets thinner and thinner and less believable as the film goes on. Not to mention the dialogue. And there are several murky elements. The never-ending fistfight starts to become boring, then laughable. The ending is decent,plotwise, but too sudden and jerky otherwise. Watchable; not necessarily ownable."