Johnny Cool (1963)

US / 104 minutes / bw / Chrislaw, United Artists Dir & Pr: William Asher Scr: Joseph Landon Story: The Kingdom of Johnny Cool (1959) by John McPartland Cine: Sam Leavitt Cast: Henry Silva, Elizabeth Montgomery, Richard Anderson, Jim Backus, Joey Bishop, Brad Dexter, Wanda Hendrix, Hank Henry, Marc Lawrence, John McGiver, Gregory Morton, Mort Sahl, Telly Savalas, Joan Staley, Sammy Davis Jr., Katharine Bard, Steve Peck, Douglas Henderson, Frank Albertson, Mary Scott, Elisha Cook (i.e., Elisha Cook Jr), John Dierkes, Robert Armstrong, Michael Davis.

A deliberate evocation of the films noirs and gangster movies more usually associated with releases from two or three decades earlier, this adds glossy production values, a splendid score and plenty of star names. And yet, while highly watchable, it seems to lose much of those qualities—most obviously in the areas of direction and cinematography—that made its models so grittily absorbing.

Michael Davis as the young Giordano

In 1943 in Sicily, young Salvatore Giordano (Michael Davis) learns to kill as part of the Resistance fighting back against the fascists who killed his mother. Twenty years later, he’s a bandit chieftain, a Robin Hood figure with a huge price on his head . . . yet unlikely to be arrested because the local cops and politicians are on his side.

One day, though, as Giordano (Silva) attends a wedding, the authorities arrive in force and chase him off into the wild countryside. There they apparently put an end to the career of the great Salvatore Giordano.

Henry Silva as Johnny/Giordano

But no. Next we know he’s in chains in Rome, where Continue reading

Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974-5), episodes #13-#16

Episode 13: Primal Scream

Aired January 17 1975

US / 51 minutes / color / Francy, Universal, ABC Dir: Robert Scheerer Pr: Cy Chermak Scr: Bill S. Ballinger, David Chase Cine: Ronald W. Browne Cast: Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland, John Marley, Pat Harrington, Katharine Woodville, Jamie Farr, Jack Grinnage, Barbara Rhoades, Jeanie Bell, Lindsay Workman, Regis Cordic, Byron Morrow, Vince Howard, Sandra Gould.

After a month away at a science conference, Dr. Jules Kopernik (uncredited), biologist at the Oceanic International Oil Corporation, returns one night to his lab, where he’s promptly torn to pieces by an ape man. Spunky investigative journalist Carl Kolchak (McGavin) pursues the story of what seems at first to be “merely” a particularly gruesome murder. It’s only when Continue reading