Blast Of Silence

"Excellent"

Blast Of Silence Review


There's noir, and then there's noir. Blast of Silence is an absolutely crackling down-and-dirty 90 minutes of gritty New York streets, two-bit hoodlums, and sleazy bars. Accompanied by an absolutely classic noir narration that you have to hear to believe, this is pure bliss for lovers of cigarettes, fedoras, and big black sedans. A sampling: "The target's name is Troiano. You know the type. Second-string syndicate boss with too much ambition. And a mustache. To hide the fact that he has lips like a woman. The kind of face you hate."

If you've ever seen and loved The Naked City, this is an excellent follow-up. It may have come along 23 years later, but the style is very much the same. A one-man project of writer/director/actor Allen Baron, the no-budget 1961 drama was shot on the streets of Gotham and in real clubs and apartments because there was no money to shoot anywhere else, and the result is gratifyingly naturalistic. As you tag along with low-rent assassin Frankie Bono and he scouts his next hit, you can almost feel yourself getting dirty.

Bono's task is to bump off mid-level mob mook Troiano on behalf of a slightly higher-ranking mob mook, and most of the movie revolves around him acquiring a gun from a truly sleazy salesman (Larry Tucker) and then tracking his prey around town as Christmas week commences. Bono doesn't much like this dirty business, and he wants to get out of it, but not until he finishes this one last job. At the same time, he's battling a crippling case of loneliness and is hoping to hit it off with Lorrie (Molly McCarthy), an innocent young thing who's able to look past his external thuggishness and see the nice guy inside, at least for a while.

While the film's story is straightforward and predictable, its real gift is the tour of New York on which it takes us. Bono's search for a gun takes him to the hardscrabble east side docks, and he follows his victim into the Village Gate nightclub, where a bongo-playing singer pounds his way through a creepy ballad as Bono gets more and more agitated. The final showdown finds Bono out in the isolated marshes near JFK airport in the midst of an actual hurricane.

Thanks to the new Criterion Collection DVD release, we get to enjoy a long (and charmingly self-aggrandizing) interview with Allen Baron in which he goes into extraordinary detail about how the production unfolded, and we get not one but two nostalgic visits back to the locations with Baron, one from 1990 and one from 2007. New York just isn't what it used to be. No one wears fedoras anymore.

Yeah, he's talkin' to you.



Blast Of Silence

Facts and Figures

Run time: 77 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 1st April 1961

Production compaines: Magla Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Fresh: 11 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Allen Baron

Producer: Merrill S. Brody

Starring: Allen Baron as Frank Bono, Molly McCarthy as Lori, Larry Tucker as Big Ralph, Bill DePrato as Joe Boniface, Peter H. Clune as Troiano, Danny Meehan as Petey, as Narrator (uncredited)

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