Blast of Silence (1961)

Blast of Silence 
Directed by Allen Baron
Written by Allen Baron and Waldo Salt
1961/USA
Magla Productions
First viewing/Netflix rental

 

Narrator: You get a feeling this is how it was meant to be. Like you are Troiano’s fate. Like you’re God.

 

This unique indie film noir was right up my street.

The story is told through liberal use of a second-person narrator who describes  the protagonist’s own thoughts, sensations, and past.  It is Christmastime in New York City where hit man Frankie Bono (played by the director) has been hired to assassinate a syndicate boss.  He spends lots of time wandering city streets killing time and tailing his target.

Frankie is a complete loner who was brought up in an orphanage.  Contact with others represents his danger zone.  His interaction with the hoodlum who arranges for his gun does not bode well.  The contract really goes to hell in a hand basket when he meets a childhood friend and renews his acquaintance with the friend’s sister.

Baron made great use of what was clearly a limited budget.  If nothing else, this would be a lovingly shot portrait of a New York City which is no more. In addition, the narration is gripping and tautly written, drawing you into the psyche of a ruthless but lonely criminal. The story is gritty and surprising.  Warmly recommended.

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Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961)

Gidget Goes Hawaiian
Directed by Paul Wendkos
Written by Ruth Brooks Flippen and Frederick Kohner
1961/USA
Jerry Bresler Films
First viewing/Netflix rental

“Umica ka hanu/ HOLD THE BREATH/ Be patient; don’t give up.” ― Toni Polancy, Hawaii in Love

Exactly what you are looking for in a movie with this title.

Gidget (Deborah Walley) has troubles a girl can only dream of.  She gets pinned by the love of her life, Jeff AKA Moondoggie (James Darren), who is visiting California for the summer.  Immediately thereafter, her parents announce a surprise Hawaiian vacation.  She cannot bear to be separated from her beloved and is heartbroken.  He encourages her to go, she blows up, and they break up.

Gidget continues to be despondent in Hawaii despite the fact every male within range is dying to be with her.  She finally gets over this and starts flirting when Jeff arrives, expenses paid by papa, in Hawaii.  Many misunderstandings and unseemingly innuendos about Gidget’s virginity ensue.

You don’t go to these things for surprises but for nostalgia.  These films play exactly like early sixties sitcoms, which indeed they spawned.  It’s a somewhat entertaining capsule from a much more innocent time.  Lots of fake surfing to be had.

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