music friday: on this date in 1967
smells like jobs

murder by contract (irving lerner, 1958)

Murder by Contract is a solid, compact (81 minutes, shot in 7-8 days depending on who you ask) B-movie that offers many pleasures. Vince Edwards, known to American boomers as Ben Casey, is well-cast as a smoldering hunk. His killer could have come out of French existentialism ... in fact, the whole picture feels a bit like something from the French New Wave. Perry Botkin's score is catchy in a good way, and the veteran Lucien Ballard, who later worked frequently with Peckinpah (including The Wild Bunch), does wonders with black & white. Martin Scorsese speaks very highly of this one. It's the film debut of Kathie Browne, who my wife recognized for her role in an episode of the original Star Trek series. Also Herschel Bernardi, who is fine but if you are of a certain age and someone tells you that Bernardi did the voice for Charlie the Tuna ("Sorry, Charlie") in StarKist ads, you won't be able to get that out of your mind:

Finally, there's the mysterious Caprice Toriel as one of the killer's targets. This was the only movie she appeared in, and endless Google searches turn up nothing about her except that she was in Murder by Contract.

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