Showing posts from January, 2017

Five degrees of Mike Hammer (Part 1)

"Look, Pat, I've managed to take care of myself one way or another for a long time. And license or no license, I'm going to find the killer and give him what he deserves -- a .45 right down there just like he gave it to Jack!" -- Biff Elliot as Mike Hammer in I, THE JURY (1953).

In the nearly 70 years since the appearance of Frank Morrison "Mickey" Spillane's private detective Mike Hammer in print via the novel I, THE JURY, difference of opinion lingers over the quality of Spillane's work and its enduring popularity. Spillane (1918-2006), who produced numerous works aside from than the more than 20 Hammer novels bearing his name as their writer (Spillane was very specific: he was a writer, not an author), still manages to create some controversy in literary circles between those who detest his style and those who defend it by pointing to the grand total of book sales he racked up over a lengthy career. No doubt the same discussion will arise this Mar…

Five degrees of Mike Hammer (Part 2)

"Get off my back, chick! I'm tired. I've been up 52 hours. I just crawled out of a sewer. There isn't a decent person left in the world." -- Robert Bray as Mike Hammer in MY GUN IS QUICK (1957).

As the 1950s moved into its latter half, British producer-director Victor Saville still owned the screen rights to Mickey Spillane's early works, especially those of iconic private detective and "one-man police force" Mike Hammer, as described in the 1953 movie adaptation of I, THE JURY. Saville, through his production company Parklane Pictures, had personally produced I, THE JURY for a profitable result, and turned over production and direction of KISS ME DEADLY (1955) to rising filmmaker Robert Aldrich, whose innovative approach to the material made KISS ME DEADLY a true cult classic, even within a year of its release due to the influence of the critics at the noted French film journal Cahiers du Cinema. "I think I did a good job, that everybody connec…

He's back! Series 4 of 'Sherlock' on PBS

For those of us who feared the long layoff between the last and new series of SHERLOCK films for the BBC and America's Public Broadcasting System would produce either a radical change in tone or pure boredom, reassurance that the series is on the successful track it's followed was produced with the opener of the fourth set of episodes that aired New Year's Day.

"The Six Thatchers" was a fast-paced, complex yet compelling continuation of the adventures of the modern Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch), qualities that have made SHERLOCK a hit with audiences since its premiere in 2010. The combination of high-tech with Holmes' genius for deductive reasoning has settled well with fans of the Canon. It is also popular with new viewers attracted to the psychological exploration of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's great sleuth, who describes himself as "a high-functioning sociopath" who lives for the variety of puzzles contemporary crime and world politics p…