Thursday, July 4, 2013

(Ego) Force of July: The Girl Hunters

You're so vain.  You probably think that this character is actually you.  Today's film is The Girl Hunters, one of the many Mike Hammer adaptations.  Why is it a Fourth of July review though?  Well, I have my reasons.  For one thing, it's a Mike Hammer adaptation, making it one of the works by iconic American Writer Mickey Spillane.  Secondly, the film also stars Mickey Spillane.  Yes, he has five Acting Credits to his name- one as himself, two as the lawyer from the Mommy films, one on Columbo and this-, so he's a natural fit to play Mike Hammer.  So the other reason for my reviewing this is clear- it also represents American hubris.  Don't get me wrong- I'm a proud American.  The fact remains: we like to do things just because we can.  That often leads to good things- like the Steam Engine-, but it often leads to bad things too- like the Double-Down Sandwich.  To put this film into perspective, imagine if Michael Crichton cast himself as Doctor Alan Grant in Jurassic Park.  Imagine if Stephen King cast himself as Jack Torrance in The Shining.  Imagine if William Peter Blatty cast himself as Father Merrin in The Exorcist.  To see how this exercise in 'why the hell not?!?' turns out, read on...
Mike Hammer has been a drunk loser for a while.  He's pulled out of 'retirement' to question a dying criminal who will only talk to him.
The man tells Hammer some information that leads him on the trail of the killer of his old Captain.  This super close-up shows how serious the whole thing is.
For all of the people who talked about how Brandon Routh in Superman Returns looking like 'a kid playing dress-up,' I point you to this: Spillane dressing up like one of his characters.
Hammer is on the case which is *yawn* kind of generic and listless.  I'm just going to skip ahead, if you don't mind.
Hammer finally finds the bad guy and engages him in a fight.  This fight actually has a guy credited as 'Staging' it.

I mention this because the worn-out, Pan-and-Scan print available on YouTube is nearly impossible to watch in motion.  Good for you, Fight Staging Guy!
As it turns out, the Blond in a Detective Story is a bad guy.  I'm shocked.

In a dark Ending, some Chekov's Gun in the form of Explosive Shells comes back.  The woman fires the gun, but the kick apparently 'takes her head off' (as he warned her).  That faces says it all.  The End.
Oh boy.  This film is not really terrible, but it is also not easy to recommend either.  To begin with, it's not easy to come by.  You can't just walk into a Target and buy it (as far as I know).  Secondly, it's not exactly the best print going around.  So, in summary, you have to go over a few hurdles to watch a really rough print of a so-so movie.  Is it worth it?  That's for you to decide.  What I will say that the movie is pretty 'paint by numbers' and Spillane isn't that compelling of a lead.  He's not the worst Actor Author out there, but he's clearly just trying.  He never 'embodies' the character for me.  He makes the Character just another gritty Detective trying to solve a case.  If you like these kind of rare films, check it out.  It's on YouTube (somewhat officially), so it's not too hard to watch.  You'll just have to make due with this super-dark and often-blurry print though.  Funny face to close it out...
Next up, Bob returns with some completely-incomprehensible film.  After a year delay, will he be able to explain it?  Stay tuned...

No comments:

Post a Comment