Pulp My Daisy: Jazz, Noir & Beatniks - Blast of Silence

BLAST OF SILENCE is Allen Baron’s primal noir running from the shadows of Robert Rossen and lit in the natural dinge of Cassavettes. Soulless, lonely, misogynist, racist Cleveland hitman Frankie Bono (played by Baron) is contracted to extract a NY mob boss, but the Christmas season preys on his conscience and propels him into a ferocious internal battle to become “human.” It’s a losing battle. Hailed as the “new Orson Welles” at the ‘61 Cannes festival, Baron has since become a prolific director of iconic 1960’s and ‘70’s TV sitcoms and cop shows, but it’s the stripped-down, raw-nerved and impossibly bleak BLAST OF SILENCE he will forever be remembered for. With classic oddball beat characters (like Larry Tucker’s grotesque “Big Ralph”), a churning atonal jazz score by Meyer Kupferman and a black-hearted internal monologue voiced by an uncredited Lionel Stander, BLAST OF SILENCE is one of the boldest independent thrillers of the post-WW2 era and an obvious template for future mainstream classics like Scorsese’s TAXI DRIVER.

Dir. Allen Baron, 1961, 35mm, 77 min.

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