Blast of Silence (1961)

Criterion Film and Plot Synopsis

Swift, brutal, and black-hearted, Allen Baron’s New York City noir Blast of Silence is a sensational surprise. This low-budget, carefully crafted portrait of a hit man on assignment in Manhattan during Christmastime follows its stripped-down narrative with mechanical precision, yet also with an eye and ear for the oddball idiosyncrasies of urban living and the imposing beauty of the city. At once visually ragged and artfully composed, and featuring rough, poetic narration performed by Lionel Stander, Blast of Silence is a stylish triumph.

‘Blast of Silence’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Blast of Silence (1961)Blast of Silence begins with Frankie Bono who is a loner/hitman; returning to his hometown of New York City during the week of Christmas. He there from Cleveland to kill the mobster, Troiano for money. However, this is not an easy job, and the man who hires Frank warns him that if Troiano or his men spot him before the hit, they will rescind the contract.

Frankie drives to Troiano’s home to kill him, but his bodyguards always surround him. Instead, he heads over to an obese gun smuggler named Big Ralph’s hovel. Frankie and Big Ralph have a history together, and the thought of getting a gun from Big Ralph makes him uneasy, but Frankie doesn’t have any alternatives in the time crunch. Big Ralph can’t produce a .38 special with a silencer until the next day, so that leaves Frankie some free time in the Big Apple.

While mulling his horrible life at a bar alone, his childhood friend, Petey shows up, and convinces Frankie to come to a Christmas party. Frankie reluctantly agrees to go, and there, he’s reunited with his old girlfriend, Lori. Things go well between the two that night, and Frankie goes to visit her at her apartment the next day.

As the two catch up on each other’s lives, Frankie snaps and tries to rape Lori. She stops him, and after she regains her composure, calmly asks him to leave. Poor Frankie, alone again.

Later that day, Frankie goes back to tailing Troiano. He spots him out with his mistress, and they wind up at a Jazz club in Greenwich village. Big Ralph is there, and he spots Frankie, and then figures out who Frankie’s out to kill. With such a big target, Big Ralph tries to blackmail Frankie to keep his cover. Instead, Frankie follows the big fella home, and strangles him to death in a violent encounter.

This tips Frankie over the edge, and he loses his nerve. He calls up his boss, and tells him he’s not going to go through with the hit. However, his boss refuses, and tells him that he will complete the hit by New Year’s Eve or else.

With no choice, Frankie continues on with the job. He decides to kill Troiano at his mistress’ apartment. He gets the gun from Big Ralph’s connection, and prepares alone at his motel for the hit. He then stops by Lori’s place one more time to apologize, and get her to run away with him. Unfortunately, her boyfriend interrupts their conversation, and Frankie feels let on and betrayed. Alone again, he leaves in a huff.

Frankie head’s to Troiano’s mistress’ apartment, and guns Troiano down in cold blood. He manages to Triano’s bodyguard’s notice, and then dumps the gun in the New York Bay. He then hightails it to the docks to collect on his final payment. There, his bosses ambush Frankie, and shoot him in the back multiple times. He falls into the frigid water, and uses his last strength to swim to the muddy shore. There he dies the way he lived—alone.

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Universal Pictures released Blast of Silence on June 5, 1961. Allen Baron directed the film which starred Allen Baron, Molly McCarthy, and Larry Tucker.

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