Blast of Silence
|Blast of Silence|
|Directed by||Allen Baron|
|Produced by||Merrill Brody|
|Written by||Allen Baron|
|Narrated by||Lionel Stander|
|Music by||Meyer Kupferman|
|Edited by||Peggy Lawson|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
Frankie Bono, a mentally disturbed hitman from Cleveland, comes back to his hometown in New York City during Christmas week to kill a middle-management mobster, Troiano. The assassination will be risky, with Frankie being warned by a fellow enforcer that should he be spotted before the hit is performed, the contract will be reneged.
First he follows his target to select the best possible location, but opts to wait until Troiano isn't being accompanied by his bodyguards. Next, he goes to purchase a revolver from Big Ralph, an obese gun runner who keeps sewer rats as pets. The encounter with this old acquaintance leaves Frankie feeling disgusted.
With several hours left before the hit is to be performed, Frankie decides to kill time in the city, where he is plagued by memories of past trauma during his time living there. While sitting alone for a drink, Frankie is reunited with childhood friend Petey, who invites the reluctant Frankie to a Christmas party, where Frankie later encounters his old flame, Lori. The following day Frankie goes to see Lori at her apartment to get better reacquainted with her, but the visit ends in disaster when an at first vulnerable Frankie suddenly attempts to sexually assault her. Lori forgives Frankie for his actions and calmly asks him to leave, to which he obliges.
That same day, Frankie tails Troiano and his mistress to a Jazz club in Greenwich village. However, he is spotted by Big Ralph, who decides to blackmail Frankie out of the hit. In turn, Frankie stalks Ralph back to his tenement and strangles him to death following a violent brawl between the two. Losing his nerve, Frankie calls up his employers to tell them he wants to quit the job. Unsympathetic, the supervisor tells him he has until New Year's Eve to perform the hit.
Having settled on using the apartment of Troiano's mistress as the location for the murder, Frankie makes one last stop at Lori's home to both apologize for his behavior the other morning and to convince her to leave New York with him, only to learn she has a live-in boyfriend. Frankie leaves angrily to finish the job.
Having successfully killed his target, Frankie narrowly evades being caught by Troiano's soldiers via the rooftops before making his way to the docks to receive his payment. However, the meetup is revealed to be an ambush setup by his supervisors and Frankie is riddled with bullets. He attempts to swim ashore with his remaining strength but succumbs to his wounds, dying alone in the muddy banks of the river.
According to Turner Classic Movies web site, the "fist fight" scene was filmed on Long Island during Hurricane Donna (September 10–12, 1960), the only hurricane of the 20th century to blanket the entire East Coast from south Florida to Maine.
Blast of Silence was released in Chicago on June 5, 1961.
The Criterion Collection released Blast of Silence on DVD in 2008. The disc's special features include a new, restored digital transfer, a making-of featurette (Requiem for a Killer: The Making of Blast of Silence), rare on-set Polaroid photos, and images of locations as they existed in 2008. Also included is a booklet featuring an essay by film critic Terrence Rafferty and a four-page graphic novel by Sean Phillips (Criminal, Sleeper, Marvel Zombies).