Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Monday, June 06, 2011

Private Eyes on Netflix Instant

Just discovered a couple of private eye flicks that I've never seen before are now available on Netflix Instant: Blake Edwards' 1967 Peter Gunn feature, Gunn, and the 1957 Mickey Spillane adaptation, My Gun Is Quick, "introducing" Robert Bray as Mike Hammer.

Weirdly, Netflix's print of Gunn has French titles and credits, and is, unfortunately, presented in pan & scan instead of its proper 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This makes certain scenes very cramped, and, in the case of a love scene between Craig Stevens and Laura Devon (replacing the TV show's Lola Albright as Gunn's main squeeze, Edie), disturbingly intimate. Still, I'm grateful for the opportunity to finally see it; to the best of my knowledge, it's never been released on U.S. home video, and I've never stumbled across it on TV.

My Gun Is Quick has a bad reputation among Spillane fans and film buffs, but as it's a 50s Mike Hammer film, I've wanted to see it for years. Even if it's bad, it will be cool seeing the Mike Hammer character in his proper time and setting, shot while the books were still the hottest things on the shelves. Like Gunn, I don't think it's ever been on video, and it eluded me for decades on cable TV. It is coming out on manufactured-on-demand DVD-R from the MGM Limited Collector's Edition line in a month or so, but I'd like to see it before shelling out cash to buy a copy for my collection... so....

I found both of these completely by accident - Netflix's instant titles are infuriatingly difficult to search through. There are some surprising - and rare - gems hidden in there, but they're damned hard to find.


Chris Gumprich said...

"My Gun Is Quick" was on TCM a few weeks back, as the middle of a three film Mike Hammer mini-marathon. My DVR screwed up and missed it, but I did finally get to see "Kiss Me Deadly", and I'm looking forward to seeing Spillane as Hammer in "The Girl Hunters".

Any thoughts on those two films?

Christopher Mills said...

The Girl Hunters is a lot of fun. It's not a great movie, but it's a good little, low-budget P.I. flick. Mick is great as Hammer, and Lloyd Nolan and Shirley Eaton are very good, too.

Kiss Me Deadly, on the other hand, is not a particularly good adaptation of Spillane's novel, and goes to great pains to portray Hammer in as unflattering a lighta s possible -- but it's a great movie. One of the best P.I. films ever, and a genuine classic. Mick hated it. :)

Chris Gumprich said...

Completely in agreement with you on KISS ME DEADLY. I watched it expecting to hate it, but really enjoyed it. It's been a long time since I read the book, though... I might feel differently if it was fresh in my mind.