The Girl Hunters

Leslie Fielder once rocked the lit-crit boat by saying you could learn as much about America from Mickey Spillane as from William Faulkner. So what does The Girl Hunters tell us? Perhaps that old American adage: if you want it done right, do it yourself. Cowriting the script is one thing, but with this British-born brawler, Spillane takes on the lead character, playing iconic Mike Hammer his way. We find husky Hammer in an alley, “a dirty, lousy slob,” pitifully drunk. A case had gone wrong, Velda, his trusted secretary, was presumed dead, and Mike finds his only solace bobbing in booze. Then a dying man tells the down-and-out dick that “The Dragon,” head of a commie spy ring, has Velda, alive. When it comes to retrieving his beloved confidante, détente is the last thing on Mike's mind. Hammer searches high and low: from the offices of a State Senator to a chicken farm in the country. And in between he meets lethal Laura Knapp (played by Shirley Eaton, soon to be immortalized as the golden girl in Goldfinger), a double-barreled beauty. Good shall prevail, Velda shall return, and as the name implies, Mickey is a knockout.

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