My Gun Is Quick

Mickey Spillane was crossover pulp. Written in nineteen days, his first novel, I, the Jury, sold over six million copies. Subsequent books were spicy, hard, and violent, and through their recidivist hardboiled hero, Mike Hammer, they were a black eye on the face of fifties optimism. Coming two years after his best-known adaptation, Kiss Me Deadly, My Gun is Quick is a loopy, low-rent revenger with Robert Bray, the poor man's Gary Cooper, dropping the Hammer. The first scene says it all: in a Hollywood hash joint, Hammer strikes up a conversation with a down-and-out dame. Supposedly tough as nails, Hammer is really soft as a rubber mallet and feels for this vulnerable hick-a few hours later, she's dead. The reason for her unwarranted demise takes Hammer across a well-worn L.A. filled with strip joints, oil derricks, cold-water walk-ups, and the nefarious Colonel Holloway (Don Randolph), who knows something about the Venacci Jewels. Hammer's gun is quick and so is his dark wit: down at the harbor the voluptuous Patricia Donahue asks: “Can you handle a boat?” “I can handle anything.” It's Hammer time.

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