Murder by Contract

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<i>Murder by Contract</i>. 1958. USA. Directed by Irving Lerner
  • Murder by Contract

    1958. USA. Irving Lerner. 81 min.

Monday, August 4, 2014, 6:45 p.m.
Theater 2 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2), T2
  • Murder by Contract

    1958. USA. Directed by Irving Lerner. Screenplay by Ben Simcoe. With Vince Edwards, Philip Pine, Herschel Bernardi. Vince Edwards plays a Melvillian contract killer who executes his assignments with ruthless, Zen-like efficiency, using any potential weapon at hand, while still finding time to take in the tourist sites around town. Unsurprisingly, his fatal flaw is his wary distaste of women, particularly the one he’s hired to kill. Irving Lerner’s perversion of the postwar American Dream—Claude wants to settle down in a humble riverside cottage, and sees his line of business as the swiftest means to that end—resembles the tarnished aspirations of so many Nicholas Ray and Martin Scorsese antiheroes. Indeed, Scorsese dedicated his 1977 film New York, New York to Irving Lerner, citing as influences the film’s spare guitar score by Perry Botkin, high-contrast black-and-white cinematography by Lucien Ballard, and lean storytelling by Ben Simcoe (and an uncredited Ben Maddow). 81 min.

In the Film exhibition

Image: Murder by Contract. 1958. USA. Directed by Irving Lerner