Johnny Cool (1963)

johnny cool 1963

Henry Silva is excellent as a Sicilian bandit leader who is trained by a deported mobster to take care of his former associates in America. Elizabeth Montgomery is a bored rich girl who hooks up with him. A lot of familiar names pop up along the way. Movie veterans Elisha Cook,Jr. and Robert Armstrong play gang members.

The movie was produced and directed by Montgomery’s husband at the time, William Asher who later created “Bewitched.” The Executive Producer was Peter Lawford which is why fellow Rat pack members Joey Bishop and Sammy Davis,Jr. show up. Davis is saddled with singing two awful songs on the soundtrack. Most of the music is some good Jazzy big band stuff from Billy May.

The movie starts during World War Two in Sicily with the young  Salvatore Giordano and how he ended up in the resistance and why he referred to a gun as his family.

The years go by and he’s grown up into Henry Silva. He’s the revered head of a bandit clan in a small village. An American newspaper reporter (Richard Anderson) interviews him at a village wedding. Then Salvatore gets word Army troops are hunting him down by helicopter. Out in the country he and his main Lieutenant are caught and killed.

It was all a set up by deported gangster Johnny Colini (Marc Lawrence). Salvatore’s Lieutenant resembled him and his body was driven through the area to convince everyone their hero was dead. Salvatore didn’t have a clue about it all. Colini says he’s going to make him his son and train him to get rid of his associates in the U.S. who set him up. When he dies, Salvatore will inherit everything.

In New York Salvatore takes Colini’s name and is also referred to as Johnny Cool. In a club called The Real Tony’s he is braced at the bar by a mobster. He makes short work of him. That impresses the bored Darien “Dare” Guiness (Elizabeth Montgomery). He also gets noticed by mob boss Vincenzo “Vince” Santangelo (Telly Savalas). He’s the one who engineered Colin’s deportation and took over the mob.

While Johnny is at a crap game two goons call on Dar,pose as cops and work her over for information about Johnny. At the crap game he’s winning big. Expert dice shooter Educated (Sammy Davis,Jr.) throws the dice for some big wins for Johnny who had a gun to his head.

Johnny gets back to Dare’s and finds her all bruised up. He gets a knife from her drawer, goes back to the crap game, sees the two who visited her and puts the knife to good use. Vince isn’t concerned despite warnings from his Lieutenant.

Now Johnny goes on a tear as he takes care of some mobsters played by Jim Backus, Mort Sahl and John  McGiver.  It’s only been a few days but Dare is completely stuck on him. He sends her out to Beverly Hills to get a car. She gets one from used car salesman Holmes (Joey Bishop) after he wraps up a commercial during a movie TV show. She drives off to the Beverly Hills Hilton and leaves the car where Johnny instructed her.

Dare is getting concerned when he gets a suitcase loaded with dynamite. It’s to put an end to the rich Lennart Crandall (Brad Dexter). Johnny gives her instructions about meeting him back in New York.

This is a good one to hunt up. Silva is great and “Bewitched” fans that think Elizabeth Montgomery is all sweetness and light are in for a surprise.

Elizabeth Montgomery as Dare

Elizabeth Montgomery as Dare

 

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About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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