I,The Jury (1953)

i,the jury 1953

As a Mike Hammer fan I hated every second of this. Newcomer Biff Elliot is completely miscast as Mickey Spillane’s hard boiled P.I. His voice over is bad and his “acting” is worse. If you’re a Hammer fan keep far away from this example of how not to make a movie about a popular series. It’s based on the first book published in 1947.

Mike’s friend Jack Williams is a former cop who is now an insurance investigator. One night after a Christmas party Jack is looking through a college yearbook. A present comes through the door. It’s a bullet. Mike tells his police pal Pat Chambers (Preston Foster) that he’s going to find out who did it and he doesn’t care how. Pat tells him to take it easy. Of course he won’t.

Mike’s first stop is Jack’s druggie girlfriend Myrna. She’s no help. Using the guest list Pat gave him Mike visits art dealer and fight promoter George Kalecki (Alan “Fred Flintsone” Reed).  George’s live in college student Hal Kines tries to get tough with Mike, Bad mistake.

His next stop is psychoanalyst Charlotte Manning (Peggy Castle). No help there. Pat is waiting outside and tells him Kines has moved into a building where The Bellamy twins, Esther and Mary live. Mike bribes a bellhop to let him into Kines’ place. Mike finds a photo album with pictures of Klines and Kalecki during World War Two in Europe.

Next it’s The Bellamy place. Mary uses her feminine wiles on him to no avail. Back at the office an ex-pug is waiting there with Mike’s secretary Velda (Margaret Sheridan). He says Kalecki is also in the numbers racket.

In the course of his investigation he talks with numbers runner Bobo (Elisha Cook,Jr.). In a bar three thugs work Mike over. Then he sneaks into Jack’s apartment and finds his diary. Kalecki and Kinds, who is a lot older than he appears, were running a racket involving Kinds posing as a college student. It involves jewelry theft.

Mike goes to the frat house where Kinds stayed. Kalecki is in his room. He and Mike shoot it out. That ends Kalecki’s career. As things move along more bodies turn up and more bullets are fired Mike’s way. The ending is dragged out and Elliot’s “acting” gets even worse.

This is one of the absolute worst detective movies I’ve ever seen. The biggest mystery is who approved Elliot as Mike Hammer. It’s one of my favorite book series and this just trashed it.

After a few TV episodes this was Elliot’s movie debut.


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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5 Responses to I,The Jury (1953)

  1. dfordoom says:

    I think the best screen Mike Hammer was Mickey Spillane, in THE GIRL HUNTERS. He actually had several acting credits. In RING OF FEAR (a very entertaining movie) he played a crime writer named Mickey Spillane.

  2. vintage45 says:

    The best ever movie was 1955’s Kiss Me Deadly with Ralph Meeker. I always thought the best Mike Hammer was Darren McGavin in the 50’s TV series.

    • dfordoom says:

      I was amazed how hard-boiled McGavin managed to make his performance. Especially by the standards of 1950s network TV. McGavin’s Mike Hammer would have eaten Peter Gunn for breakfast.

  3. johnlmalone says:

    I remember the book very well. It came out in 1948. I read it –A later edition —while my father was at work and I was home from school. I wrote a poem about it recently. It was published in my poetry collection ‘Seeing Things’ published a few months ago. It is the second poem in the book. My editor warned it would be controversial. I haven’t heard a peep about it since 🙂

  4. vintage45 says:

    Controversial beats cookie cutter everytime.

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