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Murder by Contract (1958)

Claude is a ruthless and efficient contract killer - until he finds his next target is a woman.

Director:

Irving Lerner

Writer:

Ben Simcoe
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Vince Edwards ... Claude
Phillip Pine ... Marc
Herschel Bernardi ... George
Caprice Toriel ... Billie Williams
Michael Granger Michael Granger ... Mr. Moon
Kathie Browne ... Mary - Secretary and Party Girl (as Cathy Browne)
Joseph Mell Joseph Mell ... Harry - Hotel Room Waiter
Frances Osborne ... Miss Wiley - Ex-maid
Steven Ritch Steven Ritch ... Detective Shooting Tear Gas
Janet Brandt Janet Brandt
Davis Roberts ... Hall of Records Clerk
Don Garrett Don Garrett ... James William Mayflower - Plainclothesman
Gloria Victor Gloria Victor ... Miss Wexley - Bunco Squad
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Storyline

Claude is a young man with a regular job, no history of trouble with the law and no chance of making any real money. He also has the brains and emotional detachment to make the big bucks as a hit man, and that becomes his new job title. A string of successful hits gets him sent to Los Angeles for his latest job. There he is accompanied by two goons: one who is perpetually nervous and the other who quickly worships the young man as a hero. The cold, ruthless hit man finally becomes unglued when he finds out that his latest target is a woman. She's a witness, set to testify against his boss, and guarded day and night by the police. It's her femininity that worries Claude: women are unpredictable, they don't do what you expect. Claude eventually proves that he is the unpredictable one and his own worst enemy. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

DOUBLE RATES FOR WOMEN...because a woman is always double trouble! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 December 1958 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Asesinato por contrato See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Orbit Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The abandoned movie studio location in the film is the former Charlie Chaplin Studio. See more »

Goofs

When the three are driving around in Los Angeles it is very obvious that the car is in the studio in front of a projection screen. You can see that the windshield has been removed and studio lights are reflected in Claude's sunglasses. See more »

Quotes

George: I'm George. This is Marc.
Claude: Pleased to meet you, boys. Now that we've said hello, let's see how fast we can say goodbye.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Taxi Driver (1976) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Noir existentialism
13 June 2006 | by antcol8See all my reviews

Murder by Contract is a unique little film. It operates within its own little hermetic (back- projected) world, and it is no accident that one of its main scenes is set on an abandoned film studio. Vince Edwards plays a disaffected antihero, and, with its brilliant minimalistic guitar score (by Perry Botkin) it could be possible to read this film as Jarmushian WAY avant la lettre! The ending is quite disappointing - the film just kind of peters out, but there are so many beautifully observed details along the way. Not for nothing is the great Lucien Ballard the cinematographer. But who is Irving Lerner and what happened to him? Hershel Bernardi plays such a perfect kind of Second Avenue Theater role as one of the two "boys" who are the hit-man's handlers, and the over-sensitive call-girl scene is hilarious. Highly recommended - see it in a theater if you can! A film like this makes me angry at films like the way - over-hyped Reservoir Dogs. That film is SO overdetermined - the antithesis of a modest work like this one, which only reveals itself to the patient viewer.


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