Murder by Contract (1958) Vince Edwards, Phillip Pine, Herschel Bernardi, Caprice Toriel, Michael Granger, Kathie Browne Movie Review

Murder by Contract (1958)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Vince Edwards in Murder by Contract (1958)

Claude's a Cool Cat

Claude (Vince Edwards) had a decent job, he made okay money but he wanted more which is why he offered his services to Mr. Moon (Michael Granger) to become a contract killer. And as it turns out he has a real knack for killing because he has trained himself not only to prepare but to be cold and ruthless, emotionless when it comes to do his job. But after a series of successful jobs he finds himself sent to LA where he is met by a couple of goons who find him curious as not only is he one cool cat he seems to show no interest what so ever in learning about who the hit is. But Claude finds his usual coolness upset when he discovers that not only is the person heavily guarded as they are due to testify against his boss but the target is a woman, Billie Williams (Caprice Toriel) and women are notoriously unpredictable.

What's the catch, what's the reveal, where is this going? These were the thoughts running through my head as "Murder by Contract" because this thriller, it is most certainly not noir, does not give anything away. As such what we see is this handsome young man, Claude, becoming a killer almost robotic in the way he goes about life, not allowing thoughts and emotions to get the better of him, almost predictable in the way he lives his life. But what we then get is to see how his coolness and predictable ways are shot apart as he finds himself hired to kill a woman. The thing is that whilst we watch Claude try and work out how to kill Billie whilst also dealing with a couple of goons you keep expecting there to be something more, some thing duplicitous going on because it can't be this simple.

Now the curious nature of "Murder by Contract" is intriguing but so is the performance from Vince Edwards as he delivers this wonderful mix. During the first half he is the epitome of emotionless as we watch him go about his day, doing what he has to do and with no expression of sadness, disappointment or anything. Even during the middle stages as he finds himself having to deal with his chaperones in Marc and George his coolness is completely fascinating. But then is watching how this cool, cold character suddenly becomes unpredictable and clouded in his thoughts when he finds himself having to kill a woman.

But here is the thing about "Murder by Contract" it isn't the most stylish, it doesn't use shadows to convey atmosphere, it also doesn't have a great deal of character. But it has this air about it, this slightly playful tone with light music and touches of humour which keeps you drawn in to the story, well that combined with the sense there has to be more to this and the character of Claude than meets the eye.

What this all boils down to is that "Murder by Contract" hasn't got the greatest story, it doesn't have a great deal of characters and the production isn't that fancy. But between a wonderful performance from Vince Edwards and this curious air about the drama it keeps you involved and needing to know what happens.