Written by Bamboo
Johnny Cool is a black and white movie made in 1963 starring Henry Silva and Elizabeth Montgomery. The movie starts in a flashback of Sicily in 1943. Giordano, as a young boy, kills a solider in an attempt to save himself and his mother. This starts him on his path to become a local Robin Hood-like hero. Early in the movie he is chased down and appears to be killed by police and soldiers. Colini, an exiled American gangster living in Rome, fabricated Giordano’s death in order to exploit his bold, emotionless ability to take down the ones who took Colini down.
Colini wants him to kill people who betrayed him in exchange for wealth. Giordano is not interested but sees he has no choice but to accept. After Giordano is cleaned up, polished, and renamed “Johnny Cool,” Colini sends him on a vengeance mission to the United States to assassinate the men who plotted his downfall and enforced his exile.
We now see Johnny Cool in a bar playing the part of a high-roller, tough-guy type who everyone seems to want to know more about. Johnny meets Dare (Elizabeth Montgomery) at a restaurant where he was in the beginning stages of his first assassination. After a date with Dare, Johnny gets called to an underground gambling room to play craps. Johnny realizes he is being scammed and pulls a gun (on the character played by Sammy Davis Jr.) and takes his money back before leaving and roughing up the guys who were running the room.
Meanwhile, Dare gets harassed by police. They ask about Johnny, and when she tells them she doesn’t know anything, they rape and beat her before leaving. Johnny takes a knife and goes looking for the two cops who roughed up his girl; he kills them both with her kitchen knife. Johnny moves around New York and quickly kills several of the underworld figures on Colini’s list. As Johnny continues to kill the people he was sent to kill, he realizes he is being used. He ends up trying to run away with Dare, whose life he has forever changed. Jonny is now killing all the people trying to kill him. Dare ends up betraying him, and he gets caught and most likely killed.
The disc is from MGM’s “on demand” line, meaning it’s a made-to-order DVD-R. The image is pretty solid; small marks and imperfections are noticeable, but there’s a nice layer of film grain, and it’s overall clean and clear. Audio is a workable mono track. The only extra is a quite interesting trailer that asks the question, “Who is Johnny Cool?” and offers up some amusing answers from Davis, Montgomery, Lawford, and Silva. The movie starts and ends with a song about Johnny Cool.
Johnny Cool is not a bad movie for its time, made in 1963 and as far as old black and white movies go it’s fun to watch. It’s cool watching Elizabeth Montgomery before her Bewitched days. The movie doesn’t come together very well; it’s a little hard to follow at times with so many new people being introduced. I was not a fan of the fight scenes, or the ending of the story; however, I did for the most part enjoy the movie. If you are in the mood to watch an old black and white flick, this one is probably as good as any to occupy your time.