Girl Hunters, The

1956. THE GIRL HUNTERS (1963-England). With MICKEY SPILLANE, SHIRLEY EATON, Lloyd NOLAN, Hy GARDNER. Directed by ROY ROWLAND. Co-scripted by SPILLANE and ROWLAND. Tense, hard-bitten crime drama with bristling dialogue and a most unusual twist: the hero of the story is played by the writer who created him. He is Mickey Spillane, Brooklyn-born mystery novelist, and he is cast as one of his most famous creations: Mike Hammer, brawny, durable, determined private eye. As depicted here, Hammer also is most vulnerable and human. Years before, his cherished secretary, Velda, had mysteriously disappeared, resulting in a non-stop, long-standing bout of despair Hammer has become an acute alcoholic, a “filthy drunken bum” who “belongs in the garbage.” He finds himself thrust back into the world he knows best-a seamy atmosphere of violence, dames and duplicity. Hammer is called upon to question a shotgun victim named Richie Cole, who is hospitalized and on the brink of death- Ballistic tests have determined that Cole was plugged with the same gun used to murder a powerful United Stales Senator, described as a “frightening political force. Before he dies, Cole tells Hammer that Velda is still alive, but in danger of being killed. In an instance the P.I. turns deadly sober; as the body count steadily mounts, he attempts to ascertain his secretary fate while determining the killer or killers of Cole and the senator. Among those playing key roles the story are various cops and federal agents, with various hidden agendas. The late senator’s widow is a “really stacked” coquette who relishes parading around in the skimpiest of bikinis; and, finally, The Dragon, the elusive commander of a band of “commie spies.” Caution: The print has some drop-out. Our print is “shadowboxed.” 97 minutes Crime Mystery Suspense