Summertime Killer / Un verano para matar (1972)

3.5 out of 5

In Summertime Killer Christopher Mitchum plays a baby-faced American assassin who sets out to avenge the death of his mother. His target is a powerful mobster, and on his tail is a hard-assed detective played by Karl Malden from Dario Argento's Cat Of Nine Tails. Things take a turn, however, when Mitchum kidnaps the mobster's daughter, played by Olivia Hussey, and the two become romantically involved.

Summertime Killer is a nicely shot film, but it suffers a little in the pacing department when, on more than one occasion, the wonderfully choreographed and rather dangerous-looking car and motorcycle stunt sequences come to a screeching halt in order to make room for the hostage subplot, where the kidnapped Hussey gradually takes a liking to her captor. The pacing doesn't truly hinder ones level of enjoyment, but it does reduce the film to more of a Crime-Drama than a balls-out Crime film. Acting-wise, Mitchum and Hussey are fine, but it's Malden who comes through with the most solid performance of the bunch - his naturally likable demeanor making it easy to invest in his character, whereas Mitchum lacks the charisma necessary to make him a strong leading man and Hussey's role seems to be that of eye candy.

Those looking for a gritty Eurocrime film might be a bit disappointed, but Summertime Killer is still quite good for what it is, especially thanks to its great ending. It features an outstanding musical score and stars Claudine Auger from Mario Bava's Bay Of Blood in a small role. Recommended.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics