WriterJoseph Landon, John McPartland Release dateOct 19, 1963 Costume designGwen Fitzer, Andrew Pallack GenresDrama, Thriller, Gangster Film, Film adaptation, Crime Thriller CastHenry Silva (Johnny Cool / Salvatore Giordano), Elizabeth Montgomery (Darien 'Dare' Guiness), Richard Anderson (Correspondent), Jim Backus (Louis Murphy), Joey Bishop (Holmes, Used Car Salesman), Brad Dexter (Lennart Crandall) Similar moviesMad Max: Fury Road, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, I Spit on Your Grave III: Vengeance is Mine, Taken 3, Dredd, Black Moon Rising
TaglineDon't let his looks fool you. He's the coldest killer of killers who ever lived!
Johnny Cool is a 1963 neo noir crime film directed by William Asher based on the novel The Kingdom of Johnny Cool by John McPartland which stars Henry Silva and Elizabeth Montgomery. Produced in part by Peter Lawford, Johnny Cool features a cast that also includes Mort Sahl, Telly Savalas, Jim Backus, Joey Bishop, and Sammy Davis, Jr., who also sings the theme song.
Johnny Colini, an exiled American living in Rome, rescues Salvatore Giordano, a young Sicilian outlaw, from the police. After Giordano is groomed, polished, and renamed "Johnny Cool," Colini sends him on a mission of vengeance to the United States to assassinate the men who plotted his downfall and enforced exile. Johnny arrives in New York and quickly kills several of the underworld figures on Colini's list.
Meanwhile, he picks up Darien "Dare" Guiness, a wealthy divorcée who becomes his accomplice, she is later severely beaten by the gangsters as a warning to Johnny against pursuing his vendetta. Soon the FBI becomes involved, and when Johnny and Dare bomb the Hollywood home of gangster Lennart Crandall, the police are able to identify Dare's car when she panics and leaves it parked on the street. The two had separated and planned to meet later, but Dare, abruptly realizing that Johnny is a vicious killer, tells his enemies where to find him. She then surrenders herself to the FBI, as Johnny is being tortured by his captors at the film's conclusion.
Henry Silva as Johnny Cool / Salvatore Giordano
Elizabeth Montgomery as Darien "Dare" Guinness
Richard Anderson as Correspondent
Jim Backus as Louis Murphy
Joey Bishop as Holmes, Used Car Salesman
Brad Dexter as Lennart Crandall
Mort Sahl as Ben Morrow
Telly Savalas as Vincenzo 'Vince' Santangelo
Sammy Davis, Jr. as Educated
Marc Lawrence as Johnny Colini
John McGiver as Oscar B. 'Oby' Hinds
Joseph Calleia as tourist
Clegg Hoyt as Craps Player
Film Score and Soundtrack
The film score was composed, arranged and conducted by Billy May, and the soundtrack album was released on the United Artists label in 1963. Allmusic's Steven McDonald noted "This soundtrack manages to mix the early '60s caper-flick brand of jazz with the darker feel of 1950s film noir -- a genre to which Johnny Cool was a deliberate throwback."
All compositions by Billy May except as indicated
"The Lizard" - 2:38
"Window Washer" - 2:37
"Dare's Affair" - 2:40
"Borrow a Knife" - 1:47
"Johnny Cool Theme" - 2:19
"Morning in Balboa" - 2:14
"Nice Quiet Saloon" - 2:35
"Green Tables Blues" - 3:16
"The Coolest Pad" - 3:18
"Juan Coolisto" - 2:19
"Bee Boom" (Les Vandyke) - 2:14
"The Ballad Of Johnny Cool" (Jimmy Van Heusen, Sammy Cahn) - 2:58