Johnny Cool

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Johnny Cool
Johnny Cool FilmPoster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWilliam Asher
Written byJoseph Landon
John McPartland (novel)
StarringHenry Silva
Elizabeth Montgomery
Richard Anderson
Jim Backus
Mort Sahl
Joey Bishop
Brad Dexter
Telly Savalas
Sammy Davis, Jr
Music byBilly May
Chrislaw Productions
Avernus Productions
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
October 19, 1963
Running time
103 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,500,000[1]

Johnny Cool is a 1963 American neo-noir[2] 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.[3] 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" Guinness, 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.


Film score and soundtrack[edit]

Johnny Cool
Soundtrack album by
Hollywood, CA
GenreFilm score
LabelUnited Artists
UAL 4111/UAS 5111
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars[4]

The film score was composed, arranged and conducted by Billy May, and the soundtrack album was released on the United Artists label in 1963.[5] 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."[4]

Track listing[edit]

All compositions by Billy May except as indicated

  1. "The Lizard" - 2:38
  2. "Window Washer" - 2:37
  3. "Dare's Affair" - 2:40
  4. "Borrow a Knife" - 1:47
  5. "Johnny Cool Theme" - 2:19
  6. "Morning in Balboa" - 2:14
  7. "Nice Quiet Saloon" - 2:35
  8. "Green Tables Blues" - 3:16
  9. "The Coolest Pad" - 3:18
  10. "Juan Coolisto" - 2:19
  11. "Bee Bom" (Les Vandyke) - 2:14
  12. "The Ballad Of Johnny Cool" (Jimmy Van Heusen, Sammy Cahn) - 2:58



  1. ^ a b Lawford Like No Other Commuter By Bob Thomas. The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973); Washington, D.C. [Washington, D.C]18 Oct 1964: G6.
  2. ^ Silver, Alain; Ward, Elizabeth; Ursini, James; Porfirio, Robert (2010). Film Noir: The Encyclopaedia. Overlook Duckworth (New York). ISBN 978-1-59020-144-2.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b McDonald, Stephen. Johnny Cool – Review at AllMusic. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  5. ^ Edwards, D., Callahan, M., Eyries, P., Watts, R., & Neely, T. United Artists UAL-40000/UAL 4000 mono/UAS 5000 stereo Series accessed March 30, 2016

External links[edit]