The Stone Killer/Fun Facts

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< The Stone Killer
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  • In the novel, the main character is called Derek Torry, not Lou, and the entire story is set in the UK.
  • Final theatrical feature film of actor Walter Burke.
  • The name of the reclusive hippie monastic religious commune in Carmel in California, USA was the "Ashram of the Circulating Light".
  • Underworld settings in the USA featured in the movie included Skid Row in Los Angeles and Little Italy and Spanish Harlem in New York City.
  • This violent cop movie was released just over 18 months after Clint Eastwood's violent cop movie, Dirty Harry (1971). The tagline on this picture's main American movie poster and DVD reads: "This cop plays dirty!". Roger Ebert said that this film was " . . . probably the best violent big-city police movie since 'Dirty Harry'" and "Digital Retribution" said that this movie " . . . is very much a post-'Dirty Harry' genre flick and Bronson's [Detective] Torrey reflects that in spades."
  • John Ritter and Norman Fell play police officers in this film. Three years later they would team up again in the hit TV series Three's Company (1976).
  • A "stone killer" is an underworld term for a professional hitman who kills with no remorse or conscience.
  • Actress Kelley Miles is the daughter of legendary American actress Vera Miles.
  • Although the title of the movie is "The Stone Killer", on the film leaders before each reel the title is given as "Stone Killers".
  • The unsettling poster Bronson's character has in his apartment is a detail from "Saturn Devouring His Son" a painting by Spanish artist Francisco Goya.
  • Stuart Margolin, who plays a professional killer in this film, would also appear with Charles Bronson in his next film, Death Wish (1974), but as a friend of Bronson's character.
  • The film was based on the novel "A Complete State of Death" (1969) by John Gardner, but for this film, the title was changed to "The Stone Killer", the lead character's name was changed from Derek Torry to Lou Torrey, and the setting was changed from the UK to the USA.
  • Roy Budd's main titles theme is sampled by Daniel Dumile (aka MF Doom) in his Special Herbs mixes on the track "Wormwood" as well as two tracks on the King Geedorah (aka MF Doom) album "Take Me to Your Leader".
  • The film was first released about four years after its source novel "A Complete State of Death" by John Gardner had been first published in 1969.
  • The film's title is a variation on one of several names that have been applied to star Charles Bronson: "Stoneface" or "Old Stoneface".
  • The film's French title for this film is "Le Cercle Noir" which translates into the English language as "The Black Circle". Three years before this film was made, French director Jean-Pierre Melville made a gangster movie called Le Cercle Rouge (1970), which translates into the English language as "The Red Circle".
  • Third of six films that Charles Bronson made with director Michael Winner. Prior to this film they made Chato's Land (1972) and The Mechanic (1972) and after-wards they collaborated on Death Wish (1974), Death Wish II (1982) and Death Wish 3 (1985).
  • The UK Region 2 DVD released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in 2009 is the full uncut version of the film.
  • The picture was originally set up at United Artists.
  • The phrase of the title of the movie's source novel by John Gardner, "A Complete State of Death", is featured as a line of dialogue in the film spoken by Charles Bronson.
  • Actor Martin Balsam received a 'co-starring' credit.
  • Second and final [to date, April 2017] filmed adaptation of a John Gardner novel. The first had been the The Liquidator (1965) which had debuted around eight years earlier.
  • John Ritter and Charles Bronson both passed in 2003 almost two weeks apart; Bronson 8/30, Ritter 9/11.
  • The helicopter Lou takes out to the desert is a 1961 Bell 47J-2 Ranger, registration N73202, serial number 1850. In 1988 it was sold to a party in Australia, registered there as VH-NHR and was still registered there as of 2017.
  • Ralph Waite and John Ritter, who share a scene together, both playing cops, would be reunited on the TV series The Waltons. The same goes for John Ritter and Norman Fell on Three's Company.
  • The next year, Paul Koslo would play another antagonist verses Charles Bronson, in Mr. Majestyk.
  • Michael Winner used many creative camera angles in all his films, especially the ones with Charles Bronson, including the very first shot which is intentionally symbolic of beauty being replaced with urban decay: The first thing we see is an extreme closeup of a fresh-green leaf from a tree: then the camera backs up quickly to the grungy streets, where Bronson parks his vehicle.
  • Stuart Margolin, who plays the strategist of the assassins, would have an equally important role in the following years' Death Wish as the Arizona landowner who hires Charles Bronson's firm to develop buildings. His character gets the vigilante ball rolling by giving Bronson's Paul Kersey a gun.
  • Along with being influenced by Dirty Harry (and even Shaft for that matter), The Godfather was most likely another influence given the important mobster plot-line. Ironically, Martin Balsam, the head Don, appeared in On The Waterfront with The Godfather himself, Marlon Brando.
  • Gus Lipper is the name of the hoodlum who gets busted, and his last name, "Lipper", is spoken ten times despite the fact he's in the movie under 10-minutes. John Ritter, who plays the arresting officer, contributed to at least 6 of those. And we're counting the last name in plural form as well since Charles Tyner describes young hoods to Charles Bronson as possibly becoming "A Generation of Lippers."
  • Along with the Dirty Harry similarities, Lou Torrey, played by Charles Bronson, has some Film Noir elements within his character and the story: He goes from place to place within a dangerous city (two cities actually) investigating a string of last-names, most which turn out to be red-herrings, only to discover a bigger, more sinister plan behind the smaller crimes leading up. Also, Torrey wears the usual gumshoe trench coat and hat.
  • Though Charles Bronson plays a violent cop, he also distances himself from being violent for no reason when he mentions the kid he killed (in the very beginning) was afraid, and trying to climb over "the white wall" of society. Also, he separates himself from the racist cop (Ralph Waite) by telling him "you're Southern hostilities are showing" as well as shooting the cop dirty looks when he makes racist comments about an African American perpetrator.
  • Available as a limited edition Twilight Time Blu Ray along with other Charles Bronson movies like The Mechanic and Chato's Land (also directed by Michael Winner) and Cannon Films' Murphy's Law and 10 to Midnight.
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