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[DVDVRMC] KISS ME DEADLY (Aldrich, 1955)


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I love this movie.  I've only seen it once, should definitely rewatch it soon.  I've got an old review for it archived somewhere (a mere three paragraphs iirc, sorry) and I'll post that up here shortly.  

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the first time I watched Kiss Me Deadly, it felt unlike most noir's I'd ever seen. It felt like something strange was happening, like there was a big joke that I wasn't in on. The women were uber-sexed up, but they didn't feel like 2 bit dames. They were smarter than the hero, and would comment on his shallowness. Then the introduction of the great whatsit, and with the last 15 minutes I understood everything.

 

This is the end. This is how the hard boiled noir world ends.

 

The reason Kiss Me Deadly is one of my favorite films is because it is the apocalypse of the film noir genre. Noir's are usually about some type of disenfranchisement, generally capitalism and the american dream. Character's have seen the underside of this dream and realized it's for suckers. So they either become the low life thugs that try to nail that one big score, like in Kubrick's the Killing OR they become the low life detective/PI who tries to keep order in a chaotic world of deceit. In this world of the noir, we're at the bottom, and all the big titans of the world could battle it out on their own. But in the early 50's the Cold War came to main street( a title of a great book, which you should check out), and with it the Red Scare and the Age of the Atom. The titans, like in Dr. Strangelove, were on the verge of blowing everyone up. 

 

Kiss Me Deadly is the realization of those fears, while at the same time deconstructing the genre during its last ride. And in the end its message is the simple noir is gone, we're in the fucking Twilight Zone now. 

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I can't find my damn writeup, so I'll just say: yeah, what jaedmc said.  Noirs often start with a beautiful woman getting murdered, but it's usually not quite as nihilistic as "she's stripped naked, tied to a bedframe and tortured to death while the "hero" is in the room hearing her scream and being utterly impotent and unable to do anything".  And then the ending is just the most unbelievable Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies moment imaginable.  It's amazing that this one even made it past the Hayes Office; maybe they sent those guys the alternate cut, where we see the survivors running into the ocean to presumably escape the blast.  

 

Speaking of which: I assume the novel ended differently?  I tried to read the first Mike Hammer novel I, the Jury one time, and found it to be despicable overbaked trash.  The book starts with private detective Hammer at the crime scene of his partner's murder, and the cops literally tell him "Well Mike, we know there's nothing we can do to stop you from murdering whoever did this.  Just... please don't."  And then SPOILER the book ends with him shooting an unarmed naked woman in the stomach and leaving her to die slow.  What a fucking hero.  Fuck Mickey Spillane.  

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I saw this either back as undergrad or grad school film claas.

I still think the idea of "southern cal" Mike Hammer is a weird one. He's almost more Peter Gunn.

I love the nihilistic ending.

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Speaking of which: I assume the novel ended differently?  I tried to read the first Mike Hammer novel I, the Jury one time, and found it to be despicable overbaked trash.  The book starts with private detective Hammer at the crime scene of his partner's murder, and the cops literally tell him "Well Mike, we know there's nothing we can do to stop you from murdering whoever did this.  Just... please don't."  And then SPOILER the book ends with him shooting an unarmed naked woman in the stomach and leaving her to die slow.  What a fucking hero.  Fuck Mickey Spillane.  

The movie is quite different from the book. I think there's only one line in the movie that's from the book and it's something Leachman says in the car. There's no nuclear business. Robert Aldrich and AI Bezzerides, the film's writer, wanted to subvert the novel, creating scenarios that call into question Hammer's status as not only a "hero" but as a "man". 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Yeah, lots of weird gender stuff in the picture.

Could you elaborate? I didn't notice anything too "weird" about the depiction of gender. Certainly Mike Hammer's already emphasized masculinity is further emphasized.

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