Kiss Me Deadly

I have an older CD friend, Kelly, whom I try to visit about once a month, one of the first people I met when I moved to L.A., back in the days of the old Queen Mary club (long since closed) – and we only watch old movies when we get together, usually with a glass of wine or two to get in the mood.

Another online CD friend recently sent me a nice DVD of the 1955 Film Noir classic, “Kiss Me Deadly” and my L.A. friend and I really enjoyed it – it’s deeply weird and dark. The dialogue is so hard boiled that it’s nearly a parody of Film Noir and yet it’s also one of the best ever made in that genre. I actually saw it on a little black and white TV back in the late ’90s and it made a big impression then, especially the “What the hell?!” ending, which years later provided inspiration for movies like “Repo Man” and “Pulp Fiction.”

Of course the bondage in the publicity still above is totally lame, and actually very misleading, as there’s no female bondage in the movie at all. The only bondage, and it’s unimpressive, involves the actor who plays Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker) as he does get spreadeagled face down briefly. And the dames never actually hold a gun up to one another, though the picture down below makes me wish they did.

A few of the many strange things about the movie is that the big mystery is never solved, or ever really explained, there are no heroic characters at all – Mike Hammer is a violent cad and not that bright – and again there’s that weird ending. But Gaby Rogers in her two-tone suit looks really cute with her short hair. (Poignant side note after looking her up on Wikipedia: she was born in Germany, her family fled to escape the Nazis, and apparently she played marbles with Anne Frank when they were both children.)

Apparently the director and writer both used the movie as a way to insert their ideas about the Cold War and the atomic age into an otherwise pedestrian Mickey Spillane novel, the source material for which they both had little regard. From what I’ve read Mickey Spillane was not pleased and the movie was dismissed as trash when it first came out, but the French loved it. All in all I thoroughly enjoyed it and will have to watch it again when I’m a little less tipsy – definitely worth seeing if you get the chance and especially if you like Noir.