In this atomic adaptation of Mickey Spillane’s novel, directed by Robert Aldrich, the good manners of the 1950s are blown to smithereens. Ralph Meeker stars as snarling private dick Mike Hammer, whose decision one dark, lonely night to pick up a hitchhiking woman sends him down some terrifying byways. Brazen and bleak, Kiss Me Deadly is a film noir masterpiece as well as an essential piece of cold war paranoia, and it features as nervy an ending as has ever been seen in American cinema. –The Criterion Collection
Robert Burgess Aldrich was born in Cranston, Rhode Island, the son of Lora Lawson and newspaper publisher Edward B. Aldrich. He was a grandson of U.S. Senator Nelson W. Aldrich and a cousin to Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller. He was educated at the Moses Brown School, Providence, Rhode Island, and studied economics at the University of Virginia. In 1941, he left university for a minor job at the RKO Radio Pictures, thus beginning his career as a cinéaste.
He quickly rose in film production as an assistant director, he worked with Jean Renoir, Abraham Polonsky, Joseph Losey and Charlie Chaplin, working with the latter as an assistant on Limelight. He became a television director in the 1950s, directing his first feature film, The Big Leaguer, in 1953. In that time, Aldrich was the rare American example of the auteur film maker, depicting his liberal humanist thematic vision in many genres, in films such as Kiss Me Deadly (1955), today a film noir classic, The Big Knife (1955), a cinematic… read more
It's always great to find one of those films that is an evident inspiration on modern cinema while still carrying on in it's own genre. This film is one of those gems. Not only does Aldrich give us a gripping film noir story, filled with intrigue, danger, tough guys, Spillane-esque femmes fatale, and the like, the film also leaves so much to the imagination. Especially concerning the Post-WWII sentiment. Great film.
After a bit of a slow and confusing but thrilling beginning, this film really packs its punch and never lets go. Good puzzler that'll leave you more puzzled when you're done with the movie but you're glad it did. Great cinematography, great use of real locations, good harsh dialogue, and solid acting by all the leads. A noir treat!
Criterion releases Kiss Me Deadly on DVD and Blu-ray today and, for the occasion, they're running an essay by J Hoberman adapted from his book
A new issue of Bright Lights Film Journal boasting six book reviews and the publication on March 15 of J Hoberman's An Army of Phantoms: American
Sordid, sultry, striking black-and-white, yet hardly formulaic, possessing distinctive chemistry, writing that sparks but which feels almost natural for a film noir, even its soundscape. Meeker – indomitable… read review
Robert Aldrich’s adrenaline charged noir updates Pandora’s Box for a cold war generation no less, and delivers a cynical kick in the nuts to an anesthetised, Eisenhower consumerist culture, where the… read review
(Originally posted at www.tkatthemovies.com)
Curiosity killed the cat, or in the case of Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly, it kills nearly every character. This Cold War-era film noir is fraught… read review