Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
Naked pair of feet, running on cold asphalt, headlights catches her image and car swivels out of control edging into the wilderness. Only that the driver of the car had been Mike Hammer, private detective.
Unsettling right from the beginning ‘Kiss me Deadly’ narrates events as bizarre as possible and somehow keeps the mystery till the very end, this in fact is the success of the film is what I believe; the very inability not only in classifying the film but also in describing it.
Mickey Spillane’s contribution to the world of pulp, Mike Hammer is the tough guy equivalent of a fox, playing the dice on both sides of the table for so long, Mike Hammer is awakened morally by a near naked girl running away from the mad house; who speaks at length on poetry and psychoanalysis in the short time she accompanies him, and so begins his quest.
Through the course of the film Mike meets person after person in a desperate attempt to find ‘that’ secret , with each person mouthing out their own philosophies and having hidden agendas, after a point it seems however that there is no apparent agenda other than the suppression of secrets.
People might argue about the film’s wafer thin plot, but now close to sixty years after the films initial release; the director smiles through the film signifying how plot intricacies are so yesterday. But then Robert Aldrich botches up a last minute explanation for the whole thing, I don’t know if the film would have reached a greater audience if any such explanation was not given; but it would have been more sincere than ‘those’ three words.
Kiss me Deadly is one of the most intriguing movies I have ever seen, instils a sense that cinema is essentially visual than verbal, having said that the dialog here sparkles too; a default characteristic of film noir . Even while watching it, we will realize it is unlike any other.