Oh, I'm on a roll, baby! But I'll probably regret it in the morning. Watched Kiss Me Deadly a mere while ago. A Parklane Picture, in association with Untied Artists. Don't tell anyone, but this was the second time I watched it! I'm going to get beat up for this, but I didn't like it as much the second time. Oh, sure, it has its ingenuity, it has its taut script, but please... okay, I forgot what I was going to complain about. Okay, now I'm back on track. For me, it's not quite up there with, say, The Maltese Falcon, or other classics of the private detective genre. For one, Ralph Meeker has sort of a forced manliness compared to Bogie in Falcon. And Nick the mechanic got a little grating after a while. Boy, I must've been in a really bad mood! To be fair, he really was Greek. One guy in the cast was really nagging at me, and I was only able to piece it together after getting on the web: Wesley Addy. Where had I seen him before? Of course! Network! Good guy. Kinda looks like David Cronenberg.
Some of you faithful readers of mine may have noticed I'm turning into a bit of a... Name-ist? I'm a real stickler for names that describe things. Take Dr. Soberin, for example: W.C. Fields' famous arch-nemesis. And, for God's sake! There's a babe named Cheesecake! Lazy writing or what? On the other hand, a fine distraction as the dead bodies keep piling up and piling up. Hammer seems to spend a lot of time on the move.
But the film does have merits, more than I can think of right now. Period locations, period cars... oh, right. And it's handsomely photographed by Ernest Laszlo, who I remember best for It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. There's one, perhaps inadvertently funny scene where Hammer goes back to the office to find a letter on his desk... well, I hate to spoil it. There's pretty much everything one would expect from a hard-boiled detective story, but Mike Hammer's clearly a babe magnet. Pure animal magnetism, but he doesn't have time to indulge, and he's probably world weary as well. Some say this is director Robert Aldrich's best film. But with turbo manly epics on his resumé like The Dirty Dozen, Emperor of the North, 4 For Texas and All The Marbles, it's probably also his most subtle.
Not to be confused with: Kiss of Death, remake or original
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan