kiss me deadly
Kiss Me Deadly will be playing this coming weekend (April 28th & 29th) as part of the Northwest Film Center’s Film Noir series, “Killer Ladies.” In the 1940s and 50s, Film Noir combined the grim vision of the American hard-boiled detective novel with the dramatic camera angles and lighting of German expressionist cinema, and Kiss Me Deadly is considered a late masterpiece of the genre. Directed in 1955 by Robert Aldrich, the film draws its title, though little else, from a Mickey Spillane book. It opens with a barefoot woman in a trenchcoat stopping a car on a dark road. The hitchhiker, Christina Bailey, played by Cloris Leachman, and the driver, private detective Mike Hammer, played by Ralph Meeker, are themselves stopped by mysterious thugs who torture them and leave them for dead. Mike survives, and his subsequent interrogation by interstate police convinces him that he’s on to something big, and potentially profitable. With the help of his secretary Velda, played by Maxine Cooper, he pursues the secret that Christina was hiding, and along the way encounters her supposed former roommate, Lily Carver, played by Gaby Rogers, as well as an opera singer, an art dealer, a number of boxers, and assorted cops, thugs, and other sadists wielding knives, guns, and hypodermic needles.
For more on femmes fatales and film noir, listen to the Old Mole Variety Hour tomorrow (April 23), or check out these links.