sat 26/09/2020

DVD: Kiss Me Deadly | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Kiss Me Deadly

DVD: Kiss Me Deadly

Robert Aldrich's masterful Cold War noir embraces classicism, modernism, and trash

The inedible hunk: Ralph Meeker as Hammer and Maxine Cooper as Velda in 'Kiss Me Deadly'The Criterion Collection

AI Bezzerides, who scripted Kiss Me Deadly (1955) for director Robert Aldrich, thought Mickey Spillane’s pulp novel was trash. Spillane, offended that Bezzerides changed so much, couldn’t understand why the film became a cult favorite in France; one of its admirers was François Truffaut, who tracked down Bezzerides and congratulated him in a phonecall. Depicting the search of the bedroom peeper Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker) for “the Great Whatsit” - narcotics in the book, a box of fissionable material on screen - Aldrich’s film is a Cold War masterpiece that deconstructed Spillane’s vigilante dick and the right-wing values he espouses by making him materialistic, anti-intellectual, impotent, and even more sadistic and misogynistic than he is on the page.

AI Bezzerides, who scripted Kiss Me Deadly (1955) for director Robert Aldrich, thought Mickey Spillane’s pulp novel was trash. Spillane, offended that Bezzerides changed so much, couldn’t understand why the film became a cult favorite in France; one of its admirers was François Truffaut, who tracked down Bezzerides and congratulated him in a phonecall. Depicting the search of the bedroom peeper Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker) for “the Great Whatsit” - narcotics in the book, a box of fissionable material on screen - Aldrich’s film is a Cold War masterpiece that deconstructed Spillane’s vigilante dick and the right-wing values he espouses by making him materialistic, anti-intellectual, impotent, and even more sadistic and misogynistic than he is on the page.

Hammer is materialistic, anti-intellectual, impotent, and even more sadistic and misogynistic than he is on the page

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