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Bill Saunders, disturbed ex-soldier, kills a man in a postwar London pub brawl. Fleeing, he hides out in the apartment of lonely nurse Jane Wharton. Later, despite misgivings about his violent nature, Jane becomes involved with Bill, who resolves to reform. She gets him a job driving a medical supplies truck. But racketeer Harry Carter, who witnessed the killing, wants to use Bill's talents for crime. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Burt Lancaster's flogging ranks 43rd in the book, "Lash! The Hundred Great Scenes of Men Being Whipped in the Movies." Curiously, while he's sentenced to receive 18 lashes, in the book on which this movie is based, his character is sentenced to receive only 10 lashes. See more »
The story takes place in England, where automobiles and trucks are right-hand drive; but the truck Bill drives is left-hand drive. See more »
[to Bill Saunders]
... furthermore, although these appear to be first offenses, in view of the brutal nature of the assault, I have no alternative but to direct that you receive eighteen lashes of the cat-o'-nine-tails.
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Lancaster, Fontaine noir doesn't quite live up to lurid title
Film noir tended to flaunt provocative titles, but few of them have set sail under a banner so arresting as Kiss The Blood Off My Hands. Parsed down, this translates simply as Redemption Through Love. Hot-tempered American seaman Burt Lancaster jumps ship in London and kills a man in a pub brawl. Chased through the labyrinthine byways of the postwar city, he climbs into Joan Fontaine's life. A spark ignites, but, terrified by his rages, she leaves him -- to a spell in prison for robbery and assault as well as a graphic lashing with a cat-o'-nine-tails.
Six months later they meet again. Fontaine finds him a job as a lorry driver for the clinic where she works as a nurse. But a slithery Cockney (Robert Newton), witness to the unsolved pub killing, blackmails him into to helping to hijack his cargo of penicillin, worth a fortune on the black market. Fontaine's unexpected presence throws a monkey wrench into the scheme, and Newton decides to use her as his instrument of revenge. But it turns out that she, too, can lash out when cornered....
In its setting more congenial to Sherlock Holmes than to Philip Marlowe, Kiss The Blood Off My Hands lacks something in the way of snap and sass, though its fog-bound nightscapes spook up the story. More romantic and, ultimately, upbeat than its transatlantic cousins, the movie upholds its noir pedigree by abandoning its protagonists to desperate circumstances. But it's a pity that Fontaine is kept such a saintly helpmate; in Ivy and Born to Be Bad, she showed her dark side, too.
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