Student Bud Corliss is wooing Dorother Kingship purely for her father's mining fortune. When he finds she is pregnant he realises she is likely to be disinherited, so cleverly stages her suicide. After a couple of months her sister back home finds evidence to question the suicide verdict, but by then has a new boyfriend of her own... Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
Set against the backdrop of the shiny 1950s, "A Kiss Before Dying" is a taunt thriller that can arguably be voted the predecessor of many modern thrillers.
When the film starts, it looks like a glamorous, teenybopper flick. The opening song compliments this heavily, as does the numerous logos and neon colours used in the opening credits. Thinking back on it now, I find it to be a very unusual, brilliant style of film-making that isn't seen very often. It tricks the viewer into something it is not. It is not a 1950s college comedy, but a relentless thriller with lots of unexpected twists and turns. I thought this movie was going to be tame, being a 1950s film and all, but I was pleasantly surprised in how raw the plot was in some places.
A young Robert Wagner portrays Bud Corliss, a darkly handsome college student with an obsessive taste for riches and fine dining. Bud is a trouble 25 year-old man who still lives at home with his aging widowed mother (Mary Astor). He feels unfulfilled in his life and a little uncertain about his future. Dorothy Kingship (Joanne Woodward), a girl with whom he is having a secret relationship with, may be the only glimmer of hope that will lift him up out of his bland, disappointing life. Dorothy's father is incredibly wealthy, and Bud knows this. However, Dorie falls pregnant and Bud is threatened with disinheritance and the inevitable prospect of working as a gas station attendant in order to pay the bills for his wife a baby. This is where the film really takes off and we get to see how dark, desperate and evil Bud really is.
Bud devises a plan: stage his girlfriends suicide. The plan seems simple enough and actually works in Bud's favour. He is free of Dorie and the prospect of disinheritance, and is now able to court Dorie's older sister, Ellen (Virginia Leith), who is totally oblivious of the fact that Bud is Dorie's old flame (and murderer). Enter rookie detective Gordon Grant (Jeffrey Hunter), an intelligent young man who questions the circumstances surrounding Dorie's death, as well as the integrity of Ellen's new lover, Bud. He just has to put the gruesome pieces together to solve the complex puzzle of deceit and murder.
I recommend this movie to fans of the thriller genre, as well as those who want to take a trip down memory lane. Great film with top performance by all. Kudos to Jeffrey Hunter.
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