A frightened woman is running barefoot on a highway, trying desperately to flag a car. After several cars pass her by, the woman sees another car approaching, and to make sure either the car stops, or, she's killed, she stands in the path of the oncoming car. Private Investigator Mike Hammer is the one at the wheel, and after almost hitting the woman, he tells her to get in. The woman's name is Christina Bailey. She is obviously on the run, being barefoot and wearing nothing but a trench coat, and the scent of fear. Whoever was after her eventually catches up with them. Christina has information they want, but dies while being questioned. The killers fake an accident by pushing Hammer's car off the road, but he survives, waking up in hospital two weeks later. As Mike starts to investigate Christina's death, he's told by the police to stay out of it, but, the hard-nosed private investigator proceeds anyways. Little did he know that Christina's secret would lead to death and destruction.Written by
Although Victor Saville is credited as Executive Producer and Director Robert Aldrich is credited only as Producer, in reality, Aldrich had it written into his contract that he had complete control over the picture, and it would be made the way he wanted it, specifically stipulating that his decisions could not be overruled by any studio representative. See more »
When Hammer is brought to the beach house for the first time by the 2 thugs and is trying to escape the ensuing brief chase and fight is shown in alternating close ups and from distance. The shots from distance clearly show different actors, stand-ins for the thugs than those playing them in the close-ups and throughout the movie. See more »
The opening credits scroll down instead of the usual up, resulting in needing to read them bottom to top. See more »
In the truncated version only four shots of the exploding beach house can still be seen, while the original ending had sixteen shots (totaling over 80 seconds of additional screen time), showing the explosion from new different angles intercut with shots of: Mike and Velda dragging themselves on the beach towards the camera with the burning house behind them; Mike and Velda seen from behind, walking from the camera towards the surf, lightened by the flames projecting long shadows on the sand; and finally Mike and Velda huddled together, kneeling in the water and watching the house burn down as "The End" is superimposed on the screen. See more »
Tough and surreal Noir classic gets better and better with age.
'Kiss Me Deadly' is an overlooked crime gem that has proved to be a major influence on subsequent film makers from the French New Wave to cult classics 'Repo Man' and 'Pulp Fiction'. It's a movie which gets better and better with age. Director Robert Aldrich manages to put lots of style and interesting touches which sometimes border on the surreal into this toughest of tough guy movies. Ralph Meeker ('Paths Of Glory', 'The Dirty Dozen', 'The Anderson Tapes') is well cast as Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer. Meeker's Hammer is brutal and his performance really makes this one work. The supporting cast are all very good too, especially Albert Dekker ('The Wild Bunch') as Dr Soberin and Maxine Cooper as Hammer's "assistant" Velda. Also keep an eye out for the debut of Cloris Leachman is the striking opening sequence. The "great whatsit" which Hammer searches for is one of the great movie gimmicks, and the ending will blow you away - literally. I loved this movie from beginning to end. I think it ranks alongside 'Out Of The Past' (Tourneur), 'The Asphalt Jungle' (Huston), 'Double Indemnity' (Wilder), 'The Killing' (Kubrick) and 'The Killers (Siegel)' as one of the greatest and most influential American crime movies, and I'm sure Scorcese and Tarantino would be the first to agree. Highly recommended.
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