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Kiss Me Deadly (1955)

A doomed female hitchhiker pulls Mike Hammer into a deadly whirlpool of intrigue, revolving around a mysterious "great whatsit".

Director:

Robert Aldrich

Writers:

Mickey Spillane (novel), A.I. Bezzerides (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ralph Meeker ... Mike Hammer
Albert Dekker ... Dr. G.E. Soberin
Paul Stewart ... Carl Evello
Juano Hernandez ... Eddie Yeager
Wesley Addy ... Lt. Pat Murphy
Marian Carr ... Friday (as Marion Carr)
Marjorie Bennett ... Manager
Mort Marshall Mort Marshall ... Ray Diker
Fortunio Bonanova ... Carmen Trivago
Strother Martin ... Harvey Wallace
Mady Comfort ... Nightclub Singer (as Madi Comfort)
James McCallion ... Horace
Robert Cornthwaite ... FBI Agent
Silvio Minciotti Silvio Minciotti ... Mover
Nick Dennis ... Nick Va Va Voom
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Storyline

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 garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Blood red kisses! White hot thrills! Mickey Spillane's latest H-bomb! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian | Spanish

Release Date:

July 1955 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Mickey Spillane's Kiss Me Deadly See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$410,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$214, 4 May 2008, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$726,000, 31 December 1955

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$952,000, 31 December 1955
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Parklane Pictures Inc. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Glen Glenn Sound)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

When Mike Hammer is talking to the old man with the trunk in the doorway of the apartment house, a microphone is briefly visible in the upper-left portion of the archway. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mike Hammer: You almost wrecked my car! Well? Get in!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits scroll backwards (down instead of up). See more »

Alternate Versions

The complete ending footage from Robert Aldrich's version has finally been recovered from the director's own personal print, donated to the Director's Guild of America after his death. This version shows quite clearly that Mike and Velda do not die in the fire. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Southland Tales (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Rather Have the Blues
Sung by Nat 'King' Cole
Sung by Kitty White
Written by Frank De Vol (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

One of the greatest detective thrillers ever made.
28 November 1998 | by Bryan HoSee all my reviews

If The Maltese Falcon (1941) was the definitive true detective movie, The Big Sleep (1946) the definitive glamourized detective movie, and Chinatown (1974) the definitive allegorical detective movie, then Kiss Me Deadly is the definitive sleazy detective movie.

Mickey Spillane's sadistic private eye Mike Hammer, turned from successful private eye to sleazy bedroom dick, is the quintessential anti-hero, doing just about anything and everything wrong to get a piece of the pie that the characters call "The Big What's-it."

The movie survives by giving the usual Spillane buckets-of-blood story and its protagonist new dimensions. Right from the electric opening scene and the audacious opening credit sequence, the audience is drawn into Hammer's seedy world, where morality is suspended, and the credo of the end justifying the means dominates Hammer's actions. His reckless abandonment is almost never questionned and the film seems to understand his brutality as what he must do to get the job done in an equally brutal world.

Director Robert Aldrich observes all of it with an objective eye that neither glorifies nor condemns the action on-screen, letting the audience draw its own conclusions--even where the plot is concerned. The pace is unrelentless and the plot turns are never fully explained, forcing the audience to participate willingly in all that Hammer does to, hopefully, see the story through to its ending.

And what an ending! I'd de damned to a special place in Hell if I elaborated, so I'll just say that it's one of the greatest I've ever seen. That goes same for the movie itself, which is one of the most stylish, jarring and truly entertaining movies of its genre.


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