7.6/10
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Kiss Me Deadly (1955)

Not Rated | | Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery | July 1955 (UK)
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

Mike Hammer approaches a street vendor, buys some popcorn, and walks away eating it (which takes a few seconds.) A clock in the background progressively shows 2:00, 2:15, and 2:20. 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 original ending was shown overseas in various countries (eg. Germany and the UK) when the film was originally released. It appears that the film was actually released in two different versions worldwide and the shortened ending was done specifically for the domestic USA theatrical release. In the UK, although there was a longer ending, the theatrical release was heavily cut by around 7 minutes for violence by the BBFC with the result that the film became nonsensical. For example, the entire scene of Cloris Leachman being tortured was excised and the film cuts from Hammer being knocked out to him waking up again doused with petrol so that you never know what happened to Leachman or the significance of the shoes worn by Albert Dekker. UK TV prints are uncut. See more »


Soundtracks

Symphony No. 8: Unfinished
(uncredited)
Music by Franz Schubert
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Noir for a Nuclear Age
1 May 2006 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

Sleazy, tawdry B-noir doesn't get any sleazier or tawdrier than Robert Aldrich's jazzy and astonishingly entertaining "Kiss Me Deadly." This film was released late in the life cycle of the film noir genre. By 1958 and Orson Welles' "Touch of Evil," true noir would be just about washed up. Any noir film from that point forward would be self-consciously aware that it was tipping its hat to an established genre. But "Deadly" came out when films still didn't have to work at being noirish---they just WERE, and dazzlingly so.

Born-to-play-a-bully Ralph Meeker plays tough-guy detective Mike Hammer, who's in the wrong place at the wrong time and picks up a mysterious panic-stricken girl (Cloris Leachman), who's just escaped from an asylum. From that moment forward, he finds himself tangled up in a barely lucid plot, in which a bunch of baddies want to get their hands on something the girl either had or knew about. Hammer doesn't know what it is, but he knows that if so many people want it, it's something he probably wants too, and the race for the great "whatsit" is on.

If you wanted to teach a film class about the look and attitude of a film noir, you couldn't pick a better film than this one. I found myself on a recent viewing of this film pausing my DVD player and studying the frame (because, sadly, this is what I do in my spare time), rehearsing in my mind what I would tell a class about any particular composition. And aside from the style, the film is steeped in noir sentiment--it's not simply cynical, like the glossier studio noirs of the 40's; it's downright apocryphal. It's not simply one man undone by the vengeful forces of fate here, but an entire civilization on the brink of extinction.

So pop this in and have a great time with it--feel free to quote it liberally, as there are plenty of juicy lines worth quoting. But as you watch it, you might want to stay away from the windows, for as Mike Hammer's hot-to-trot sometime girlfriend, sometime secretary Velda says, someone may "blow you a kiss."

Grade: A+


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