A list of Edgar Wright's favorite 1000 Movies per his list on Mubi on July 27th, 2016.
Kiss Me Deadly
Blood red kisses! White hot thrills! Mickey Spillane's latest H-bomb...
One evening, Hammer gives a ride to Christina, an attractive hitchhiker on a lonely country road, who has escaped from the nearby lunatic asylum. Thugs waylay them and force his car to crash. When Hammer returns to semi-consciousness, he hears Christina being tortured until she dies. Hammer, both for vengeance and in hopes that "something big" is behind it all, decides to pursue the case.
This movie is so far above and beyond anything created by humans that it effectively qualifies as an alien transmission.
Fin de masculinity. Fin de femme fatale. Fin de violence e sexe. Fin de noir. Fin de cinema. Fin de le monde.
Kiss Me Deadly screams onto screen with an opening scene that immediately alerts audiences to its explosive intentions. Out of the blackness of the theater we see a woman emerge wearing nothing but a trench coat, standing in traffic risking her life desperately trying to hitch a ride. Beginning films with a "cold open" wasn't unheard of in 1955, but it was incredibly rare before the 1960's when TV serials standardized it. This opening would have been startling not only because of its content, but because audiences would not have been expecting it. Finally someone picks her up, and she sobs quietly over the opening credits—which scroll backwards, top to bottom. This creates a fundamentally unsettling atmosphere which tells us…
The moment Mike Hammer realizes that he's made a huge mistake is when the movie reveals itself to be beamed in from a different planet, an ancient civilization's warning to humanity about the folly that led to their demise. We didn't listen.
I did manage to finish it tonight without nodding off. No suspicions of being shot up with sodium pentothal this evening.
I've watched quite a few noirs in the last few months or so but I don't think I've watched any that are nearly as odd as Kiss Me Deadly. From what I've read about this film over the years, and it is a film that I've been meaning to watch for a very long time indeed, many of the references to its offbeat nature have been to the main plot itself - or at least how it ends up panning out in the last half an hour.
Actually, aside from the mysterious item that is much sought after, I…
Noir apocalypse and the neanderthal detective, "let him go to hell." A hundred bizarre, brilliant tremors in Aldrich's annihilating masterpiece, all building up to the revelation that the coveted, enchanted glow is really a mushroom cloud, pushing humanity back into the ocean.
Noir isn't really my thing...But it's still cleverly constructed and amusing...The divide between the physical LA and his phone calls are interesting as is any reading that places this film in the context of America between WWII and the dead-end Cold War...
This is a lot of fun for a while, but the fact that nothing adds up and everyone's behavior is incoherent becomes increasingly annoying as time passes and by the end the idiocy alienates.
Pure pulp poetry. An empty meaningless quest pursued by an empty meaningless man. Hammer gets dumber and dumber as the film goes along until the whole character is nothing but a sick farce. Mixing poetry, opera, and classical music into the sordid work of Mickey Spillane the film turns the 1950's American hero into a shell of an idea, pre-dating Altman's similar twist of Marlowe into a bemusing joke.
One of "1,001 Films You Must See Before You Die," my foot! For a much, much better noir crime thriller, made around the same time and containing many similar elements, see Touch of Evil instead.
Holds up beautifully on rewatch. A film that is truly nihilistic while also being insightful, it's the kind of film that sears itself into your memory, just because Alrdich is determined to make you feel every single crunch.
People were laughing at parts of this in the theater. That only confirms how much Aldrich scared the shit out of them. I am so glad I own this on Criterion. This is a film to treasure.
This is the ne plus ultra of Film Noir. The convention has been stretched as far as it could go until it literally explodes into another genre. Post-war dissatisfaction expands into Atomic Age angst. The plot is a Jackson Pollack abstract expressionist tangle full of threads and strings and ropes to hang yourself with. Hammer doesn’t know what he’s chasing and doesn’t know what he would have done if he did know. In this Atomic age noir imbedded with old mythological doom (Pandora’s Box, Head of Medusa, Pillar of Salt) in the form of a mystery box, which might be grandfather of the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. Les femmes are all fatales, there are bad guys and worse guys, and Hammer is a demonic, amoral pinball. The dialogue is abstract and immensely quotable. After this film it’s a quick jump cut to the French New Wave and Neo-Noir.
Raiders of the Lost Ark, the original. It's an exquisitely crafted and highly compelling B-movie noir. Now I could be wrong, but it certainly does have the feel of a film that was originally intended as a "B-movie".
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This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…