Killer's Kiss ★★★½

Like with FEAR AND DESIRE, this movie has nothing going for it in terms of story or plot, but both films are rare time-campsules that show us Stanley Kubrick the director before he was Stanley Kubrick the director. KILLER'S KISS was made ad hoc, purely out of survival - he needed to make "any movie", and so we're watching "any movie". An exercise that should be seen as such.

Also, he builds his toolbox here (the actual 50s NY that eventually becomes the faux NY in EYES WIDE SHUT, ironically, the ax from THE SHINING, the ballroom from there and PATHS OF GLORY etc) and I also have to assume he's having some honest to god fun, playing around in a way he'd never have any reason to do later. This is a movie made by a filmmaker who realises he may never become a filmmaker, sort of on a road to nowhere in a saga that may end with these two movies then (to quote Sidney Pollack in EWS) pfft!

This notion to me blends in with the guerilla and cinema varité shots of Manhattan, and the slumbering Bronx and Dumbo alleys, captured on the fly only to become very quaint all these years later. There is something achingly nostalgic about this imagery.

I want to throw in young Kubrick being a jazz-drummer there too. The ecchoing percussion parts of Gerald Fried's score during the chases across the fire-ladders. It all has a Brian Eno-like soothing effect on me for some reason.