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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hollywood Classic
Being a big fan of both film noir and the Criterion label, I thoroughly enjoyed this DVD and highly recommend it. The restoration that Criterion has done on both the film and the audio track is superb. Special-feature bonuses are a big part of what the Criterion label is known for and this DVD offers many interesting extras to explore.
Now on to the film itself,...
Published 13 months ago by Kent Burchynsky

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Horrible, stupid and loud
Don't waste your money on this. I bought it based on the rave reviews but clearly I must have missed something! The acting is terrible - everyone shouting, screaming and running around. The plot is ridiculous and the ending ... well just as ridiculous. Ralph Meeker is okay and the film begins with some promise. It soon deteriorates into total silliness. My husband...
Published 4 months ago by debby


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hollywood Classic, June 4 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Kiss Me Deadly (Criterion) (DVD)
Being a big fan of both film noir and the Criterion label, I thoroughly enjoyed this DVD and highly recommend it. The restoration that Criterion has done on both the film and the audio track is superb. Special-feature bonuses are a big part of what the Criterion label is known for and this DVD offers many interesting extras to explore.
Now on to the film itself, this is a great Mickey Spillane detective yarn. A tough Private Detective (perfectly played by Ralph Meeker) takes a journey through the Los Angeles criminal underworld that is pure fun to watch. The casting is fantastic and Cloris Leachman stands out in her big-screen debut. Cinema does not get any better than this.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Horrible, stupid and loud, March 22 2014
By 
debby "mystery lover" (Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Kiss Me Deadly (Widescreen) (DVD)
Don't waste your money on this. I bought it based on the rave reviews but clearly I must have missed something! The acting is terrible - everyone shouting, screaming and running around. The plot is ridiculous and the ending ... well just as ridiculous. Ralph Meeker is okay and the film begins with some promise. It soon deteriorates into total silliness. My husband couldn't watch it to the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great P.I. noir films, with the restored ending!, March 19 2004
This review is from: Kiss Me Deadly (Widescreen) (DVD)
Robert Aldrich's 1955 detective thriller, "Kiss Me Deadly," came at the end of the American classic film noir cycle, and shows the genre at its most violent, surreal, cruel, cynical, and visually bizarre. It's the last great explosive moment of the classic era of film noir -- and I do mean explosive. This is one detective film, like "Chinatown," which you won't soon forget.
Aldrich and screenwriter A. I. Bezzirides took on Mickey Spillane's popular P.I. Mike Hammer, but aside from keeping the basic plot outline of the original novel, they completely changed the nature of the character in a very reactionary move. Spillane's Mike Hammer is a New York detective-avenger, a self-righteous vigilante who deals out justice when the paralyzed forces of the law can do nothing: he's a vicious knight on a mean-spirited quest to right wrongs through brute force. (The title of the first Hammer novel, "I, the Jury" pretty much sums up his attitude.) The movie relocates Hammer to Los Angeles and turns him into a shallow con-artist who only cares about his car and his looks. He's a lousy detective too, relying on knocking people around for information, often innocent inoffensive folks, and never really paying attention to the important details of the case. His detective work is entirely matrimonial, where he and his 'assistant' Velda put the squeeze on couples to blackmail them. Hammer's motto is simple: "What's in it for me?" Ralph Meeker is perfect in the role, looking as if someone carved him out of slab of meat.
No doubt, in this story Hammer is in way over his head...if only he knew it. He picks up a nearly naked girl (Cloris Leachman in an early role) who throws herself in front of his sports car. Later, they're run off the road, and faceless gangsters torture her to dearth and leave Hammer for dead. Hammer sets out to find out what's up; not because he cares what happened to the girl, but because he sniffs out big money and he'd like to get the guys who wrecked his sports car! Hammer finds himself in a violent quest to locate an object that everyone desires: a package called 'The Great Whatsit.' The Great Whatsit isn't a meaningless red herring or Hitchcock McGuffin, however. Its contents are the great surprise of the plot, and the perfect exclamation point on a movie taking place in a chaotic world that seems to be falling apart. I won't tell what the Great Whatsit is (and shame on the reviewers here who have!), but...oh wow!
And this brings us to the issue of the ending, and the only extra on this disc. (Don't worry, I'm not going to spoil the ending.) For years, "Kiss Me Deadly" had a mysteriously abrupt finale that many people praised for its surreal, weird quality. This was how I first saw it. However, in 1997 the original ending was discovered in Aldrich's personal print of the film by editor Glenn Erickson and film noir scholar Alain Silver. Apparently, an accident involving a careless projectionist snipped off part of the ending, so what we had enjoyed and critiqued for years was actually a mistake! The new ending shown on this disc fortunately doesn't change the tone of the film: it's still pretty astonishing, filled with a brilliant use of light and sound effects. However, there's still something about that abrupt ending that gets to people. The DVD contains the option to watch this original abrupt ending so you can make up your mind which one 'feels' more right to you: what the director intended, or the mistake that many embraced as a stroke of brilliance.
No matter which ending you like, "Kiss Me Deadly" is a fabulous piece of brutal crime cinema. The photography is amazing, filled with weird and surreal images and crazy camera angles. The performances are all dead-on: Meeker's ugly Mike Hammer; Albert Dekker as the sinister and poetry spouting Dr. Soberin; Wesley Addy as Hammer's police acquaintance Pat, the sole voice of reason in the mess; Paul Stewart as a smarmy L.A. gangster; the late Jack Elam as freaky thug; and Gaby Rodgers in the film's strangest performance as the distant, weird, but ultimately very dangerous (to every living thing on the planet!) Lily Carver.
If you love detective films and film noir, "Kiss Me Deadly" is a great must-see classic. For a 1950s film, it is surprisingly violent and far ahead of its time. And either end will leave you shivering in shock. If only they had the guts to end films this way today!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Archetype setting 50s noir., April 10 2011
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Kiss Me Deadly (Widescreen) (DVD)
Tense, violent noir.

Mike Hammer picks up a woman wandering on desert road, gets caught in plot that leads to a stolen nuclear bomb.

Some great images throughout. A lot of 50s noir archetypes were set by this film. The ending is a bit silly and symbolically
heavy handed at the same time, and some of the performances are over-the-top, but it's certainly enjoyable.

Some critics consider it a masterpiece. I find that a stretch. But I did like it better on 2nd viewing, so maybe I'll return to
it yet again.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "Kiss Me Deadly (1955) ... Ralph Meeker ... Robert Aldrich (Director) (2001)", Feb. 1 2011
By 
J. Lovins "Mr. Jim" (Missouri-USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Kiss Me Deadly (Widescreen) (DVD)
United Artists presents "KISS ME DEADLY" (18 May 1955) (106 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- Regarded by many critics as the ultimate film noir, and by many more as the finest movie adaptation of a book by Mickey Spillane, Kiss Me Deadly stars Ralph Meeker as Spillane's anti-social private eye Mike Hammer. While driving down a lonely road late one evening, Hammer picks up a beautiful blonde hitchhiker (Cloris Leachman), dressed in nothing but a raincoat. At first, Hammer assumes that the incoherent girl is an escaped lunatic; his mind is changed for him when he and the girl are abducted by two thugs. The men torture the girl to death as the semiconscious Hammer watches helplessly. He himself escapes extermination when the murderers' car topples off a cliff and he is thrown clear. Seeking vengeance, Hammer tries to discover the secret behind the girl's murder. Among those who cross his path in the film's tense, tingling 106 minutes are a slimy gangster (Paul Stewart), a turncoat scientist (Albert Dekker), and the dead woman's sexy roommate (Gaby Rodgers). All clues lead to a mysterious box -- the "Great Whats it," as Hammer's secretary Velda (Maxine Cooper) describes it. Both the box and Velda are stolen by the villains, at which point Hammer discovers that the "Whats it" contains radioactive material of awesome powers. The apocalyptic climax is doubly devastating and we now know there are two endings to the film just recently discovered.

Ralph Meeker made an excellent contribution as Mike Hammer. He dominates the film with his presence. Albert Dekker, Paul Stewart, Mirian Carr, Maxine Cooper and especially Cloris Leachman, in her screen debut, make this film the favorite it has become.

Director Robert Aldrich transcends Kiss Me Deadly's basic genre trappings to produce a one-of-a-kind melodrama for the nuclear age.

Under the production staff of:
Robert Aldrich [Director/Producer]
Mickey Spillane [novel "Kiss Me Deadly"]
A.I. Bezzerides [Screenplay]
Victor Saville [Executive Producer]
Frank De Vol [Original Music]
Ernest Laszlo [Cinematographer]
Michael Luciano [Film Editor]

BIOS:
1. Robert Aldrich [Director]
Date of Birth: 9 August 1918 - Cranston, Rhode Island
Date of Death: 5 December 1983 - Los Angeles, California

2. Ralph Meeker [aka: Ralph Rathgeber]
Date of Birth: 21 November 1920 - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date of Death: 5 August 1988 - Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California

the cast includes:
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
Maxine Cooper - Velda
Cloris Leachman - Christina Bailey
Gaby Rodgers - Gabrielle
Nick Dennis - Nick
Jack Lambert - Sugar Smallhouse
Jack Elam - Charlie Max

Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 4 Stars
Performance: 5 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 5 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]

Total Time: 106 min on DVD ~ United Artists ~ (06/19/2001)
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5.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing film, May 13 2004
By 
Hiram Gomez Pardo (Valencia, Venezuela) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Kiss Me Deadly (Widescreen) (DVD)
Besides the fifty years difference fact since this film was made, it's worthy to remark the clever script in that black decade that permeated the minds of so many artists all around the world.
This film , undoubtly belongs the film noir genre , but goes far beyond and becomes a clear warning about the implications of dealing with such dangerous weapon in the underworld.
In this sense, the dramatic wrenchs produce interesting and new events that feed and redefine the film noir for that historical moment. Don't forget the Cold War and the dark clouds of fear and hopeless still surrounded the mind and soul of many people in USA.
Watch this film . Robert Aldrich , with this film defined his artistic personality in the American Cinema.
And other movies directed by him , specially "In cold blood" , gives us important clues about his world's sight.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Kiss Me Deadly, May 11 2003
By 
J in Eugene, OR (Eugene, Oregon United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Kiss Me Deadly (Widescreen) (DVD)
Condemned by censors, panned by critics, and banned by the Btritish when it was released in 1955 KISS ME DEADLY is today universally considered one of the definitive and perhaps most perfectly realized films noirs ever made. Director Robert Aldrich and screenwriter A.I. Bezzerides, both having a mutual contempt for right wing pulp novelist Mickey Spillane and all he stood for, nevertheless smartly capitalized on the extraordinary success of the author at the time, basing their film on Spillane's book of the same name while taking such drastic liberties with his story, characters, and ideologies that the finished product would be nearly unrecognizable to serious Spillane fans. This point seems to be forshadowed, as film noir scholar James Naremore has pointed out, in the weirdly reversed opening credits which seem to stand Mickey Spillane on his head.
The movie opens with divorce detective Mike Hammer(Ralph Meeker) forced to pick up a barefoot and naked-under-a-trenchcoat Christina Baily(Chloris Leachman in her first screen role)who, as we soon find out, has escaped from a mental institution and is running down the middle of a remote California road at night. When Hammer is quickly run off the road by gangsters who torture Christina to death and nearly kill Hammer himself his interest is sparked. Hammer smells something big and the cut of something big is...well, big. He decides to give the divorce work a rest and devote himself, his adoring secretary Velda(Maxine Cooper), his Greek mechanic friend Nick(Nick Dennis), and anyone else he can get to do his dirty work for him to this new mystery. The film is rich with Cold War fear and nuclear paranoia as all the characters relentless focus of selfish greed is on "the great whatsit", the mysterious glowing box of material stolen from a nuclear testing facility. Mike Hammer's detective is totally enjoyable to watch although a distinctly unfavorable and immoral character. He whores out his secretary, Velda, without remorse to adulterous husbands to wrap up divorce cases, gets his innocent friend Nick killed by involving him in the case, is a markedly poor detective, and sadistically enjoys physically punishing those who get in his way.
KISS ME DEADLY is fundamentally wrapped up in the definitions of the film noir genre, containing all the elements--a stark opening sequence on a dark road, destructive manipulating femme fatales, low-life cheap gangsters, dark expressionistically lit night-time scenes, a vengeful (or greedy?) quest, maybe the best, and most anti-, anti-hero of the noir canon, and a dark mood of hopelessness.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Feelm nwahrrr, Feb. 18 2003
By 
Max W. Hauser (Silicon Valley, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Kiss Me Deadly (Widescreen) (DVD)
Dark and moody and violent, more style than substance -- and enough more to make it all right (as Humphrey Bogart said in another movie in this genre). Credited with inspiring the entire French New Wave cinema movement of the late 1950s. (In one scene that would have sent those French directors, Ralph Meeker walks a deserted but lamp-lit city street late at night, trailed by a would-be assassin. Their footsteps echo in the stark landscape; their shadows are about a mile long.) Reportedly, French critical writing found deep symbolism in various scenes, whereas director Robert Aldrich responded that this was news to him, they were just shooting a detective picture. True to the spirit of the Mike Hammer novels, there is a pervasive vagueness. Who are all these thugs? (We don't even see their faces at first.) What are they after? (A nasty little radioactive Pandora's Box, we eventually learn; it is very well staged but little explained, and is ultimately a fool's prize.) Well-cast Meeker portrays unredeemed sleazy private eye Mike Hammer, whose normal line is blackmailing married men with the help of his girlfriend Velda (he carries a .45, Velda a .32). The menacing thugs, wearing baggy clothes and fedoras, we might take for NKVD (as indeed they are, in other of the Mickey Spillane novels circa 1950, and also near the end in the 1994 film _Burnt by the Sun_), but sufficient unto this film is the evil thereof, without contribution from Stalin, Beria & Co.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good film noir, Feb. 10 2003
By 
Dr. Freeman (Perry, Iowa United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Kiss Me Deadly (Widescreen) (DVD)
As a lover of film noir i might be a bit biased but i loved this one.A good story keeps it going with a wild "whats it" to be discovered. Meeker is no Humphrey Bogart but a pretty good Mike Hammer. Good sound and picture.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Noir Means Dark, and This One Is Really Dark, Jan. 19 2003
By 
Tsuyoshi (Kyoto, Japan) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Kiss Me Deadly (Widescreen) (DVD)
Most unaccountably, "Kiss Me deadly" has been long underated or neglected, like its director Robert Aldrich, whose best is probably "The Dirty Dozen" or "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane." Though "Kiss Me Deadly" does not feature the incredibly campy battle between Bette and Joan, it still gives us a dynamite opening where a frantic girl is desperately running, with her foot naked, on the deserted highway at midnight. She needs a help, she says to detective Mike Hammer, who happened to be driving there. This is the start of another long day for this LA private eye.
Then follow some deaths, and threats from government agents and secret organization alike. Hammer's investigation is, as is the case with the genre, full of plot twists, but Aldrich never gets us bored with his rather laid-back direction and occassional shock materials provided for the fans. The violence (such as torture) is all suggested, not directly depicted, but the power is still there after half a century. The dialugues or situatons are all intentionally clunky, as if Aldrich is telling that the events are all happening on another planet. But his tactics work, giving the entire picture some strange feelings like another world.
We must remember that the film is made soon after the WW2, and the world is haunted with the images of nuclear age, and the conflicts between two superpowers. Clearly the weird touch of the film reinforces the uneasiness of these times found in the film, and the fears of the days are conveyed to us even now. So, nothing is fully explained; everything is suggested. You find a box, but you don't know what it is (but can guess). And the "shock" ending has not lost its power yet.
Actors are comparatively unknown except the prolific Cloris Leachman (later wins Oscar for "The Last Picture Show"), but that doesnot matter. Just watch it, and enjoy its stylish camerawor, and shocks that its audiences saw years ago. And find the possible inspiration for the "box" which Jules and Vincent had in a coffee shop in "Pulp Fiction."
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Kiss  Me Deadly (Criterion)
Kiss Me Deadly (Criterion) by Robert Aldrich (DVD - 2011)
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