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on May 1, 2017
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on June 20, 2017
I haven't gotten any complaints Overall a fantastic product that I would definitely recommend.
I have yet to use it but it looks very well made. This product is very good material and excellent design, as well as the evaluation and quality on the market, I feel very good.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon April 10, 2011
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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on March 19, 2004
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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on June 4, 2013
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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on June 21, 2002
OK, I mention quirks, so let me get right to them. One involves the way the bad guy gets it in the end, so I can't say anything about it without giving away a major plot element. But it is perhaps the oddest way any character has died since a character in Charles Dickens's BLEAK HOUSE died of spontaneous combustion. Just watch the movie; you'll see what I am talking about. The other endearing quirk is some of the "hot" technology you find in it. Without any question, this film features the first answering machine in the history of cinema. A full two decades before the breakout of the answering machine in American life, there is a reel-to-reel tape machine answering machine in Mike Hammer's apartment.
Despite a hokey ending, this is a really cool film. Ralph Meeker never had the kind of career he should have had. He was charismatic, a good looking guy, and a talented actor, but had only a few roles that were plum parts. In particular, he had a very fine role as a rogue ex-calvary officer in Anthony Mann's THE NAKED SPUR, and he had a great part in Stanley Kubrick's anti-war classic PATHS OF GLORY. All things considered, his finest role was, however, playing Mike Hammer in this film.
The film has great atmosphere, a fine story (until the bizarre end), and fine acting. Stylistically, it is film noirish with a hipper edge. Mike Hammer may be a detective, but he likes to have fun as well. Philip Marlowe in Raymond Chandler's novels always has a sense of the tragic element of life as well as its absurdity. His stance towards many of the events of his books is ironic. There is no sense of irony with Mike Hammer. He has a chip on his should just for the heck of it. He may lack Philip Marlowe's depth and complexity, but he probably gets more enjoyment out of life. He probably would also make a better dinner guest.
There is a great period feel to the film. It was made and set in the mid-1950s, but rarely have I seen a film that gives such a great sense of when it was made. It also features a great case. In particular, it is amazing to see Cloris Leachman play a part when she was young and very cute.
I thoroughly recommend this movie. It has a lot of energy, a lot of style, and tells a great yarn. And even though the ending is scientifically iffy, it is still a lot of fun.
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on May 11, 2003
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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on June 24, 2001
Kiss Me Deadly is one heavily stylized, dramatic, often bruality honest, at times confusing, and often mind blowing elevator ride through one of the most often mistfied era's of American culture the 1950's! Set up as a brilliant film noir we are introduced to one stark and nerve shaking image of a bare foot young blonde in a trench-coat and nothing else on a moon-lit highway. She finally hails down Mike Hammer(Meeker in the best role of his career), and for what it's worth a tale of tracking and confussion begins when the car is stopped on the road by thugs and the blonde is murdered and Hammer is left for dead. Hammer's need to find out what happened to the blonde is underscored by his own swarmy life as a seedy private eye for hire. The whole film more than seems realisistic; as if you're traveling along with Hammer as a sort of private eye in training; you visit the thugs and smell the same foul air he smells and cringe as he gets tied down and "spread eagle" across a bed by the same thugs who murdered the blonde he tried save that night on the side of the road. But what was the blonde running from? It was the infamous "Manhattan Project"-what it is we truly never learn but for some strange reason it can set human flesh ablaze and even burn down a house but some how it is contained in a leather box! The film is loaded with "real" looking characters and for a film noir is lends the film a sense of urgency and heightens your paranoia. The film as a whole has some of the most cutting edge dialogue and direction ever put into celluloid! And as for it's reflections into life in the 50's when America was "America". A lot of film's of that age seem to forget the crimes against races, nuclear power, or the atom bomb. "Kiss Me Deadly" plays on that generations fears and insecurites and in the end it makes for a film that is still as powerful and violent as it was some fourty years ago! Oh and if this review seems a bit confusing and dis-jointing, you will too after watching this brilliant film unfold.
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on April 25, 2002
"Kiss Me Deadly" has been accurately termed a "long neglected classic." The good news is that the 1955 release directed by Robert Aldrich has been recently receiving the recognition it deserves. The bad news was that it came too late to help Ralph Meeker, who did a superb job of playing Mickey Spillane's detective Mike Hammer in the film. Meeker, who replaced Marlon Brando on Broadway in "Streetcar Named Desire" and later starred in "Picnic," could have profited had the film been a contemporary success in the way that Sean Connery did in his association with James Bond, which propelled him to international stardom. Meeker failed to get a break when Harry Cohn at Columbia signed the more bankable William Holden to play the male lead in the film version of "Picnic," which proved to be a soaring vehicle for newcomer Kim Novak.
Robert Aldrich presented his subject matter and the script by Hollywood veteran A.J. Bezzerides in the same hard-hitting manner he embraced in his other major hit from 1955, the highly acclaimed "The Big Knife," Clifford Odets' cynical view of Hollywood starring Jack Palance and Shelley Winters.
The film begins with Meeker as Hammer picking up Cloris Leachman on a lonely road. This was her film debut. He learns that she has escaped from a mental facility and is seeking a ride to Los Angeles. Instead Hammer is waylaid by gangsters, who kill Leachman and almost succeed in destroying the detective. Hammer's toughness pays off when he survives a three day hospital ordeal hovering on the brink of death after his sports car is pushed off the highway with himself and the already dead Leachman in it.
When Meeker is later questioned by federal authorities he realizes that this was not the death of some poor, confused soul by some angry gangsters, but something of much greater importance. They excoriate Meeker for the way he makes a living. While the detective seduces married women, his sexy secretary Velda, played by Maxine Cooper, compromises married men. As a result they are able to build up a thriving divorce business through their nefarious activities as vehicles of temptation. When Meeker-Hammer is dismissed by the federal officers, the chief investigator says sarcastically, "Open the window and let in some fresh air."
A moralist could argue that Hammer is ultimately punished for his tawdry ways since Velda is kidnapped by gangsters, who warn the detective to lay off. Instead his resolve increases to solve the case and get back his secretary unscathed. His efforts lead him into the nether world of cheap criminal activity in the Bunker Hill section near Los Angeles. Great photography reveals this shadowy world in the darkness of hallways and small rooms. On one occasion, to gain quick attention and obtain information, he coolly destroys an expensive collector's item record featuring Enrico Caruso. Hammer continues encountering tawdry figures in bedraggled settings playing beautiful classical music, contrasting the difference between a world of beauty and the nether world of tawdry brutality which the detective frequents. He encounters a ruthless gangster with a Beverly Hills mansion, Paul Stewart, who says with admiration, "You handle yourself well, Hammer" after he employs his handiwork on one of Stewart's thugs, Jack Lambert, who operates in a shadowy tandem with Jack Elam.
Eventually Hammer follows the trail to a turncoat scientist played by Albert Dekker, who is holding his secretary captive at his Malibu beach house. The object of concern is a box with highly explosive contents, as both Hammer and Velda discover by film's end.
A major question surrounds the film. Critics and historians debate whether or not Hammer actually survives at the end of the film. See the explosive ending and decide for yourself.
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on June 28, 2001
The temptation these days is to dust off modestly entertaining but little known films of the past, slap 'em in a nice DVD package, and market them as "the cult classic that's finally on DVD!" At first glance, that seems to be the case here. But I have to admit that after watching my new DVD of "Kiss Me Deadly" (which I ordered from Amazon after they helpfully sent me an e-mail about the movie, announcing its availability in the fashion described above), I happily added it to my growing DVD collection instead of targeting it for unloading or trade. Here are five things that this film noir fan liked, or at least found interesting, about this movie:
1) The Mike Hammer of the books, who is a man of conscience (if not pacifism), is converted here into a sleazy detective who wallows in messy divorce cases, manipulating their outcome to his advantage. One may not like this interpretation, but it's undeniably interesting and different. Funny thing, though: despite the alterations to his character, Hammer still remains somewhat likable.
2) Classical music (symphonies, opera, etc.) is heard repeatedly throughout the film, usually emanating from radios in the dwellings Hammer visits during his investigation. Don't know exactly why, but I liked the juxtaposition of hearing cultured music while watching the sleazy, brutal elements of the story unfold.
3) Hammer drives a couple of cool looking open-top convertibles during the movie, and we are sometimes treated to a sort of hovering-over-the-trunk-looking-forward view as he drives along. Most movies settle for the usual camera-in-the-backseat-looking-over-the-driver's-shoulder shot, but the innovative set up described above allows us to drive along with Hammer AND see most of the cool car's exterior, too. It's hard to describe these shots in a more specific manner, but viewers will notice and appreciate them immediately.
4) I liked the mysterious box with the strange, glowing contents that everyone is after. It's creepy and fun. Also fun to think about: the plot device of having an object that everyone badly wants is clearly inspired by "The Maltese Falcon", and the fact that the object here is a box with something glowing inside it in turn inspired a similar item in the film "Pulp Fiction" decades later!
5) It was a good move to affix the longer ending onto the DVD release of this film. Simply put (but without giving too much away here), the longer ending makes it clear whether or not our hero survives this adventure. The shorter ending (included in the DVD's "extras" section, so viewers can compare for themselves) is ambiguous and unsatisfying, as one could make a case either way about Hammer's fate. There is certainly a place in film noir for ambiguity, but- trust me- in this particular story it's much better to know for sure who lives and who dies.
So, if not a true "cult classic", I guess I have to say that "Kiss Me Deadly" is nevertheless a solid entry in the private eye genre, and it delivers the goods. The movie is moody, involving, dangerous, sexy, and damned fun to watch. It has all the things one likes to see in private eye movies, but several original touches, too. Oh, yes- the DVD features a picture that is crystal clear and sharp as a knife; it looks like they made the film yesterday. In short, pick this one up.
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