A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
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
The first time Mike listens to Christina Bailey's radio, the piece playing is the first movement of Schubert's Eight Symphony ("Unfinished"). The second time he listens, the first movement to Brahms' First String Quartet is playing. See more »
When Mike pulls into the gas station and asks to have the right front wheel checked, the attendant says "Yes, sir!" but his lips don't move. See more »
Opening credits scroll backwards (down instead of up). See more »
Until 1997, all known copies in circulation of "Kiss Me Deadly" ended rather abruptly: we see the wounded Mike Hammer stumbling through the beach house looking for his partner Velda, and then there's a couple of brief shots of the house exploding and burning, with "The End" superimposed on the final shot. The music is cut off instead of fading out and the screen turns black: it looks like Mike and Velda died in the blaze. See more »
One of the greatest detective thrillers ever made.
If The Maltese Falcon (1941) was the definitive true detective movie, The Big Sleep (1946) the definitive glamourized detective movie, and Chinatown (1974) the definitive allegorical detective movie, then Kiss Me Deadly is the definitive sleazy detective movie.
Mickey Spillane's sadistic private eye Mike Hammer, turned from successful private eye to sleazy bedroom dick, is the quintessential anti-hero, doing just about anything and everything wrong to get a piece of the pie that the characters call "The Big What's-it."
The movie survives by giving the usual Spillane buckets-of-blood story and its protagonist new dimensions. Right from the electric opening scene and the audacious opening credit sequence, the audience is drawn into Hammer's seedy world, where morality is suspended, and the credo of the end justifying the means dominates Hammer's actions. His reckless abandonment is almost never questionned and the film seems to understand his brutality as what he must do to get the job done in an equally brutal world.
Director Robert Aldrich observes all of it with an objective eye that neither glorifies nor condemns the action on-screen, letting the audience draw its own conclusions--even where the plot is concerned. The pace is unrelentless and the plot turns are never fully explained, forcing the audience to participate willingly in all that Hammer does to, hopefully, see the story through to its ending.
And what an ending! I'd de damned to a special place in Hell if I elaborated, so I'll just say that it's one of the greatest I've ever seen. That goes same for the movie itself, which is one of the most stylish, jarring and truly entertaining movies of its genre.
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