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Kiss Me Deadly

Kiss Me Deadly (1955)

tomatometer

97

Average Rating: 8.1/10
Reviews Counted: 37
Fresh: 36 | Rotten: 1

An intriguing, wonderfully subversive blend of art and commerce, Kiss Me Deadly is an influential noir classic.

83

Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 1

An intriguing, wonderfully subversive blend of art and commerce, Kiss Me Deadly is an influential noir classic.

audience

85

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 5,998

My Rating

Movie Info

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

Unrated,

Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Classics

Mickey Spillane

Jun 19, 2001

MGM

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All Critics (39) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (1) | DVD (17)

This independently produced low-budget film was a shining example for the New Wave directors -- Truffaut, Godard, et al -- who found it proof positive that commercial films could accommodate the quirkiest and most personal of visions.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The trail leads to a series of amorous dames, murder-minded plug-uglies and dangerous adventures that offer excitement but have little clarity to let the viewer know what's going on.

October 30, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety | Comments (2)
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A crucial influence on what would become the French new wave, an irresistibly seedy trip through the Los Angeles underworld, and a valuable artifact of Cold War anxiety.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's not the greatest thriller ever, but Kiss Me Deadly is classic film noir.

April 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's not a horror movie by any means, but like a good horror movie it has images and tiny loose ends that make sense on a subconscious level.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Aldrich's annihilating masterpiece, one of the decade's key works

December 10, 2012 Full Review Source: CinePassion
CinePassion

In the years since its release, Kiss Me Deadly has been copied so many times that many of its boldest elements are familiar, but they've done little to dull its overall impact.

July 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

The plot of the book is jettisoned for something altogether more terrifying and mysterious: Possession of a box that glows from within every time it is opened, however briefly. If that sounds like Pulp Fiction, well, it is, only 40 years earlier.

July 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Scene-Stealers.com
Scene-Stealers.com

Kiss Me Deadly was so far out there that it is usually viewed as an end point to the classic film noir cycle.

June 28, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

... delivers a pulp punch while it savagely satirizes the entire hardboiled mythos with its bare-knuckle brutality, flights of purple prose dialogue and he-man chauvinism ...

June 27, 2011 Full Review Source: MSN.com
MSN.com

one of the most memorable of American film noir, a remarkable fusion of hard-boiled mystery and atomic horror

June 23, 2011 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

...a cubist noir of the atomic age.

June 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

As brutal and cynical as the movie is, Aldrich knows how to seduce the audience; it still resembles a crackerjack crime movie.

June 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

I theme and style, Aldrich's apocalyptic film noir is an eccentric work, in many ways ahead of its times.

April 10, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

In the dingy, black-and-white halls of the film noir pantheon, they've a special place set aside for Kiss Me Deadly.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

The brutality of the film's characters and its scenario are shocking enough today, but in 1955, they were gobsmacking.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Dazzling film noir masterpiece.

August 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Classic Film and Television
Classic Film and Television

Kiss Me Deadly delivers the 'white-hot thrills' and 'blood-red kisses' promised by its publicity, as well as reminding us whence Tarantino stole his best riffs.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Observer [UK] | Comment (1)
Observer [UK]

Never was Mike Hammer's name more fitting than in Kiss Me Deadly, Robert Aldrich's blisteringly nihilistic noir.

May 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Best exemplifies a curious cross between "art" and pulp fiction.

December 26, 2004 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Intriguing cold war thriller. Meeker was born to play Mike Hammer.

May 23, 2004
Nitrate Online

Audience Reviews for Kiss Me Deadly

A meandering, nihilistic Noir that birthed the "golden briefcase" motif that still perplexes film students in universities across the country.
Throwing us right in the action, director Robert Aldrich begins the film on the opening road with a marvelous title sequence. Our protagonist detective Mike Hammer, is barreling down the freeway, nearly careening off the road at every turn. This opening excellently sums up Hammer's ethos. He is a man that lacks caution, wastes no time in getting what he wants, and pays no mind to the lives he endangers in the process.
Ralph Meeker is pretty good as the rabid anti-communist and barbaric detective. Unlike other noir detectives, such as Borgart's Phillip Marlowe, Meeker's Hammer isn't exactly charming. Yet, what he lacks in the charisma department he makes up for in sadism.
Everything else you need to know about his character is summed up when a young woman asks him if he has ever read poetry. The look is hard to describe, but trust me when I say you don't want to be at the receiving end of it.
However, this brute, our "hero", isn't so bad when compared to the rest of the lot in the film. Aldrich's world is very bleak. Everyone is out to get one-another, and even doctors accept kickbacks.
Usually dabbling in petty divorce cases, Hammer stumbles into the apocalyptic underworld when the death of a young woman leads him to believe that there might be more dollars signs in his future. He ends up tracking down a mysterious box, much like the one in the Pandora myth, in which it's very opening portends some disastrous consequences. Without getting into specifics, one can glean from the film that Aldrich & screenwriter A.I. Bezzerides didn't think the realities of the nuclear age had positive consequences in American culture.
While the film isn't perfect and has a tendency to wander, the ending is one of the ballsiest that I have encountered in a long time. This alone is worth moving it to the top of your queue. However, if you are one of those people who would still like to believe that the world is made out of hugs and rainbows, then you might want to leave this on the shelf for the time being.
March 29, 2012
axadntpron
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

The movie gets it's reputation for the second half for sure, and for the ending. The first half is very average by-the-number noir routine, then it starts to scalate and get better. Meeker is kind of dull in the lead role, but the rest of the cast is quite strong.
December 21, 2011
DragonEyeMorrison
Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer

Remember me...
August 1, 2011
bookmunki

Super Reviewer

    1. Christina Bailey a.k.a. Berga Torn: Get me to that bus stop and forget you ever saw me. If we don't make that bus stop?
    2. Mike Hammer: We will.
    3. Christina Bailey a.k.a. Berga Torn: If we don't, remember me.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (1)

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