A Kiss Before Dying - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A Kiss Before Dying Reviews

Page 1 of 2
June 3, 2016
Robert Wagner playing against type is Budd Corliss, an ambitious, brilliant, and charming sociopath who is out to woo and marry the daughter of a wealthy mining magnate. He murders said girlfriend, Dorothy (Joanne Woodward) when her pregnancy eliminates his chances of being accepted by her wealthy but puritanical father and stages it to look like a suicide. Her sister Ellen (Virginia Leith) refuses to believe her sister committed suicide and investigates the case on her own when the police quickly close the book. Wagner is handsome and charming and manages a menacing quality to his portrayal of Budd; this is a forerunner to Norman Bates. With Mary Astor as Budd's very working class mother who expects great things of her son and an early performance by future Horror icon Robert Quarrie as a former boyfriend of Dorothy's. The script was adapted by Ira Levin from his novel by the same name.
June 14, 2015
Joanne Woodward supposedly called this the worst film ever made in Hollywood. It's pretty bad in all sorts of weird, clueless ways. For a motive that does not seem to warrant it, handsome young Bud decides he must kill pregnant wife-to-be Dorothy, and gives her a kiss before pushing her off the top of a building, thus fulfilling the promise of the title. Casting two lookalikes (Robert Wagner and a pipe-smoking Jeffrey Hunter) in the leading male roles adds a certain confusion. Casting two women who do not look alike at all (Virginia Leith and Ms. Woodward) as sisters Ellen and Dorothy adds more. The plots swerves from one neat, quick murder to another without much ado. Murder is so easy in "A Kiss Before Dying." Most ridiculous of all is the not-so-exciting climax, wherein Ellen, suspicious that her new beau is a serial killer, nevertheless goes to a remote location with him and stands on the edge of a cliff before confronting him with her suspicions. A struggle happens -- another kiss before dying! Fortunately, a wayward truck happens by just in time to push him off the cliff instead. Don't you hate it when that happens?
February 15, 2014
Not bad, a bit dated, good acting by Wagner.
January 1, 2014
This movie starts slow, but once Wagner's plan is set in motion, the audience can only watch as we realize what the other characters don't--which is a brilliant plot device that builds the tension.
August 4, 2013
Terrific little pot boiler about sociopath Robert Wagner stopping at nothing to social climb. He murders one rich man's daughter and then woos her sister with creepy and suspenseful results. I'd seen the Matt Dillon/Sean Young remake, but this version is much, much better. There was also a little camp factor for me with this film by it simply having a young Robert Wager, who I've always thought had a great voice and will always be Mr. Hart to Hart to me.
rubystevens
Super Reviewer
July 19, 2013
robert wagner will always be a lightweight. he is just not believable. have to credit director oswald and his dp lucien ballard with some beautiful compositions tho
½ November 15, 2012
good psycho killer pic
½ October 30, 2012
This movie has more holes than "Holes". Robert Wagner is stiff and unconvincing in his role as bud... the only interesting thing about this movie is how it makes me wonder about Natalie Wood's mysterious demise.
September 30, 2012
I shudder to think how bad the 1991 adaptation of this book is, because this adaptation was pretty bad.
September 12, 2012
Bollywood movie 'Baazigar' is 'inspired!!!' by this film
½ January 21, 2012
Finally I got to see the original! Somewhat better than the remake and Mary Astor certainly shines as Mrs Corliss.
½ January 7, 2012
Good thriller-drama. Solid, original (at the time) plot. Decent, if unspectacular, direction. Robert Wagner is excellent as the scheming, dark villain. Decent support from Joanne Woodward and Virginia Leith.
September 12, 2011
Godkänd noir som är mer melodram än thriller. Wagner är överraskande olycksbådande och miljöerna färgstarka.
August 24, 2011
I like the remake better than the original. But that does not mean that this movie is bad, not at all. It just miss some of the suspence that the remake got. The acting is fair and the scenes nicely made.
August 18, 2011
A Kiss Before Dying is a pretty good movie! When Bud Corliss (Wagner) finds out that his girlfriend Dorothy (Woodward) is pregnant, he gets freaked out and murders her. He thinks everyone will think its a suicide, but the police soon find that its murder, and Dorothys sister Ellen (Leith) is determined to find out who committed the crime. This movie is really mixed for me. I didnt like the Cinemascope they used for this, it wasnt very noiry, and the color was looking a little aged to me. I thought Robert Wagners performance was crappy, when you have a killer in film noir, you have to bring some sympathy to their character, and unfortunately, he just doesnt. The director did not do the best job either. Some of the other things lightened up my possible one star review. I though Joanne gave a great performance in one of her first roles, as well as Virginia, whos little known and showed she could really do a leading role. Even though the plot may have been predictable, it was still a lot of fun to see, and even though I would classify it as a wannabe- noir, I still liked it. A Kiss Before Dying does have quite a lot of flaws, but I think you might like it.
August 17, 2011
Saw the end of this movie. Liked it better than the 1991 remake.
½ June 13, 2011
Robert Wagner IS the textbook psychopath.
May 26, 2011
I would've been more entertained if they'd scrapped the tedious melodrama of the first hour and fifteen minutes and just made a fifteen minute documentary about copper mines. I mean, this movie boasts not one but two vacuous, bland heroines, and to add insult to injury, it buries Mary Astor under a mediocre mother role and an ugly dye job.
February 12, 2011
Bud Corliss (Robert Wagner) is having trouble being accepted by the family of his comparatively-rich girlfriend, Dorothy Kingship (Joanne Woodward). Dorothy's pregnancy is only going to make matters worse. Instead of working their problems out, however, Bud coldly murders Dorothy and leaves false evidence that she committed suicide. When Dorothy's sister Ellen (Virginia Leith) decides to look into the death, Bud begins to wonder if he won't have to kill again...





[first lines]
Bud Corliss: Crying isn't going to help.
Dorothy Kingship: I just can't help it.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bud Corliss: It's not right.
Dorothy Kingship: What?
Bud Corliss: For anyone to love somebody as much as I love you.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bud Corliss: Haven't you heard? Love conquers all.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bud Corliss: I'm a man with a shameful, sinister secret. You know what it is? I've never really been in love before.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Leo Kingship: What is that?
Ellen Kingship: Dorothy's belt. A girl from her sorority sent it.
Leo Kingship: Very thoughtful of her. Or thoughtless, however you feel about those things. I'd have thrown it away and not mentioned it.
Ellen Kingship: I know.
Leo Kingship: What was accomplished by it?
Ellen Kingship: What has to be accomplished by it? Some people do things out of nothing more than sentiment. Softness, you'd probably call it.
Leo Kingship: As opposed to my callousness? My hardness? I think, Ellen, you mistake parading an emotion for feeling one.
Ellen Kingship: I don't think I've paraded mine any more than you've felt yours. If you've had one moment of remorse, one second when you even wondered if you were responsible, then you've concealed it wonderfully. You have my deepest admiration, if not sympathy.
Leo Kingship: That's true. I haven't dwelt on the matter to the point of distorting the facts.
Ellen Kingship: I haven't distorted them, not in my own mind at least. I said once, long ago, I couldn't believe she killed herself. I haven't changed a bit.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Leo Kingship: Ellen...
Ellen Kingship: Hello, Dad.
Leo Kingship: You're all right?
Ellen Kingship: Better. Much better. And you?
Leo Kingship: If you're better, I'm fine.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[last lines]
Gordon Grant: There. Okay, let's go.
Super Reviewer
November 14, 2010
This movie is a cross between a melodrama and a thriller, which I think is awesome, the story is really good. I highly recommend this movie.
Page 1 of 2