Killer's Kiss

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 19


Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,333
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Movie Info

Stanley Kubrick's second film, Killer's Kiss was summed up by one influential critic as an experiment in esoterica. Filmed on a budget of $40,000 (raised by Kubrick's relatives), the 65-minute, black-and-white drama is a true "noir" film, shot mostly at night in a variety of seedy Manhattan locations. The plot concerns the efforts of boxer Jamie Smith (who also narrates the film) to rescue nightclub dancer Irene Kane from the lecherous maneuvers of club owner Frank Silvera. The much-admired climax finds Smith, Silvera, and the villain's henchmen pursuing each other in a warehouse filled with grotesque-looking store mannequins. Director-writer-photographer-editor Kubrick didn't like the happy ending imposed on the film by its distributor (United Artists), but it was a lot more logical and satisfying than the filmmaker's own planned denouement. The imperiled leading lady Irene Kane later became famous as TV commentator and journalist Chris Chase; also appearing in the film is Kubrick's then-wife Ruth Sobotka.

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Jamie Smith
as Davey Gordon
Irene Kane
as Gloria Price
Frank Silvera
as Vincent Rapallo
Jerry Jarret
as Albert the manager
Mike Dana
as Gangster
Dana Michael
as Hoodlum
Ralph Roberts
as Gangster
Julius Adelman
as Owner of the Mannequin Factory
David Vaughan
as Conventioneer
Alec Rubin
as Conventioneer
Ruth Sobotka
as Iris, a Dancer
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Critic Reviews for Killer's Kiss

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (4)

Audience Reviews for Killer's Kiss

  • Nov 28, 2012
    A very well shot noir story, with some beautiful scenes, like the ballet scene, the last fighting scene amongst others, with a story that's a bit too simplistic but works for the most part. Feels more like an exercise for Kubrick's to perfect his technique rather than anything else but it works and is a welcome addition to his upcoming masterpieces.
    Francisco G Super Reviewer
  • Oct 11, 2012
    I don't think it's fair just because Kubrick was a young director that's an excuse to over rate this film. Romero, Nolan, and Richard Kelly had possibly there best works in there debut films. This was just wasn't great, Kubrick used some intresting techniques, by just shooting street props for moments of time, but that's not reason to make it fresh. For a 67 minute film it sure is dry, and I for the life of me can't understand what was attractive about that selfish lady, she was just as bad as the one from The Killing. There were also some very clear plot holes in the screen play, ones that were easy to spot too.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Aug 04, 2012
    It's understandable why "Killer's Kiss" is left out of the conversation when people talk about Stanley Kubrick. It's his most unremarkable outing; a film that's greatly lacking in several crucial aspects. Poor acting, shallow writing and a painfully slow pace contribute to the film's overall blandness. The photography and editing are unique in places, but for the most part, "Killer's Kiss" is forgettable. I understand that it was a low-budget venture, but since when does having a low budget call for poor craftsmanship?
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Feb 27, 2012
    Kubrick's second feature, and first noir, is a thrill to watch, if only to see the seeds of a budding legend be sown in front of your very eyes. Without exaggeration, Killer's Kiss features some of the best deep focus long shots I have ever seen, and the visual sophistication Kubrick employs (with a keen emphasis on motif, symbolism and mood lighting) demonstrates that even early on, he was worlds ahead of many of his colleagues in terms of directorial aptitude and his command of cinematic language. No one shot is the same, no one angle is replicated. Unfortunately, the scant running time inhibits any real chance at character development (or narrative development, for that matter) but that's okay -- there's more than enough to marvel at.
    Jonathan H Super Reviewer

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