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critics consensus

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

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Movie Info

One evening, private detective Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker) picks up a strange woman, Christina (Cloris Leachman), who's standing on the highway wearing only a trench coat. They're stopped farther on by strangers who knock out Mike and murder Christina. Although warned not to investigate by the police, Mike and his girlfriend and assistant, Velda (Maxine Cooper), become ensnared in a dark plot involving scientist Dr. Soberin (Albert Dekker) and Christina's terrified roommate, Lily (Gaby Rodgers).

Cast & Crew

Ralph Meeker
Mike Hammer
Albert Dekker
Dr. G.E. Soberin
Paul Stewart
Carl Evello
Juano Hernandez
Eddie Yeager
Wesley Addy
Lt. Pat Murphy
Cloris Leachman
Christina Bailey
Jack Lambert
Sugar Smallhouse
Jack Elam
Charlie Max
Fortunio Bonanova
Carmen Trivago
Strother Martin
Harvey Wallace
A. I. Bezzerides
Screenwriter
Victor Saville
Executive Producer
Frank De Vol
Original Music
Ernest Laszlo
Cinematographer
Jack Murton
Casting
William Glasgow
Art Direction
Howard Bristol
Set Decoration
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Critic Reviews for Kiss Me Deadly

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (42) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for Kiss Me Deadly

  • Jan 23, 2021
    Anyone interested in the film noir genre must place this film at or near the top of their must-see list. The film's opening scene sets to the tone for this nuclear-powered plot-line and visual style. When Frank Miller created Sin City he might have been inspired by Kiss Me Deadly.
    Aldo G Super Reviewer
  • Sep 10, 2014
    Tough-as-nails private detective Mike Hammer is thrown into the middle of a murder mystery when a desperate hitchhiker (Cloris Leachman in her first film role) flags him down on the highway. Thereafter he's beaten, nearly killed, but thereby persuaded to reluctantly take the case - which involves reading poetry - to finally solve. What is this Great Whatsis everyone seems ready to kill for? Considered classic film noir, it makes several leaps of illogical thinking and yet nonetheless drags one along to its sensational last quarter. Tasty.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Mar 21, 2013
    One of the last American film noirs, Robert Aldrich's influential "Kiss Me Deadly" is neither narratively perfect nor technically sound, but it is perhaps the most brutal, most unflinching and most thematically mature one in the entire genre. Ralph Meeker embodies Mickey Spillane's cynical, sleazy private investigator Mike Hammer with an aggressiveness that's almost frightening; he really seems to be enjoying it as he beats bad guys to a pulp.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Apr 09, 2012
    Not only is this film cool but good as well. I watched this because it was supposed to be influenced by Alfred Hitchcock. There's some similarities like a McGuffin. That McGuffin being the "Whatsit". That was a great concept right their. As soon as they introduced the "Whatsit" I knew right away that this film now has a sub-genera of science fiction. It was a great shock because the whole time I thought this film was supposed to be true to life. The ending was intense and a shock once the "Whatsit" gets opened. There are two endings to this film but I don't want to tell you what they are because I don't like spoilers. The acting itself could have been better. The writing was great, it had excellent character development. There's much talk online that Mike Hammer is a repressed homosexual. Whether this is true or not I have no idea. If you want proof that he isn't just look at the poster. The directing was also really good couldn't have done it better myself. Good choice on the camera angles. Great cinematography too, it looked really nice. The producing was my favorite part. I prefer the production value of the classics over the newer films. An advance in technology can be a bad thing as well I guess. In conclusion, this is a great blend of film noir and science fiction. You don't see much films like that don't you. If you like classic film noir then this should be one of your favorites.
    Eduardo T Super Reviewer

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