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Kiss Me Deadly

USA 1955. Dir: Robert Aldrich. 105 min. DCP

Wow! Kiss Me Deadly, masterfully directed by Robert Aldrich (What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?), is nuclear-age noir so nasty and nihilistic it’s positively radioactive! François Truffaut called it “the most original American film since Orson Welles’s The Lady from Shanghai.” Adapted from one of Mickey Spillane’s sex-and-violence-filled Mike Hammer novels, it stars Ralph Meeker as a thuggish private eye bungling his way from brutality to brutality as he investigates why the half-naked hitchhiker he picked up in the film’s nocturnal opening was tortured to death — in front of his own semiconscious eyes! As Hammer stumbles his way into a sinister Cold War conspiracy, Aldrich and cameraman Ernest Laslzo keep things dizzyingly off-kilter with a host of disorienting cinematic devices. “One of the most extraordinary films of the ’50s” (Georges Sadoul).


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