Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Kiss Me Deadly
The Noir film Kiss Me Deadly plays on everything we know about the Film Noir. It was done and released in a post-WWII era and released as a "B" movie. Kiss Me Deadly has no famous actors starring in it, but it still seems to hold up as one of the most influential Film Noirs. This is due to the eerie plot and archetypes that fit everything about Film Noir. The main character, Mike Hammer, is a hard-boiled private eye who is no saint himself. He lives in the present and narrowly escapes the impending doom-like future due to instances of lucky breaks, help from Velda his love interest/employee, and with his ability to hurt people with his hands.
Kiss Me Deadly is shot in black and white and this adds to the serious gloominess of the film. There is great use of shadows which create depth and suspense to the plot which plays on the fears of the American public during the Cold War. The story is centered around a mysterious box called the Great Whatsit; Mike Hammer meets a troubled girl named Christina who is running along a deserted highway road naked under a trench coat. Christina is out of breath and tells Mike not to forget her because she believes something bad will happen to her soon- and she is right. Mike and Christina find themselves in hot water, Christina is murdered while Mike narrowly gets away. Later on, Mike finds out that Christina knew something that the government didn't want her to know. Hammer is set on finding out why Christina was killed and to avenge her. Along the way he meets Lily, Christina's femme fatale roommate who is not as she seems, and thugs who are out to get him around almost every corner. In the end, it all leads up to the Great Whatsit, a mysterious and radioactive box. Yes, this doesn't seem like the most plausible or believable script but hey, it is Hollywood. And it did scare the American public, and not just with the subject but with the blatant sexuality. A naked woman being tortured, make out sessions between Hammer and Velda... Can you say spicy for the fifties!