Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Kiss Me Deadly

Kiss Me Deadly / Kohtalokas tapaaminen / Natt utan nåd. US © 1955 Parklane Pictures. EX: Victor Saville. P+D: Robert Aldrich. SC: A.I. Bezzerides - based on the novel by Mickey Spillane (1952, in Finnish Suutele minua julmuri). Incorporating Christina Rossetti's poem "Remember". DP: Ernest Laszlo. AD: William Glasgow. Makeup: Robert J. Schiffer. M: Frank De Vol. "Rather Have The Blues" (Frank De Vol) sung by 1) Nat "King" Cole and 2) Kitty White. There are many classical music samples in the score (heard from the classic radio channel). S: Jack Solomon. ED: Michael Luciano. Casting: Jack Murton. Cast: Ralph Meeker (Mike Hammer), Albert Dekker (Dr. G.E. Soberin), Paul Stewart (Carl Evello), Juano Hernandez (Eddie Yeager), Wesley Addy (Lt. Pat Murphy), Marian Carr (Friday), Maxine Cooper (Velda), Cloris Leachman (Christina Bailey), Gaby Rodgers (Gabrielle), Jack Elam (Charlie Max), Mady Comfort (Nightclub Singer), Strother Martin (Harvey Wallace). 106 min. A 1988 Urania Film release print with only Finnish subtitles by Mikko Lyytikäinen viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (François Truffaut: Les Films de ma vie), 9 Aug 2011.

Revisited one of Robert Aldrich's strongest films of which François Truffaut wrote that there is an invention in each shot. Jean-Pierre Coursodon says that he wants to see it at least once a year.

Mike Hammer is the anti-hero, a Neanderthal private dick out of his depth. Yet he is not completely nihilistic or callous. He is devastated by the fate of his car mechanic Eddie (va va va voom!), and he risks his life to save Velda.

The quest leads the small-time divorce case veteran to find Pandora's Box. The mythological implications are made explicit, whether Biblical (Lot's wife) or from classical Greek mythology (Pandora, Medusa). There is a sense of humour in the way the rough Mike Hammer meets culture everywhere: poetry, large book cases, record collections, and a museum of modern art.

I have been reading this summer J. Hoberman's book An Army of Phantoms. American Movies and the Making of the Cold War (2011), and watching Kiss Me Deadly now I realize more deeply how much it is a film of its time. The constant atmosphere of fear and surveillance. The fundamental despair of the nuclear holocaust.

The quality of the definition of light in the 1988 print is not always even, but the print is on the whole quite watchable.

Christina Rossetti's poem "Remember" is beyond the jump break. 
Christina Rossetti: Remember

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

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