Friday, August 5, 2011

The Box

Kiss Me Deadly (1955) - Aldrich
Craaazzzy movie. It starts out very strong with a woman only wearing trench coat running barefoot on the LA highway at night, then body stopping the car driven by a thick-headed PI, Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker). Soon They are captured by a bunch of thugs and when Hammer comes to consciousness, he witnesses the woman being tortured to death. Next thing he remembers is their car being pushed off the cliff with him and the woman in it.

This cold war paranoia tinged 'whatsit' movie is so ridiculously hard edged, so hilariously brutal and so not PC, it kept me chuckling throughout. It's a archetypal pulpy noir: nothing is really explained here and it don't matter. It's still amazingly delicious. You can see its influence everywhere from Tarantino to Lynch. Hammer is no Marlowe or Spade. He is a vain, big, tough man who wouldn't hesitate to slap anyone around to get what he wants. There are lots of dames in this one and non of them are that pretty. The femme fatale of the movie is a waifish curious cat, Lily/Gabrielle (Gaby Rogers). You have to slog through the saggy middle but the payoff at the end is so grand, it made me laugh for the longest time.

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