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Kiss Me Deadly Movie Review

meeker spillane aldrich hammer

Robert Aldrich's Kiss Me Deadly succeeds in creating such a grimy atmosphere that you want to take a bath after seeing it. When Ralph Meeker as Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer leaves a room, tough guys say, “Open a window.” Yet Hammer is the HERO in this violent 1955 blend of hard-boiled detective yarn and atomic bomb paranoia, plus all the corny poetic ramblings Spillane liberally injects into the plot. Except for Cloris Leachman, most of the babes in the film sank from sight after making the picture. Meeker, too, an excellent actor, never again received such a flashy part, although he continued to deliver solid performances in character roles through the 1970s. The physical ordinariness of the stars fits in perfectly with the anonymity most of us are reduced to when dealing with our radioactive fears. Serving as counterpoint for the rough, scary stuff with which Hammer must deal, A.I. Bezzerides’ script for Kiss Me Deadly is bitingly funny, and Aldrich's never-subtle directing style is well suited to Mickey Spillane's volcanic world.

1955 105m/B Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker, Paul Stewart, Wesley Addy, Cloris Leachman, Strother Martin, Marjorie Bennett, Jack Elam, Maxine Cooper, Gaby Rodgers, Nick Dennis, Jack Lambert, Percy Helton; D: Robert Aldrich; W: A. I. Bezzerides; C: Ernest Laszlo. VHS, LV, Closed Caption

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