Saturday, June 25, 2011

KISS ME DEADLY - Frank De Vol - "Remember Me" (1955)

Enuf of that 80's jive already, it's time to get back to a real time, circa 1955, and just maybe the best film I've seen in a long time, "Kiss Me Deadly"!! If you have no idea what I mean, here's what I'm talkin' about!!

Everything about "Kiss Me Deadly" is unique starting with the credits that roll backwards, you'll know immediately this is no common film!

Cloris Leachman is Christina Baily, a runaway from the Nuthouse, now we just have to figure out why!

The incredible Ralph Meeker is Detective Mike Hammer! His performance throughout the whole film is superlative! Like Tarzan, the role of Mike Hammer would be reprised a number of times over the years, with probably the most famous one being the author himself Mickey Spillane, who played Mike Hammer in the 1962 film, "The Girl Hunters."

A couple of the opening lines set the tone of Mike Hammer's character like, "I should have thrown you off that cliff back there, I might still do it," and "Do you always go around with no clothes on?" Ralph Meeker graduated from Northwestern University as a music major before turning to acting. Although Ralph didn't do much horror of Sci-Fi, he was in the "Outer Limits" episode titled "Tourist Attraction" and along with Gordon Scott's wife Vera Miles, Ralph was in the very first episode of the TV show "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" titled "Revenge" that you can watch for free thanx to IMDB and HULU right HERE!!!

Did your parents ever tell you not to pick up hitchhikers, now you know why!

Next thing you know Mike and the blonde nutjob are back in his car and heading over a cliff!!

Mike manages to survive the whole ordeal, and now just wants to find out what the Hell happened, and why?

Wesley Addy is the annoying Lieutenant Pat Murphy, always questioning everything Mikey does and says! Wesley Addy played the character of Commander Xeglon in one of the earliest Sci-Fi TV shows ever made, called "Out There," in 1951!

Mike is just a little bit unsure of everything at this point and even just going home is a tentative situation, at best!

Nice pad, with bar, deluxe TV, high tech AM radio, and reel to reel answering machine built right into the wall!

Mike's main squeeze and his secretary too is Maxine Cooper as Velda. Maxine's other roles were almost all on TV, and she was Amy in the "Twilight Zone" episode called "And When The Sky Was Opened."

If you are stupid enough to just so happen to start tailing Mike Hammer, you're setting yourself up for more trouble than you are probably willing to dish out!

And having yourself a switchblade knife just isn't going to help you at all!!

"Kiss Me Deadly" sure is full of colorful characters for being in black and white!!

Next stop is the bedroom of Gaby Rodgers as the crazy nutjob's ex-roommate with issues of her own, Gabrielle! Gaby was on the "Tales Of Tomorrow" TV series in an episode entitled "Ghost Writer!"

Every good detective needs a good mechanic and friend, and this go round it's Nick Dennis as who else but Nick! Nick was in a couple of genuine classics like "East Of Eden," and "A Streetcar Named Desire!"

I love this shot with all the boxing posters on the wall! "Kiss Me Deadly" was directed by Robert Aldridge, and the super fine cinematography was thanx to Ernest Laszlo of "Attack Of The Puppet People," "Space Children," "Inherit The Wind," "Tormented," "Fantastic Voyage," and "Logan's Run" fame!!

Here's a big chunk of the gang who think they know what they're doing, but don't! Left to right are Jack "Scared Stiff" Lambert as Sugar Smallhouse, Leigh "Creature Walks Among Us" Snowden as Cheesecake, Jack "every cowboy TV show ever made" Elam as Charlie Max, and Jerry "never trust a man who buttons his top button" Zinneman as Sammy!

The music for "Kiss Me Deadly" was composed by the multi-talented violinist, saxophonist, orchestra leader, and actor, Frank De Vol, and if you think you've seen Frank's name somewhere before, it's because he wrote the theme song to "Family Affair," My Three Sons," and "The Brady Bunch!" He also wrote the song "Rather Have The Blues" performed in this film by Nat King Cole and Kitty White!

You know you've reached the top of the food chain when you end up residing at the world famous Jalisco Hotel!

With all his smoking and drinking, Mike Hammer is not that great of a role model for the youth of today, but he's not so proud or tough that he won't drop down and have a glass of milk once in a while too!

Real life singer Mady Comfort appears in this nightclub scene. It's said that Mady was the actual person that Duke Ellington's classic "Satin Doll" was written about!

A bunch of bad shit goes down, and Mike finds himself upside down in the bottle!! Art Loggins is the guy who was the bartender, and some other key characters throughout the film are Albert "Dr. Cyclops" Dekker as the very evil, but well dressed Dr. G.E. Soberin, Strother Martin as Harvey Wallace, and opera singer Fortunio Bonanova as Carmen Trivago, the guy whose records Mike breaks in the soundclip!

It's such a foggy day, you can't even see Morro Rock from Greg's house!

Back in the good old days, they used to know how to get information out of people, and Mike Hammer is the master of the craft!

And after all of that, and more, this is what all the hubbub is about! An innocuous leather case stashed away in a locker! All those people died for this??

Mike just barely cracks open the case, and his arm gets the crap burnt out of it like this!

And when it all comes down at the end, just run like like Hell! Run as fast as you can!

"Kiss Me Deadly" is an awesome flick and a prefect teaching tool for any up and coming filmmaker! I'm still not sure just exactly what it was all about, but I'll tell you one thing, I'll be watching it again real soon!


Christopher said...

love that ending!

TABONGA! said...

One freaky flick!!

Prof. Grewbeard said...

everybody i knew kept telling me how great this film was and after i finally saw it recently i knew what they were talking about! maybe the best B-movie of all time!

Eegah!! said...

I couldn't agree more! One movie that I'd really like to see on the big screen!

R. Claude said...

It's a masterpiece.

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

Indeed René Claude, Indeed!!

zillagord said...

This is a great one. What's it doing here at this blog??? Oh, I'm the designated bad movie reviewer, I see.
On that note, check out "The Girl Hunters," in which Spillane himself puts the "Ham" in Mike Hammer.

Vawlkee said...

One of favorite films of all time!
Even Ian Fleming admitted that James Bond was at least partially based on Mike Hammer. Watch this film and there'll be no doubt in your mind.
What a shame there was no series!

Anonymous said...

"Top of the food chain" cracked me up. A great movie, and Meeker is the perfect Mike Hammer. And Gaby Rodgers! There's no one I'd rather see in bed holding a gun on me.

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

Nice to know that somebody's still reading the old posts!

KD said...

Hell, yeah! Was just watching the Criterion disc of KISS ME DEADLY last night, and day-um!...what a cool, slick film! One of the best of the fifties, for sure! And one of the few times when I felt like a Criterion restoration/release disc was actually worth the bucks!

EEGAH!! said...

Since starting this blog, one of my favorite films no doubt. I don't have time to watch many of these movies more than once, but I've watched "Kiss Me Deadly" three or four times. I just really like every element of it. In fact, I might just watch it again tonight!

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