(Slap, Slap) “Now Gimmee The Key!”

Robert Aldrich‘s Kiss Me Deadly (Criterion Bluray, 6.21) is pure black-and-white splendor. You can can take or leave the plot/dialogue/theme, but you can’t ignore the magnificent visual capturings of mid ’50s Los Angeles. All those downtown locations that are gone now plus Ralph Meeker/Mike Hammer’s still-standing apartment building (10401 Wilshire Blvd, NW corner of Wilshire and Beverly Glen and the Hollywood Athletic Club (6525 W. Sunset Blvd.), where Hammer finds the black box with the bright light inside.

  • HarryMoseby

    Now this I want to see on Blu-Ray. It’s why I got into the business.

  • DeafEars

    Great movie. Only problem is I always want to pistol-whip somebody after I see it.

    I’ll have to check out Mike Hammer’s building one day. Has anybody ever done a “Film Noir” bus tour of movie locations?

  • LexG

    Aldrich is great so I’m sure this movie rules and all, but come on Criterion, bring the real:

    Armand Assante, Barbara Carrera, and Barbara Carrera’s enormous 1982 bush in I THE JURY, please. Asap.

    THE definitive Mike Hammer.

  • scooterzz

    great timing given the recent ‘radiation plume’ on california’s beaches….

    and, not to sound too lexian here, the idea of cloris leachman being considered a ‘hot babe’ is a bit, well…a bit something…..

  • berg

    this film is like 90s era oliver stone and tarantino combined … it is a cornerstone of 50s iconoclast cinema along with Sweet Smell of Success and Johnny Guitar

  • Marty Melville

    This might be Criterion’s sleaziest cover ever. OK, it’s Criterion’s only sleazy cover ever. And it’ll look even better without the blu-ray sticker mucking up the Irving Klaw-like lighting and composition.

    Regarding Lex’s love for the remake (and way off topic) here’s its writer, Larry Cohen, on Clint’s Hoover pic:

    J. Edgar

  • Dan Revill

    I’ve never seen it, but that cover is pretty awesome – although I like the original release poster better:


  • Manitoba

    Robert Aldrich claimed “Kiss Me Deadly” turned out well because Victor Saville who owned the Mickey Spillane book rights, gave him near complete freedom.`

    `We just took the title and threw the book away. The scriptwriter, A.J. Bezzerides, did a marvellous job,`he says in the 1969 book ,The Celluloid Muse: Hollywood Directors Speak.

  • LexG

    I know I always have to naysay their ridiculous cover art, a crime which has gotten me banned from their stupid CC forum and insulted here and at Kenny’s, but…

    That cover art looks LOW-RENT AND CHEESY. If this is already on DVD from ANY other studio, I wouldn’t upgrade. Criterion has THE worst cover art in the biz.

    It’s like it doesn’t even count.

  • Bob Violence

    If this is already on DVD from ANY other studio, I wouldn’t upgrade.

    Great news!

  • Mr. Palmer

    Pretty SALO (both editions!) takes the cake for most disgusting cover.

    Said it once and I’l say it again: the BEST thing about BD is watching old B&W films. They are so much more alive.

  • Floyd Thursby

    “it is a cornerstone of 50s iconoclast cinema along with Sweet Smell of Success and Johnny Guitar”

    And Touch of Evil.

  • Joe M.

    Hopefully this contains the more complete ending, making clear Hammer’s and the dame’s final fate. Prints with the more truncated ending still appear from time to time. Knowing Criterion, both endings will be available on this release.

  • a_loco

    “You can can take or leave the plot/dialogue/theme”

    WHAT?!?! The best thing about this movie is its rampant nihilism and unwillingness to bend to the audience’s will, and all you care about is the visuals? Gimmeabreak. Robert Aldrich is known as the only film noir director (Orson Welles excepted) who even knew of the term “film noir” (because unlike most HW directors, he read French film theory) and it shows in this film. It has such a great glorious and utterly insane finale that saying we should care simply “for the visuals” is soooo misleading.

  • Bob Violence

    Knowing Criterion, both endings will be available on this release.

    it’s listed in the specs, even the MGM DVD has both endings (so did the VHS and laserdisc)

  • Floyd Thursby

    Mike Hammer: “You’re never around when I need you.”

    Velda: “You never need me when I’m around.”

  • Edward

    That poster is a tawdry classic. Been years since I’ve seen it; I definitely need the blu-ray.

  • CitizenKaned4Life

    “Hammer finds the black box with the bright light inside.”

    Absolutely shocked — SHOCKED! — that a certain commenter who shan’t be named hasn’t clocked into this thread yet and shared with all of us how a certain ’90s film owes its entire success to KMD, and how the writer/director would still be working at a certain video store if it weren’t for Aldrich & Co.

  • George Prager

    That commenter’s film memory doesn’t go past batteries not included.

  • Joe M.

    Author and Spillane enthusiast Max Allan Collins posted a nice piece today on his author site about his contributions to the special features on this disc.

  • yeh good old movie! love black and white films especially those like kiss me deadly!

  • LexG


    God I wish ANYONE HERE had seen I THE JURY recently so I could discuss the part where Mike Hammer is being tailed by some sadsack in a trenchcoat, and Assante grabs the guy and slams a cab door on the guy’s jacket, cut to a surreal shot of a giant-ass 1981 Yellow Cab cruising away with some big goon dragging on the road alongside it.

    It’s the awesomest image ever and should be a WICKER MAN level WTF viral meme, but you can’t find the movie anywhere.

    And please GOD please please please, Barbara Carrera was hot and all, but may pubic hair NEVER EVER come back in fashion for women.

  • bmcintire

    Sorry, but the cover art on the MGM release trumps them all. GREAT shot.

  • econeywaaa

    To Lex G;

    Who the fuck are you? Seems to me you’re just another sexually frustrated internet dweller with more anger than talent and a penchant for mixing your ridiculous sexual fantasies with criticism of people who have actually contributed to the art of film.

    What are your credits? What have you EVER done in your life? I’m sorry, I don’t like to engage in flaming, I find it counterproductive and it takes more time to read than it’s worth, but the slap against Criterion cover art was the last straw for me, because it says to me that Lex G has no real appreciation for film. If he judges the merits of a film by how much bush is shown or if the cover dazzles him, maybe he should be writing for Big Hollywood.

  • LexG

    Another satisfied customer.

  • great poster! love old movies!

  • this is amazing how wonderful and kind even thriller movies were at those times! thanks for posts abou them!

  • such a lovely poster! I collect them and want to have this one too!