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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Kiss Me Deadly (1955)



Reviews and Comments

This great screen incarnation of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer character -- a great tough guy who might have inspired characters like Harry Callahan -- packs a mean punch. Director Robert Aldrich started with westerns and would go on to make great adventure movies and horror-thrillers, but this, his first great film, is a hard-hitting noir of espionage. Like all the great noirs, the story is driven by the dark obsessions of the characters, and the hero doesn't feel so much like a true hero as a failed badguy.

A few different versions of the film exist, and the ending varies greatly between them. The most recent DVD releases of the film restore some footage to the ending and is the version I recommend seeing.