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Kiss Me Deadly (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (1955)

Ralph Meeker , Cloris Leachman , Robert Aldrich  |  NR |  Blu-ray
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)

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"The Life Aquatic" Available for Pre-order on Blu-ray
The Criterion Collection's release of Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic is available for pe-order on Blu-ray. This title releases May 27th, 2014. Learn more

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ralph Meeker, Cloris Leachman, Gaby Rodgers, Maxine Copper, Albert Dekker
  • Directors: Robert Aldrich
  • Format: Blu-ray, Black & White, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: June 21, 2011
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004S801YK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,397 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Kiss Me Deadly (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

New high-definition restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack

Audio commentary by film noir specialists Alain Silver and James Ursini

New video tribute from director Alex Cox (Repo Man, Walker)

Excerpts from The Long Haul of A. I. Bezzerides, a 2005 documentary on the Kiss Me Deadly screenwriter

Excerpts from Mike Hammer’s, Mickey Spillane, a 1998 documentary on the author whose book inspired the film

A look at the film’s locations

Altered ending

Theatrical trailer

PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic J. Hoberman and a 1955 reprint by director Robert Aldrich


Editorial Reviews

In this atomic adaptation of Mickey Spillane’s novel, directed by Robert Aldrich (What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, The Dirty Dozen), the good manners of the 1950s are blown to smithereens. Ralph Meeker (Paths of Glory, The Dirty Dozen) stars as snarling private dick Mike Hammer, whose decision one dark, lonely night to pick up a hitchhiking woman sends him down some terrifying byways. Brazen and bleak, Kiss Me Deadly is a film noir masterpiece as well as an essential piece of cold war paranoia, and it features as nervy an ending as has ever been seen in American cinema.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
145 of 146 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Robert Aldrich's 1955 detective thriller, "Kiss Me Deadly," came at the end of the American classic film noir cycle, and shows the genre at its most violent, surreal, cruel, cynical, and visually bizarre. It's the last great explosive moment of the classic era of film noir -- and I do mean explosive. This is one detective film, like "Chinatown," which you won't soon forget.
Aldrich and screenwriter A. I. Bezzirides took on Mickey Spillane's popular P.I. Mike Hammer, but aside from keeping the basic plot outline of the original novel, they completely changed the nature of the character in a very reactionary move. Spillane's Mike Hammer is a New York detective-avenger, a self-righteous vigilante who deals out justice when the paralyzed forces of the law can do nothing: he's a vicious knight on a mean-spirited quest to right wrongs through brute force. (The title of the first Hammer novel, "I, the Jury" pretty much sums up his attitude.) The movie relocates Hammer to Los Angeles and turns him into a shallow con-artist who only cares about his car and his looks. He's a lousy detective too, relying on knocking people around for information, often innocent inoffensive folks, and never really paying attention to the important details of the case. His detective work is entirely matrimonial, where he and his `assistant' Velda put the squeeze on couples to blackmail them. Hammer's motto is simple: "What's in it for me?" Ralph Meeker is perfect in the role, looking as if someone carved him out of slab of meat.
No doubt, in this story Hammer is in way over his head...if only he knew it. He picks up a nearly naked girl (Cloris Leachman in an early role) who throws herself in front of his sports car. Later, they're run off the road, and faceless gangsters torture her to dearth and leave Hammer for dead.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Mmmm...look at all the goodies!" June 19, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Absolute film noir heaven (or hell, depending on how you look at it.) A film so visually and stylistically arresting that the somewhat intricate and confusing plot becomes a moot point, one can't help but watch this 1955 (!) Robert Aldrich masterwork with a sense of awe. We may be in disagreement on the assessment of Jerry Lewis' "genius", but as for the importance of this film's influence on susbsequent cinema, I have to agree with the French on this one! Ralph Meeker's sneeringly existential and Brandoesque Mike Hammer persona in this film has been imitated many times but never matched.One interesting note: 1984's "punk-noir" classic "Repo Man" borrowed quite heavily from this film...make it a double bill some slow night and you'll be amazed and bemused!
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49 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VA VA VOOM - PAOW ! November 11, 2001
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Robert Aldrich's KISS ME DEADLY is one of these movies I watch every two or three years with the same pleasure. When I discovered it for the first time long ago, Film Noir meant Humphrey Bogart, Howard Hawks, James Cagney or John Huston to me. So imagine the shock KISS ME DEADLY gave me.
Everything was so innovative in this movie from the initial credits rolling backwards over Cloris Leachman running half-naked on the road and gasping in Mike Hammer's car with a quite erotic intensity. From the sadistic torture scene of Christina Bailey to the character of Maxine -Velda- Cooper who helps Mike Hammer to nail adultery husbands by seducing them. From the secondary characters so well written that it seems that they all have a tremendously important role in the story.
At last, the performance of Ralph -Mike Hammer- Meeker is so perfect that it's hard to imagine another actor in the role. I personally can't. And Nick Dennis, Mike Hammer's friend, whose onomatopeia are now part of Movie History. And, and...
OK ! check for yourselves if you still don't know this movie. Superb copy with various subtitles, the alternate ending and the original trailer.
A DVD zone your library.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best of the genre! April 2, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This is easily one of the most outstanding pieces of film noir ever made. Ralph Meeker, (An actor who usually played bad guys.), plays a very anti-heroic Mike Hammer.
The Mike Hammer that Meeker portrays is greedy and sadistic. He takes great pleasure inflicting pain on others, and stepping on as many toes as possible to get what he wants. With a lead character as trashy as the one Meeker portrays you can only imagine how cold-blooded the rest of the people in this movie are.
"Kiss Me Deadly" is one of the more rarely seen classic detective pictures; this is a shame. From the very first shot of this picture, you can feel the crime-detective genre being pushed and beaten into directions no one has ever seen before.
There are some people who did not understand the ending of this picture. It's simple: "Be careful what you go looking for, you might not like what you find."
This is one wonderfully stylish, suspensful, and unusual motion picture. You owe it to yourself to check it out!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive Edition of a Noir Classic July 15, 2011
Format:Blu-ray
Arguably the finest film to be based on the writings of Mickey Spillane, director Robert Aldrich's KISS ME DEADLY (1955) has just received a new, restored and remastered release from Criterion on DVD and Blu-ray.

L.A. "bedroom dick," Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker) picks up a blonde in a trenchcoat named Christina (Cloris Leachman) that he finds running barefoot down a lonely road in the middle of the night. Shortly thereafter, his car is run off into a ditch, and he and his hitchhiker are abducted. The girl is tortured to death by unseen assailants, and both her body and the unconscious Hammer are put in his car and pushed off a cliff. Hammer survives and soon finds himself embroiled in a search to find a mysterious and valuable box - "the great whatsit" - a prize which he hopes will pay off big. Unfortunately, the slick P.I. is in over his head, playing a game far bigger than he can imagine.

Director Aldrich and screenwriter A.I. Bezzerides made no secret of their dislike of Spillane's novel and the character of Mike Hammer, who they perceived as a stupid thug. So their story portrays Hammer exactly that way, and ignores the various virtues of the literary version. In the film, Hammer is a sleazy operator who uses his secretary Velda (Maxine Cooper) to entrap married men in sexual honey traps, enabling him to go to their wives with incriminating - and profitable - photos. Despite Christina being murdered while in his company, he doesn't pursue the case out of any noble effort to find justice for the girl; he just smells an opportunity to make a score. Like his literary counterpart, this Hammer is often violent, but unlike the Hammer of the books, he's portrayed as a cowardly sadist who only beats up on those weaker than himself.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Kiss Me Deadly
Viewed this movie last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. A-1 condition, as was described. Delivered promptly. Read more
Published 23 days ago by HH
5.0 out of 5 stars "Stay away from the window. Someone might want to blow you a kiss."...
This 1955 low-budget adaptation of a Mickey Spillane novel by A.I. Bezzerides stars Ralph Meeker as Mike Hammer. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Allen Smalling
1.0 out of 5 stars A not so good version of Mike Hammer.
A not very believable, story, especially the character of Mike Hammer as a low life window peeper. Mr. Meeker as a tough guy? I kept expecting, him to cry any time he got hit.
Published 2 months ago by Jonny D.
5.0 out of 5 stars KISS ME, AWESOME
Yet another great Criterion transfer. Solid audio commentary and extras docs are really informative and entertaining. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Joker-scar
4.0 out of 5 stars Aldrich Plays with the Genre
KISS ME DEADLY, (1955). In this violent 106 minute black and white thriller, which is considered a classic of film noir, tough sleazy Los Angeles detective Mike Hammer (Ralph... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Stephanie De Pue
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for noir collectors
Often called the last classic noir, bizarrely entertaining and well worth serious study. The ending is and will be for years to come the subject of earnest analysis and debate. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Eric O. Allstrom
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Film Noir.
Viewed: 9/13
Rate: 10

9/13: After a slow start, Kiss Me Deadly picks up the pace and gets the ball rolling as soon as Mike Hammer delves deeper into the mystery of... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Austin Somlo
5.0 out of 5 stars Geat Film
One of my favorite Film Noir movies. I love the opening and the entire film. Great stuff here! You will enjoy it if you like the genre!
Published 8 months ago by Butterchurn
5.0 out of 5 stars Love these old lesser known Film Noir films
Great film by Robert Aldrich, better known for The Dirty Dozen. Just a classic at the end of that era of B & W film making. Read more
Published 10 months ago by thecolonel
4.0 out of 5 stars Holds Your Attention Though It Doesn't Hold Up
Mike Hammer, played by the Dick Clark-looking Ralph Meeker, can handle himself in this story, though he does get knocked around a few times. Read more
Published 10 months ago by G. Charles Steiner
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