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Kiss Me Deadly

134 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A brilliant film noir classic based on Mickey Spillane's bestseller, Kiss Me Deadly is masterfully directed by Robert Aldrich (The Dirty Dozen) and hailed as one of his best (Leonard Maltin). This DVD edition of Kiss Me Deadly features the fully restored original endingwhich contains over one minute of crucial footage that clarifies decades of false interpretations. In order to illustrate the vastly different impressions left by each version, the altered/shortened ending has been included as well. When callous thugs beat Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker) senseless and viciously murder the gorgeous blonde he's been trying to help, the hard-boiled detective retaliates theonly way he can: by hitting first and asking questions later. Cutting a brutal swath through the city's sleazy underside, Hammer uncovers a mysterious black container whose deadly contents not only solve the murder...but trigger an apocalyptic climax as well!

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker, Paul Stewart, Juano Hernandez, Wesley Addy
  • Directors: Robert Aldrich
  • Writers: A.I. Bezzerides, Mickey Spillane
  • Producers: Robert Aldrich, Victor Saville
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Letterboxed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: June 19, 2001
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005AUK9
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,504 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Kiss Me Deadly" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

154 of 156 people found the following review helpful By Claude Avary on March 19, 2004
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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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By D. Hartley on 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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52 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Daniel S. on 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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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 2, 1999
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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Mills on 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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What alternative ending?
The 2001 MGM Vintage Classics DVD has the alternate/shortened ending as one of the Special Features. Just click on Special Features from the main DVD menu and you'll see it listed as "Alternate Ending."
Oct 6, 2007 by Autolycus |  See all 2 posts
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