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The Naked Kiss (The Criterion Collection)

66 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The setup is pure pulp: A former prostitute relocates to a buttoned-down suburb, determined to fit into mainstream society. But in the strange, hallucinatory territory of writer/director/producer Sam Fuller, perverse secrets simmer beneath a seemingly wholesome facade. Criterion is proud to present The Naked Kiss in a beautiful widescreen transfer.

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Until Sam Fuller came along, movies in the 1960s were still bound by Hollywood's self-imposed and often hypocritical rules of discretion. The crimes and misdemeanors of lurid pulp fiction remained on drugstore spin-racks and newsstands, diluted on screen until Fuller, with his cigar-chomping audacity and confrontational style, liberated movies from artificial restraint and kicked them into the meaner, darker, but more honest maturity of the post-Kennedy era. Shock Corridor announced Fuller's brazen agenda a year earlier, but The Naked Kiss is even more astonishing because its trashy, provocative plot dares to find depth and humanity beneath the hardened shells of corrupted souls.

The film begins like no other before it: Kelly (Constance Towers) beats her pimp with a handbag, grabs the cash he owes her, adjusts her telltale wig and makeup, and sets out to begin life anew, free from the shame of prostitution. Two years later she's in Grantville, a typically Rockwellian slice of Americana, working wonders with disabled kids and gaining distance from her miserable past. She's even engaged to the town's most respected citizen, but dark clouds are gathering: a corrupt cop knows Kelly's hidden secrets; a nearby brothel taints the community; and a pedophile is lurking in the shadows. Through it all, Fuller calibrates The Naked Kiss with such precision that sentiment and sordidness can run parallel without colliding, shifting from outrageous vice to shameless tear-jerking with equal facility. With twisted tricks up his sleeve, Fuller can be accused of tabloid tackiness, but that would be missing the point: In Fuller's cruel and ugly world, compassion still finds a way to survive. --Jeff Shannon


Special Features

  • Color bars

Product Details

  • Actors: Constance Towers, Anthony Eisley, Michael Dante, Virginia Grey, Patsy Kelly
  • Directors: Samuel Fuller
  • Writers: Samuel Fuller
  • Producers: Samuel Fuller, Leon Fromkess, Sam Firks
  • Format: Black & White, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • 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: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: August 26, 1998
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0780021088
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,052 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Naked Kiss (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on December 20, 2004
Format: DVD
"EMOTIONAL VIOLENCE!" shrieks the trailer to Samuel Fuller's 1964 B-movie extravaganza "The Naked Kiss," and you'll believe that claim eventually even though it initially causes a snicker. Fuller, arguably more than any other American director of the time, helped push Hollywood far beyond the staid, cookie cutter studio productions of the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s. Here's a film that is a real envelope pusher, a film that deals with themes that must have absolutely shocked audiences of the 1960s to the core of their being. Heck, "The Naked Kiss" still has the power to shock today, and that's saying something about a black and white film that is now forty years old. Fuller, who had begun challenging film audiences much earlier with such films as "Pickup on South Street" and "Shock Corridor," went on to produce, write, and direct other notable films. Before watching "The Naked Kiss," the only Fuller picture I knew about was his homage to the fighting men of World War II, 1980's "The Big Red One." According to information gleaned during several Internet excursions, the French in particular embraced Fuller even as American audiences forgot about him. The recent DVD explosion is sure to rekindle a love for the man's films on this side of the Atlantic.

We see a good deal of that emotional violence--as well as a dose of physical violence--in the opening scenes of "The Naked Kiss," as an aging yet still attractive harridan named Kelly (Constance Towers) pummels her pimp senseless with a high-heeled shoe. She's striking out on her own, taking a sum of money from her now prostrate boss in order to make her escape. Kelly feels that the years of abuse and degradation have rendered her useless and decrepit, and she hopes a new start will restore a modicum of her youthful zest for life.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Daniel S. on April 23, 1999
Format: DVD
Produced, written and directed by Samuel Fuller, THE NAKED KISS is a little jewel. Constance Towers, in a " à la Gena Rowlands " role, gives a performance you won't forget easily. A great thanks then to Criterion which allows us to rediscover this wonderful movie.
Samuel Fuller, from his 1940 debut in Hollywood until his last movies in France, deserves to be considered as one of the great american directors of the last fifty years. He mainly visited the western, war movies and film noir genres and gave us such masterpieces as FORTY GUNS, SHOCK CORRIDOR and UNDERWORLD, U.S.A. With no big stars but with a style of its own. Raw, violent and provocative, for the eyes and also for the intellect.
THE NAKED KISS is a movie destined to shock the audience. An emotionally ultra-violent first scene prepares us to a journey through Cinderella Land and the Garden of Evil. Samuel Fuller won't let anybody unharm. The Charming Prince, the Hooker with a heart big as the world, the Cop blasé : everybody will suffer in front of Fuller's camera.
It's the third time I watch THE NAKED KISS, the first time on DVD, and I like it even more now. Its atmosphere is one of the strangest you can find on film. Remember Charles Laughton's NIGHT OF THE HUNTER ? One can feel a bit of this dreamy atmosphere in Fuller's movie. The child song Constance Towers sings with the handicapped children will give you the chill.
Image is great, a few white spots now and then coming from a non-perfect copy. The sound is good but you'll have to turn your volume control. Scene access and theatrical trailer as bonus features.
A DVD for your library.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By William Dodd on July 2, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I had never seen the film, but had heard about it for a long time. I wanted to see it, but was reluctant to spend the money on the Criterion version without seeing it first. The price of this Miracle edition is so low, I had nothing to lose---even if I buy the Criterion later.

This is a facinating film--- read all the reviews for all the editions. But it IS a low budget production. This Miracle disc, while not being in the same league with Criterion is really pretty watchable. It's no demonstration disc, but it's a way to own a movie you may not want to watch very often.

If you are a serious collector, go for the Criterion. Otherwise, this one is a lot better than one has any right to expect for something that's being sold for a few cents plus shipping.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By E. E. Kuersten on February 6, 2011
Format: DVD
A couple reviews on here give this film low marks, even as far as Fuller films go, which is silly, like saying Plan Nine from Outer Space is bottom shelf Ed Wood. What? Fuller's style is ragtag and raw, like Weegee meets a commie spy in a dark alley and slugs out a newspaper singlehanded. No one ever accused Fuller of being subtle or smooth. Thank God for it. You have to see this film with the same respect for low budget simplicity and ragged editing you'd grant to 60s nouvelle vague like Breathless and Les Bonnes Femmes or early Cassavettes. Otherwise, y'all might as well go back to watching Malibu CSI or whatnot. NAKED KISS is prime Fuller, standing tall with classic pulp like KISS ME DEADLY.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By gobirds2 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 8, 2002
Format: DVD
THE NAKED KISS opens with such a shocking, lurid and erotic scene of a prostitute violently beating her pimp, seen blow by blow from his point of view, that the viewer is immediately jolted and gripped by these images and is mesmerized. Director, Samuel Fuller hooks you and he doesn't let go. The statuesque Constance Towers is the prostitute named Kelly and eventually she arrives at a new town where she ultimately decides to start a new life that leads to her working with disabled children. Certain aspects of her past experiences lead her to conclusions that are unspeakable about the "normal" society that she has now established herself in. This is truly a remarkable film because director- writer Fuller takes the viewer to avenues of unexpected emotional response both subtle and outlandish touching raw nerves along the way leaving one disconcerted and devastated. The chiaroscuro cinematography by Stanley Cortez shooting the light and dark elements of Constance Towers face and figure within each frame lends to the off beat and sensational visual expression of this torn figure of a woman. Towers and Cortez both complete Fuller's vision of a hard world speckled with fleeting moments of sentimentality and an ever-elusive sentimentality.
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