Released - May, 1955
Directed By - Robert Aldrich
Starring – Ralph Meeker (Mike Hammer), Albert Dekker (Dr. G. E. Soberin), Paul Stewart (Carl Evello), Maxine Cooper (Velda), Juano Hernandez (Eddie Yeager).
Description – Blood red kisses! White hot thrills! Mickey Spillane’s latest H-bomb!
L. A. private eye Mike Hammer offers a ride to an apparently frightened young woman he sees running on the road one night. And, why not? The woman is wearing nothing but a trenchcoat.
Her name is Christina and she has escaped from a mental institution. That’s all Hammer learns of the woman as his car is run off the road by some thugs. Hammer awakens in an unknown location to the screams of Christina, who is being tortured to death in an effort to get information from her that she either doesn’t know, or just isn’t telling.
Hammer and the body of the young woman are put back into his car and the car is pushed off a cliff in order to make their deaths appear to be an accident. Hammer survives the crash to awaken in a hospital.
He decides to investigate just what is going on for two reasons…vengence and the fact that Christina must have been involved in something big. Something that could lead to a lot of money for the private detective.
Hammer’s inquiries into why Christina was killed lead him to a woman named Lily, who is also in danger and asks Hammer for protection. It seems that there is this mysterious box that, she believes, contains a fortune that someone will stop at nothing to obtain.
There’s another player in this dangerous game as the F.B.I. also is interested in the contents of the box, and the race is on to see who will end up with the mysterious box, just what does it contain, and who will have to die for their efforts.
NOTABLE: In 1999, Kiss Me Deadly was selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
Although based on the novel by Mickey Spillane, the film is very different in terms of the plot elements, who the bad guys are, and the valuable contents of the box.
Kiss Me Deadly was filmed in its entirety in less than three weeks.
This motion picture provided the film debut’s of Cloris Leachman and Maxine Cooper.
Personal Note: This is a classic Film Noir title that crosses over into a number of other genres. It is a fast, moody, violent picture that was years ahead of its time. Ralph Meeker makes a great Mike Hammer.