Thursday, February 01, 2007

Boiling down and blowing up film noir

Robert Aldrich’s 1955 classic film noir Kiss Me Deadly is the subject of this month’s Out of the Past podcast. Bitchin’. Not only is this one of my favorite movies, Ralph Meeker is my favorite portrayer of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer. As the guys from the podcast explain, the film “makes telling changes to Mickey Spillane’s 1952 source novel. What was a story of greed and social corruption becomes an allegory of Cold War hysteria. Plot and character cede the stage to emotion and character type. While earlier films noir portrayed the downfall of a flawed person whose bad decisions had far-reaching social consequences, Kiss Me Deadly instead pits simplified personages and storylines against an ecstatically elaborate camera vision and sound design. It is at once the boiling down and the blowing up of noir — executed with a degree of camp only the mid-1950’s could muster — and as such, it is the fulcrum on which hard-boiled literary tradition and noir film history teeter-totter.”

See the movie, then listen to the podcast. Or do it the other way around. It’s all great, either way.


Post a Comment

<< Home