Saturday, January 26, 2013

Killer's Kiss (1955) Review

Killer's Kiss poster
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Frank Silvera, Jamie Smith, Irene Kane
Genre: Thriller, Film Noir

Killer's Kiss is a very early film by Stanley Kubrick, and probably the first in his filmography that I'd consider to be a good film (his previous efforts had to this point only been some short documentaries and a very mediocre Fear and Desire, of which Killer's Kiss is much of an improvement over).

The story concerns a boy, a girl, and love. But standing in-between boy and girl is a jealous and dangerous man of whom the girl used to work for. Boy and girl want nothing more than to be happily together, but can they overcome the necessary obstacles?

It's a very standard plot and a very standard love story with, as you may expect, a very standard ending (against Kubrick's original wishes). It is, all in all, an extremely conventional film. Kubrick's directing hints at the genius he would become, but at this point it was still very amateurish and crude.

Kubrick captures some very nice city visuals and the popular noir style of the time is implemented here which makes the film look very nice. As Kubrick himself had said: "While Fear and Desire had been a serious effort ineptly done, Killer's Kiss proved, I think, to be a frivolous effort done with conceivably more expertise, though still down in the student level of film-making."

The acting is, as with most facets if the film, very amateur. It's not terrible by any means, but it's only decent at its best. Should also be noted that the film was recorded with no audio and all the sounds and dialogue were later recorded in a studio and dubbed in (a very torturous process according to the actors). The dubbing isn't done bad, it's done well enough, though it is occasionally noticeable and it definitely doesn't help the already amateurish acting.

Killer's Kiss alley

There's not much to say about Killer's Kiss. It runs for just over an hour and it's a solid noir film that would have been forgotten had it not been for its director. Can only really recommend this to Kubrick fans; it's definitely not a bad film but it's only barely a good one and nothing as amazing as Kubrick's later films.

3/5 stars

Purchase Killer's Kiss on Amazon: DVD - Stream

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