Kiss Me Deadly

Year: 1955

Production: Parklane Prod

Director: Robert Aldrich

Starring: Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker, Paul Stewart, Maxine Cooper, Gaby Rogers, Chloris Leachman

Screenwriter: A.I. Bezzerides

Based remotely on Kiss Me Deadly by Mickey Spillane

105 minutes; B/W


This extraordinary film noir, now recognized as one of the greatest of its period, substitutes a boxful of radioactivity - a kind of surrogate atom bomb - for the packet of narcotics everyone seeks control of in Spillane's original. In a sadly tarnished world, the lethal Pandora's Box takes on a glamor which literally shines out - destroy the world - at the apocalyptic climax. Painful and furious, Kiss Me Deadly gives an extraordinary abrasive quality to the stereotypes of the private-eye genre, but it is the box itself that dominates the movie, growing from an apparent McGuffin into an icon of menacing future, the object of worship in an impoverished present which, by implication, yearns for the hard white light that abolished all shadows.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

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