RARA-AVIS: Kiss me Mike, I want you to kiss me...

From: Louis David Goldberg ( louisg@umich.edu)
Date: 17 Aug 2001

I love Spillane's quote that when he needed the money he wrote the books faster than when he didn't. It may be true, but I think Spillane was trying to promote a regular guy, non-literary image as well.

I've seen the two versions of I, The Jury, the 1953 one much more faithful than the later Armand Assante version. I remember Anthony Quinn in The Long Wait (if that's the title) with it's great finale of the girl crawling to the guy tied in the chair to get the gun stashed in his sock. There were a couple of Mike Hammer series, one in the 50s and again later with Keach. Spillane himself played Mike in the British film The Girl Hunters which had hit and miss moments but is worth it all for Mike plugging the shotgun barrel with soil and the girl using it to kill him but wasting herself instead. I love Aldrich's Kiss Me Deadly but Aldrich's leftism took on Spillane's right-wing tone and made it a hatchet job. Aldrich's Hammer is a real sadistic ass, no where close to being a hero of any kind, just a sleezebag in over his head, willing to sacrifice everybody to obtain the prize which just blows up in his face. But, if you take that it's Spillane and Hammer out of the equasion, and look at its own merits, it's a wild Thompsonesque masterpiece that is closer to the noir sensibility than Spillane's universe usually embraces.

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