RARA-AVIS: "Kiss Me Dedly" (The Aldrich/BezzeridesVersion)

From: chrisaschneider@earthlink.net
Date: 27 Aug 2003

-------Original Message------- From: Graham Powell < bleekerbooks@hotmail.com> Sent: 08/26/03 05:46 AM To: rara-avis@icomm.ca Subject: RARA-AVIS: Books different than movies
> [...] And I'm surprised no one has mentioned KISS ME DEADLY, which takes Mike-Hammer-as-crusading-knight and turns him into
Mike-Hammer-violent-thug, but is also a terrific movie. Comments?

I haven't read the book. I love the movie. As I've made clear elsewhere, I'm perfectly comfortable with the notion of a movie adaptation which makes changes for the sake of its effectiveness *qua* movie -- WHEN THE CHANGES WORK.

I will say, though, that the "Kiss Me Deadly" movie begins with credits which (unexpectly) scroll up from the *bottom* of the screen, thus reversing the standard viewer's expectations. With this in mind, couldn't you say that Aldrich & Bezzerides & Co designed the film as topsy-turvy experience? Metaphorical black has become metaphorical white, what once was a "crusading knight" is now -- as embodied by Ralph Meeker -- a thug and a bully.

(A side-note on Ralph Meeker and violence: Meeker was, along with Anthony Quinn, one of the first post-Brando actors to take on the role of Stanley Kowalski. He also played the male lead in the first production of Inge's "Picnic." Perhaps that small-town girl, played by Janice Rule, was taking on a *little* more than she might've expected?)

You could also, for that matter, link "Kiss Me Deadly" to another Bezzerides-written film, my beloved "On Dangerous Ground," since both are studies in male psychosis ...


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