THE KILLING and KILLER'S KISS

PrintE-mail Written by Ryan Pollard


BLU-RAY REVIEW: THE KILLING (1956) AND KILLER’S KISS (1955) / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: STANLEY KUBRICK / SCREENPLAY: STANLEY KUBRICK / STARRING: STERLING HAYDEN, COLEEN GRAY, FRANK SILVERA, JAMIE SMITH / RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 9TH

The second feature by legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, Killer’s Kiss is about Davy Gordon (Smith), a prizefighter, who rescues a private dancer, Gloria Price (Irene Kane), from being attacked by her employer and on-off lover Vincent Rapallo (Silvera). This chance encounter just happens to bring the two together and they start to become involved with each other, to the immediate displeasure of Rapallo. It’s not too long that he starts sending men out to kill Davy; but instead they kill his manager and best friend. They then kidnap Gloria, and it’s up to Davy to save her. On the back of that, we also have Kubrick’s third feature, The Killing, which is a heist movie about a small-time crook, Johnny Clay (Hayden), who has got out of prison and begins to mastermind a complex race-track heist in order to use the money to start a new life with his girlfriend. However, Clay’s scheme becomes complicated and soon escalates out of control by the intervention of the scheming, manipulative wife of a teller who’s in on the scheme.

Kubrick has stated that Killer’s Kiss was at a student level of filmmaking, but it’s still a fascinating movie to look back on, as it’s a notable film noir thriller in its own right. It’s a film about isolation and loneliness where the three main characters are all alone, with their roots almost severed due to something that had happened in their past that was once happy, but is now gone from them. In the end, these characters are all solitary in a big city at the end of the line. The film starts with a slow manner that is confident and quiet, and Kubrick uses this as a means to develop the characters and their backstories more, and for nearly half the film you can’t really tell where the plot is going. Yet, Kubrick gives us a way inside the characters’ heads, which allows us to get a deep feeling and understanding of them, even if the character of Rapallo is slimy and warped.

With The Killing, Kubrick appears to have taken everything that he learnt from making Killer’s Kiss and puts that to excellent use, and it’s by this time that Kubrick intently defined his style. It’s nearly sixty years old, but it still holds up and doesn’t look at all dated. Kubrick took Lionel White's hard-boiled, non-linear narrative about this one man (played with quick-talking, straightforward ease by the great Sterling Hayden) and his crew planning and tasking this robbery, and yet, the film seems to have characters and themes that can be both identifiable and recognisable with any period it’s set in. Even the supporting players are as sharply defined and psychologically involving, if not more so, than the main protagonist. What also makes this dark, sprawling and intense thriller shine is its dramatic cinematic direction, a grandiose musical score that produces shivers down your spine, and gorgeous cinematography to die for.

Ultimately, both Killer’s Kiss and The Killing serve as a great noir double-bill that, not only help define film noir cinema, but also define Stanley Kubrick as a true bona fide auteur, even before he dazzled and surprised us with his more recognisable works such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange.

Extras: Ben Wheatley appreciation / French TV extract with Sterling Hayden interview / Trailers / Collector’s booklet

 


Suggested Articles:
It’s an interesting time Universal, they are about to embark on a revival of their classic monster
Universal’s monster cycle kickstarted the first golden age of horror as the talkies took over. Spe
Back in 2014, Mad Max: Fury Road had to be one of the year’s most welcome surprises, with talks of
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Season 3 improves upon Season 2, and avoids committing that season's mistakes. The rand
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in DVD / Blu-ray Reviews

DRACULA: COMPLETE LEGACY COLLECTION 27 April 2017

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD BLACK & CHROME EDITION 27 April 2017

YU-GI-OH! GX SEASON 3 26 April 2017

THE WINTER SOLDIER (AKA 2307: WINTER’S DREAM) 26 April 2017

FALLEN 26 April 2017

A MONSTER CALLS 26 April 2017

PASSENGERS 26 April 2017

1990 SERIES ONE 24 April 2017

THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE 23 April 2017

PERFORMANCE 23 April 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner