Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Killer's Kiss, 1955

Directed by
Written by
Starring  , , and

(Part of the ongoing Kubrick series)

This is Kubrick's second picture, and it's definitely an improvement on the first, Fear and Desire, but it's still what one would call "an early work." It's a decent story and one can see how he could go from this to The Killing. There are a few things that make this movie stand out.

First, the fight at the end is great: it has the feeling of a real fight, not a Hollywood fight. It's set in a mannequin warehouse, which makes for both some incredible images and also for a wild card quality to the fight. There's a sense that, not only could it go either way, but that anything could happen.

Second, the boxing match is also quite something; on the one hand, it looks like so many boxing matches in so many movies, but I think it's because Kubrick created that form in this movie (and I'll bet Scorsese used this match as the basis for so many of the pieces in Raging Bull). Third, as you'd expect, it looks great -- and in the way that a young director, working on the cheap, has figured out -- not with everything that he could bring to bear for Barry Lyndon or 2001.

A couple of interesting side notes: 

According to the Wikipedia entry, United Artists forced Kubrick to recut the movie with a happy ending. This isn't surprising to me -- as, frankly, I was surprised that the movie had the happy ending that it did.

Even though these are the first shots of New York in one of his features, this New York and the New York of Eyes Wide Shut (which, apparently, was mostly a reconstruction on a Pinewood studios set) have a similar feeling to them. Plus ça change...

One of the many amazing shots
in the mannequin warehouse






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