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Monday, May 26, 2008

THE NAKED KISS (1964)


KISS was the end of the line for maverick writer/director Sam Fuller before his brief "late bloom" (BIG RED ONE, WHITE DOG) in the ‘80s. This ironically challenged tale of a prostitute turned angel of mercy, and the small town ethics that derail her attempt at rejuvenation, is too ham-fisted to realize the Brechtian mode Fuller may (that’s may) have been aiming at. (A low budget can bring out the alienated expressionist in any of us.) And the much noted, "daring" (if oblique) use of child molestation as the film’s big reveal/plot twist, is tawdry in typical Fuller mode without earning its place. The hope isn't to reveal, but to shock. Cultists and academic/film magazine types rate this one a masterpiece, so by all means help yourself. But even Fuller agnostics who haven't drunk the Kool-Aid will want to see the famous OTT opening: the attack, the telephone & the secret that lies underneath the blond wig. Yikes!

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