Thursday, January 18, 2007

Revisit: The Naked Kiss

An Allied Artists Picture 1964
Written & Directed By Samuel Fuller

Kelly (Constance Towers), a prostitute, shows up in the town of Grantville, where she engages in a tryst with sheriff Griff (Anthony Eisley), who then tells her to get out of town. Instead, she decides to give up her illicit lifestyle, and becomes involved in working with handicapped children. She falls in love with Grant (Michael Dante), scion of the town's founding family and Griff's best friend. Just as Griff begins to believe that Kelly may be on the level, a murder and perversion scandal threaten to destroy Kelly's new life.

Samuel Fuller is one of the best crime/noir directers in film history, most well known for 1953's excellent film-noir Pickup on South Street. This film, about a prostitute trying to turn-over a new leaf, is a clunky mess. Made well after Fuller was released from his contract with Fox pictures in the late fifties, it deals with the exploitation of women and small town hypocrasy. However, the film's B-movie feel and heavy-handed, pro-feminist trappings do more damage than good. The result is a forced film with a mixed message. Pick up South Street instead; this one's for Fuller enthusiasts only.

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