It was a joy and a thrill to join film scholar Kevin Heffernan and Mike White, host of the terrific Projection Booth podcast, for an episode of his show on what is probably my favourite film noir, Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly (1955).
Kiss Me Deadly is one of those films I watch every year or so and always find something new to appreciate about it. Talking with my two co-podcasters, I discovered even more to like about it. Issues canvassed during this podcast include:
Mike Hammer (and Mickey Spillane) as the personification of the crisis in post WWII masculinity, and the women in the film as examples of females who are fighting against the confines of their role in American society in the 1950s.
The film’s popularity in France, particularly within surrealist circles for its depiction of the incoherence of everyday life and mass commercial culture.
The Cold War nuclear state, paranoia and surveillance.
THAT answering machine.
Ernest Laszlo’s sensational cinematography.
Los Angeles’ former Bunker Hill area as the 1940s/50s B-movie/noir outdoor film shooting location of choice.
The psychiatrist as an archetypal villain in 1940s/1950s American film.
Other fictional noir detective equivalents to Mike Hammer, including Harry Moseby in Arthur Penn’s 1975 film, Night Moves (okay that last part might of been just me).