Killer’s Kiss

Stanley Kubrick didn’t much care for his second feature, and one can’t blame him. It’s a bit of hard-boiled juvenilia (he was 27 when it was released) with corny, ludicrous narration. Trying to fit Killer’s Kiss in with Kubrick’s later masterpieces is really stretching it; it’s best viewed as an early exercise, like Robert Altman’s potboiling 1957 debut The Delinquents. Jamie Smith is a boxer who falls in love with Irene Kane, angering her boss Frank Silvera. There’s some hilarious drawn-out footage of a ballerina played over the leading lady’s endless story about her family — it’s obvious padding. Eventually the hero and the villain face off in a warehouse full of mannequins, in the movie’s most memorable sequence; Kubrick nerds have linked the scene to 2001, A Clockwork Orange, and The Shining, but it reminded me more of Kalifornia. The movie inspired 1984’s Strangers Kiss, probably a more interesting film. Kubrick also did the editing and cinematography. Howard Sackler wrote the screenplay, but Kubrick gets sole writing credit onscreen.

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