Monday, April 24, 2017

The Naked Kiss (1964)

Director: Samuel Fuller

Writer: Samuel Fuller

Composer: Paul Dunlap

Starring: Constance Towers, Anthony Eisley, Michael Dante, Virginia Grey, Patsy Kelly, Marie Devereux, Karen Conrad, Linda Francis, Bill Sampson, Sheila Mintz, Patricia Gayle, Jean-Michel Michenaud, George Spell, Betty Bronson

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Candy's Place--where all kinds of men find all kinds of sweets!

Plot:  Kelly, a prostitute, traumatized by an experience, referred to as 'The Naked Kiss,' by psychiatrists, leaves her past, and finds solace in the town of Grantville. She meets Griff, the police captain of the town, with whom she spends a romantic afternoon. Kelly finds a job as a nurse in a hospital for handicapped children. The work helps her find her sensitive side in the caring and helping of her young patients. Kelly's path towards happiness is thrown amiss, when she witnesses a shocking event, which threatens not just her happiness, but her mental health as well.

My rating:8/10

Will I watch it again?  Yes.

You've got to see this.  Get a load of the names in the story: Candy, Mac, Buff, Dusty, Rembrandt, Angel Face, Bunny, Hatrack, Zookie.  The film's got one hell of a pre-credits opening!  This is a wild and interesting ride.  There are moments of old school cheese (like when Kelly (Towers) meets Miss Josephine (Bronson) to rent a room in her house) on the acting front.  I'm sure it was easier to swallow 54 years ago but today it's just plain corny but I love it just the same.  Constance Towers is outstanding and she's given a lot to do.  Then there are a few scenes that are downright mature and amazing for that time.  They still hold up incredibly well.  This picture deals with prostitution, child molestation and murder.  The molestation shocker hit me upside the head, coming almost out from the darkness.  The children Kelly works with are just too adorable for words.  The song she sings with them, Little Child (Mon Enfant), is beautiful and the kids really shine.  The way that sequence is cut is nice, too.  Speaking of which, the story seemed like it was slapped together but it's not.  I realized that once it was over but there's an unusual mix of themes, situations, style and pacing that could feel like it was directed by more than one person or at least sections of the picture were given to different people to play with.  It's odd but damn if I didn't really enjoy it.  The way it all comes together is brilliant.  It's another home run from writer/director Samuel Fuller.  I'm about to start SHOCK CORRIDOR (1962), a film that's been on my radar for decades.  Watch it for yourself.  It's currently on YouTube in beautiful widescreen. 

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