I recently received as a birthday gift, a Stanley Kubrick movie pack, regrouping his twelve films (Fear and Desire not being included), I thus, decided to dedicate my future reviews on his work.
I started then, with his second debut feature Killer Kiss (earlier named Kiss Me, Kill Me). Filmed, in black and white, the camera introduced us to Davy Gordon (Jamie Smith) a prizefighter, waiting at the train station, who began narrating us, his past two days that were pretty intense.
On a beautiful background music composed by Gerald Fried, we are entering the enclosed world of Davy, in which he is trapped, showed through several metaphorical and discrete details, such as the box ring, or a fish bowl. However, there’s Gloria (Irene Kane), a taxi dancer at Pleasureland, who has her apartment’s window in front of his, through which he sometimes, watches her with a strong interest, positioning him self as a voyeur (reminding Hitchcock‘s work). They are both attracted to each other, and this complicated things, when Gloria’s boss, Rapallo (Franck Silvera), obsessed with her, tried to force her to be his.
Being, at first a photographer, we can notice how outstanding are his shots, carefully enlightened, with actors thoroughly positioned. As an amateur, he provided a compelling photography. The whole atmosphere of the film; principally shot at night, filming in alleys, capturing every shadow, has this strong tones of film noir, in a post-World War Two, and Cold War context of fear and corruption. The differences between good and evil are blurred, and Davy found himself a little lost, trying to escape from this world of madness.
It is obvious that this low cost experimental film, was at that time a promising work, but not Kubrick’s best movie. Nevertheless, full of suspense, Killer’s Kiss provided brilliant scenes, just like the fight in the mannequin store (symbolic of crime/thriller movies), and a fantastic and a real pleasure to the eye, photography.