Killer’s Kiss – A Promising Filmmaker

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.

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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.

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Once Upon A Time In The West – Western’s Fairytale

Sergio Leone‘s masterpiece.

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Revenge is about patience, and agility. Harmonica, (a mysterious Charles Bronson) is looking for Frank (a breathtaking Henry Fonda), and determined to achieve a, so far, blurry goal.
Stories, within stories, meant to to converge at one point, and characters that will experience a life change. The italian director mastered all the elements, and details of his movie, preventing us to get confused, and arousing out excitement, and curiousness.

Once Upon A Time In The West is not like every other western, its bold, not prude, and rough. Morals aren’t. Shoot-out, murders, robberies, those are part of a quotidian, of the population’s daily lives. An eye for an eye. Money is the first interest of desperadoes, and gunslingers, nothing else. If you have money, you’ll sure risk to die very soon.
The movie deals with an important aspect of this ancient life: trivialization of immoral acts. Therefore, Claudia Cardinale plays the role of a prostitute from New Orleans, coming into the West to marry a rich men, and forget about her past life. However, things gets spicy, and she will find herself, having to use her physical assets, and work skills, to stay alive. There’s no place for mercy. It’s a manly world, violent and unforgivable. Indeed, despite Jill (Cardinal’s character), the only women showed in the movie, dies during the first minutes of the movie. Misogynistic? Not a place for a woman to be? After all, westerns are meant for boys; women are just like money, trophies, but here again, Leone, is revisiting the genre.

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He gave birth to a timeless movie, living his landmark in The History of Cinema. He gave his interpretation of what could be a Western’s fairytale, and succeeded in convincing his audience, of the authenticity of his work and story, through the outstanding performances of his actors.
The slow rhythm hypnotizing, pushed us to hold out breath, and wait for what will happen next. Everything is about, be prepared to danger, having an eye everywhere, be careful to the slightest noise, or observing the slightest movement. And this tension, is gripping, and taking us hostages of the unpredictable following.

I believe, Sergio Leone, did an amazing work, bewitching the youngest and oldest ones. Westerns’ll never die, and that’s a comfortable belief.