Review: The Naked Kiss

This Naked Kiss is a film noir from the noir legend Samuel Fuller. Fuller wrote and directed this film from 1964.

This film starts out with a prostitute named Kelly, played by Constance Towers, in a fight with a man. The man pulls off her wig to reveal she is completely bald! The reason she is bald in this opening scene does come up later in the film, but seems a minor point by that time. This is a shocking scene though and appears promptly on many of the posters and promotional items for the film, I’m sure it peaked some interest in the film and sold a few tickets back in 1964. After this battle with the man, Kelly takes only the money that is owed to her and leaves. The film then flashes forward a few years as Kelly gets off the bus in Grantville. She soon meets a police captain named Griff, played by Anthony Eisley. Griff soon becomes Kelly’s first customer in town and it is also her last. Griff recommends Kelly go across the river and work at an established cat house in the neighboring town. When Griff goes to the cat house to see how Kelly has settled in, he finds she is not there. Kelly has had a change of heart and soon gets a job at the local hospital for children. When Kelly meets J.L. Grant, the Grant for which the town Grantville is named, there are instant sparks and a romance soon starts.

The holes in this plot are so big that the plot doesn’t even make any sense after a while. Why does a prostitute suddenly decide to change her ways? OK, this one may be explained away as perhaps Kelly was playing the long game and using her femme fatale ways to land the most eligible bachelor. Kelly does seem to come across as bi-polar, one minute she is the nicest person you will ever meet and the next she is loosing it for some minor reason. I don’t know whether Towers is a bad actress or brilliant, I could never get a read on what Kelly’s motives are and at the end of this film I still didn’t know why she did half the stuff she did.

This film is unique and a bit campy in places, but well worth viewing for fans of classic film noir. This is not my favorite film from Fuller, but he has made it interesting enough that I’m glad I did see it.

Favorite Tidbit: Samuel Fuller put a few Easter Eggs in this film from his own noir universe. In one scene you can see Kelly walking by a theater where Fuller’s previous film Shock Corridor is on the marquee. In another scene Kelly is reading on a park bench while talking to Griff, the book she is reading is The Dark Page,a book written by Fuller.

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