Review: Crime and Punishment, USA

Crime and Punishment, USA is a noir from 1959 I recently caught on Turner Classic Movies.  This is a 1950’s version of the famous book by Fyodor Dostoevsky relocated to modern 1950’s Sana Monica, California.

This movie may be more of note for “Introducing” us to George Hamilton, then anything else.  This is Hamilton’s first film and he is our main star.  He had a few small television roles before this.  Hamilton is pretty good in this as a very smart law student.  He feels superior to others, because of his high intelligence and in different scenes he comes across as arrogant, humble, likable, evil, yet charming.  It’s a pretty good performance for a young actor.

Frank Silvera plays the homicide detective who believes Hamilton’s Robert is guilty of murder, but can not prove it.

Our story starts with a scene where we hear there is a murder and we see Hamilton faint in the street.  We soon find out it is a pawn shop owner that has been murdered and Hamilton’s friends feel he is sick and we see him in bed as his friends gather around his bed in concern.  We soon find Hamilton alone in his room and he pulls out a bag, we see gloves, a crowbar and a load of cash.  He hides the cash and soon leaves the apartment to dispose of the evidence.  We soon see a man in trouble, it looks like his heart.  Hamilton shows his good side and helps the man home.  He soon arrives home and finds his sister and mother waiting for him as they have come to town worried about him.  Him and his friend soon go to visit the police and we are introduced to Silvera, our head homicide detective.  Hamilton and his friend are there to retrieve a few items Hamilton has pawned at the shop of the dead women.  A cat and mouse chase between Hamilton and Silvera begins, but who is the cat and who is the mouse?

Though the two lead performances are very good, and this is based on one of the most classic books of all time, something is just off about this film.  I don’t know what it is, whether key story points from the book are not covered, or our supporting characters do not have enough character development, I do not know.  This was not a horrible film, it just seems like it could have been a lot better film.  Maybe this book isn’t the right source material for a noir film?  If you are a fan of the two stars it is worth a watch for their performances. If you want to see another adaptation of the source material you may find it interesting.

Review: Killer’s Kiss


Killer’s Kiss is the second movie directed by Stanley Kubrick, and the last film in which he used his own original script.  He made this film on a shoe string budget while on welfare.  Even though this is a very cheaply made film, we can see Kubrick’s unique eye and his future greatness.  He shot scenes from a back of a truck and from the window of a car to save money on a dolly and shooting permits.  The sound had to be re-dubbed after filming, making some of the voice overs look a little funny.

Some of the scenes that stand out are the boxing match at the beginning of the film, it looked very realistic and reminded me of the Raging Bulls boxing scenes.


I also liked the thugs in the alley scene, very classic noir style and suspenseful.


And the mannequin, ax, fight scene is pretty interesting as well as the short waking up from a nightmare scene.

Our story starts out with our protagonist, Davey, in the train station and begins telling his story.  Davey is played by Jamie Smith.  The flashback starts with Davey in an important number one contenders match with an up and coming boxer.  He is beat and goes back to his apartment.  He watches his neighbor the femme fatale Gloria played by Irene Kane.  He hears her scream and looks into her window to see her being assaulted by night club owner Vincent, played by Frank Silvera.  Davey runs to her rescue and our story really takes off.

Irene Kane said “Kubrick convinced me to play the girl by explaining that I was going to be a very important movie star, and I thought that might be better than getting a real job at Dunkin’ Donuts.”  Though she did some T.V. work and a few other movies, she never became an important movie star.  She did do well as a writer, becoming a journalist and co-writing many autobiographies including ones for Rosalind Russell, Alan King, Josephine Baker, and US First Lady Betty Ford.  She wrote under the name Chris Chase.

Though you can see this is an inexpensive film and the plot is fairly simple, the visuals are very interesting and you can see where Kubrick is going from here.  The movie is very short, only being a little over an hour-long.  It is definitely worth your time if you’re a Kubrick fan, noir fan, or even a boxing movie fan.