The Naked Kiss is another film noir gem from the swinging sixties given to us by VCI Entertainment. The film starts with the main star Kelly (Constance Towers) beating a man with her shoe, soaking him with water, and then taking money from him - nice start! While this is all happening her hair falls off and we see she is clearly bald. This opening scene is explained later on. What is clear is that she's a prostitute.
Several months later she arrives with a full head of hair in a town called Grantville. She's now selling Champagne and is looking for a fresh start. She hooks up with Griff (Anthony Eisley), a local police captain, for an evening of "fun" and makes $20 at the same time. After a short period she lands a job as a nurse in a hospital for handicapped children. The children all wear pirate costumes for some reason? I guess that's what kids did back then?!!
Things really perk up for her when she meets Grant (Michael Dante). He woos her off her feet with videos of Venice, classical music, and poetic talk. Before we can say "listen muffin, you're hot stuff", she's engaged to be married. This is after admitting to Grant that she was a prostitute during her past.
Around this time there is a scene direct from a Disney movie with all the kids (in their pirate costumes of course) singing a song - Kelly bursts into singsong too!
Meanwhile, Griff tries to get Kelly to leave town when he finds out she is marrying Grant. This seems to be because they are best friends and doesn't want an ex-pro to marry Grant. But when Kelly informs him that Grant knows about her seedy history, he has no foothold to tell her to leave. Well, everything is fine and dandy now, isn't it? Oh know, far from it!!
I won't delve into the plot from here as it will give some big spoilers but let's say its gritty, violent, and a little more disturbing than the cover lets out to be! We also learn what "Naked Kiss" actually means. Kelly informs us that it's the taste of a perverts kiss! Ok?! That gives you some clues on what happens next.
The Naked Kiss fits perfectly in the film noir genre and at the same time touches on some controversial subjects of the time. It has the wooden acting, the music, and the fabulous lines - I'm talking real comic book stuff here.
I enjoyed this film a lot, my only complaint is that it's a little slow in the first half especially after such a dramatic opening. But for fans of all things noir, and lovers of American "black and white" crime thrillers then this is it. It has in-your-face violence and smooth talking gangster-style characters. Also don't forget the overacting that we all cherish. For example there's one scene where Kelly smacks a girl (her sister?) on the jaw. When she falls on the bed you can clearly see her walking the metre or so to the bed before falling! Now this made me laugh.
The film is directed by Samuel Fuller, a name that rang a bell. Of course, he directed the war thriller The Big Red One (1980). He also dipped his toes into some low level shockers such as Shark! (1969). Fuller really does his magic on The Naked Truth with directing that really gets his message across. I'm going to fish out my copy of The Big Red One and watch it right now!
The DVD is a region 0 NTSC standard edition but does come with some nice features. The film has been enhanced for 1.85:1 widescreen TVs and the print is fine - especially for its age. I noticed no noise on the print and the "black and white" is clear. The sound is fine but on my speakers I could hear a faint hiss throughout, but I guess this is expected for such an old film.
The extra content include several interesting video interviews with Fullers wife, daughter, and actor Michael Dante (who was looking as fit as a fiddle), an audio interview by Michael Dante with Constance Towers, several bio's, and trailers for other film noir classics: Man Bair, Bad Blonde, and Slightly Scarlet.
VCI Entertainment is really going out their way to deliver these classics of 20th Century cinema. The Naked Kiss is a great place to check out the genre, check it out!
Review by Broonage
|Released by VCI|
|Region All - NTSC|
|see main review|