The setup is pure pulp: A former prostitute relocates to a buttoned-down suburb, determined to fit into mainstream society. But in the strange, hallucinatory territory of writer/director/producer Sam Fuller, perverse secre... more »ts simmer beneath a seemingly wholesome facade. Criterion is proud to present The Naked Kiss in a beautiful widescreen transfer.« less
"Produced, written and directed by Samuel Fuller, THE NAKED KISS is a little jewel. Constance Towers, in a " à la Gena Rowlands " role, gives a performance you won't forget easily. A great thanks then to Criterion which allows us to rediscover this wonderful movie.Samuel Fuller, from his 1940 debut in Hollywood until his last movies in France, deserves to be considered as one of the great american directors of the last fifty years. He mainly visited the western, war movies and film noir genres and gave us such masterpieces as FORTY GUNS, SHOCK CORRIDOR and UNDERWORLD, U.S.A. With no big stars but with a style of its own. Raw, violent and provocative, for the eyes and also for the intellect.THE NAKED KISS is a movie destined to shock the audience. An emotionally ultra-violent first scene prepares us to a journey through Cinderella Land and the Garden of Evil. Samuel Fuller won't let anybody unharm. The Charming Prince, the Hooker with a heart big as the world, the Cop blasé : everybody will suffer in front of Fuller's camera.It's the third time I watch THE NAKED KISS, the first time on DVD, and I like it even more now. Its atmosphere is one of the strangest you can find on film. Remember Charles Laughton's NIGHT OF THE HUNTER ? One can feel a bit of this dreamy atmosphere in Fuller's movie. The child song Constance Towers sings with the handicapped children will give you the chill.Image is great, a few white spots now and then coming from a non-perfect copy. The sound is good but you'll have to turn your volume control. Scene access and theatrical trailer as bonus features.A DVD for your library."
A Classic Film - An Awful, Insulting Print And Transfer
APC Reviews | USA | 06/15/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the great, cult, Fuller films. Notable for its trashy blend of noir fatalism, stereotypical American settings and characters, and subversive anti establishment amoralism.However, save yourself $30.00 and buy a used VHS copy of the film, this Criterion edition is an absolutely AWFUL print, and looks to be no better than the cheapest VHS tape in quality. Criterion continues to push the envelope -- the limit of how much people are willing to pay for what are frequently sub standard prints and transfers of classic films. They have had some wonderful remasters and reissues, and deserve credit for those. But they also won't hesitate to use their name and reputation to hustle poor quality copies."
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 12/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""EMOTIONAL VIOLENCE!" shrieks the trailer to Samuel Fuller's 1964 B-movie extravaganza "The Naked Kiss," and you'll believe that claim eventually even though it initially causes a snicker. Fuller, arguably more than any other American director of the time, helped push Hollywood far beyond the staid, cookie cutter studio productions of the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s. Here's a film that is a real envelope pusher, a film that deals with themes that must have absolutely shocked audiences of the 1960s to the core of their being. Heck, "The Naked Kiss" still has the power to shock today, and that's saying something about a black and white film that is now forty years old. Fuller, who had begun challenging film audiences much earlier with such films as "Pickup on South Street" and "Shock Corridor," went on to produce, write, and direct other notable films. Before watching "The Naked Kiss," the only Fuller picture I knew about was his homage to the fighting men of World War II, 1980's "The Big Red One." According to information gleaned during several Internet excursions, the French in particular embraced Fuller even as American audiences forgot about him. The recent DVD explosion is sure to rekindle a love for the man's films on this side of the Atlantic.
We see a good deal of that emotional violence--as well as a dose of physical violence--in the opening scenes of "The Naked Kiss," as an aging yet still attractive harridan named Kelly (Constance Towers) pummels her pimp senseless with a high-heeled shoe. She's striking out on her own, taking a sum of money from her now prostrate boss in order to make her escape. Kelly feels that the years of abuse and degradation have rendered her useless and decrepit, and she hopes a new start will restore a modicum of her youthful zest for life. Two years later, we see our heroine stepping off a bus in Grantville, U.S.A., a place that makes "Leave it to Beaver" look like South Central Los Angeles. This town is so saccharine, so picture perfect in that 1950s Hollywood way that you start to wonder exactly where Fuller is taking us. Not to worry. Kelly immediately runs into police detective Griff (Anthony Eisley), a man who hangs around the bus station all day picking up women like Kelly. We also learn that Griff exploits these women by first luring them into a physical encounter before sending them off to a brothel owner named Candy (Virginia Grey). Kelly knows none of this at the start, but she learns quickly after Griff slips her a twenty for the time they spend together. Our woman is appalled at her lapse, so much so that she swears off the life forever and takes up work as a nurse at a local hospital for disabled children.
Things start looking up for Kelly after she takes her new position at the hospital. The hapless souls in her charge buoy her flagging spirits, making her feel as though she's really contributing something to the world. She also gets the opportunity to help out a few women, Dusty (Karen Conrad) and Buff (Marie Devereux), caught up in similar problems she once faced. But the best aspect of Kelly's transformation from harridan to hospital hero is the attention she receives from Grant (Michael Dante), Grantville's primary philanthropist and a beloved figure around town. This guy heaps praise on Kelly, wooing her with his fancy friends, gifts picked up in foreign lands, and his forgiving nature. Even after Grant learns about Kelly's past, in no small part due to Griff's interference, he still offers to marry her. Things couldn't seem better, right? It's around this point that Fuller drops the cinematic equivalent of a nuclear bomb into the proceedings. Towers's character discovers a shocking secret concerning Grant and the town's children, a secret so devastating that she lashes out at her fiancé and accidentally kills him. Her new life shatters as every enemy, and even every friend, she has comes out of the woodwork to excoriate her. It's only through a few lucky breaks that Kelly clears herself of a murder charge, but she must leave Grantville with her reputation in tatters.
I watched "The Naked Kiss" with my girlfriend, and we had a grand time with Fuller's seedy film. We roared, guffawed, and giggled through roughly the first hour of the film. How could we not? The dialogue is hilarious, those children singing in the hospital will make you howl with pain, and Kelly's hard as nails behavior is a real hoot. You simply must love the scene where she charges into the local brothel in order to batter a squawking and squealing Candy into submission. Go get 'em, Kelly! And that mannequin in her room where she stays after first arriving in Grantville! Oh brother! Yep, "The Naked Kiss" is a real trashy laughfest--until Fuller drops the bomb. When Grant's true nature comes to light, my girlfriend and I quit laughing in a hurry. From this point until the end of the movie, you could have heard a pin drop in my living room. As the credits roll, it becomes abundantly clear that Fuller made a masterpiece. Any film that can change gears so effectively, essentially turning cinematic conventions of the time on their head in the process, deserves our praise.
The Criterion Collection again performs miracles bringing a screen classic to DVD. The picture quality looks amazing for such an old film. Unfortunately, you'll need to pick up Criterion's version of Fuller's "Pickup on South Street" if you want plenty of extras, as the only bonus included here is the EMOTIONAL VIOLENCE! trailer. "The Naked Kiss" is a must see film, and one that will stay with me for some time. I'm grateful to an online friend who really knows cinema for inspiring me to check this marvelous gem out. "
OK DVD of Sam Fuller classic
William Dodd | Castle Rock, WA USA | 07/03/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I had never seen the film, but had heard about it for a long time. I wanted to see it, but was reluctant to spend the money on the Criterion version without seeing it first. The price of this Miracle edition is so low, I had nothing to lose---even if I buy the Criterion later.
This is a facinating film--- read all the reviews for all the editions. But it IS a low budget production. This Miracle disc, while not being in the same league with Criterion is really pretty watchable. It's no demonstration disc, but it's a way to own a movie you may not want to watch very often.
If you are a serious collector, go for the Criterion. Otherwise, this one is a lot better than one has any right to expect for something that's being sold for a few cents plus shipping."
Upscaled old transfer to be anamorphic!
Charles Pennington III | Columbus, OH | 09/13/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This new VCI anamorphic edition of THE NAKED KISS does feature some new to DVD bonus interviews, BUT the transfer is not good at all! It looks to have been unscaled from a flat widescreen master, and there is major ringing and compression artifacting around words anytime they are on the screen. This transfer is worse than Criterion's, which also needs to be redone. So far the best I've seen this film look is on the UK R2 PAL DVD release, which is unmatted but is properly cropped on a widescreen TV once the full/fill mode is used. It is sharper, brighter and smoother than any US release I've seen.
DON'T BUY THIS DVD IF YOU ARE WANTING A HIGH QUALITY NEW ANAMORPHIC TRANSFER!"