It is currently Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:23 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 74 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3
Author Message
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:43 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:30 pm
Location: Texas
Stylistically, The Naked Kiss does have some noir elements, but I actually like to see it as a precursor to David Lynch's later examinations of tranquil suburban life, a la Blue Velvet. I love the way the film sets up this little town as a haven of old-fashioned, apple pie Americana -- a place where people can leave their babies in strollers unattended on the street without worry -- but with something odd lying just beneath the surface. Betty Bronson as the sweet old lady who takes Kelly in and keeps a dress mannequin as a substitute for her dead lover would have been right up Lynch's alley two decades later. As Kelly settles into this place, she gradually discovers deeper layers of secrets: the police officer who wants to keep the filth out of his turf just to support a brothel on the outskirts; the young women who naively sell their bodies and have secret abortions; and finally the revelation that Mr. Do-Gooder himself is nothing but a pedophile. And then of course there's that wonderfully bizarre musical number, a staple of Lynch's films, that is alternately touching, grotesque, and wildly hilarious. And we don't even begin to understand just how perverse it is until the above revelation.


Top
 Profile  
 

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:12 am 
User avatar

Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm
Lynch is an interesting connection in terms of it being about the noir spirit moving out of the city- the idea that the suburban world that sprung up in the fifties is just a mask on the darkness and kinkiness that had been uncovered in the postwar era. Grant is obviously a stand-in for the city as a whole- it shares his name, and it's clear that he's its primary supporter. Grant and Grantville, the suburban and middle class world, is welcoming to the people trying to escape the noir twilight: it thinks they're equally disturbed and perverse. But of course, Grant is in his own way worse than anything Kelly is running from.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:39 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:30 pm
Location: Texas
matrixschmatrix wrote:
Grant is in his own way worse than anything Kelly is running from.

That, to me, is one of the most intriguing aspects of the film. As you say, Grant is a stand-in for the town, and it proves to be far worse than the life she left behind. This actually makes the ending of the film so haunting and ambiguous. Where exactly is Kelly going? She gave up on the big city at the beginning of the film, and now she's giving up on the suburbs, each in and of themselves a nightmare world. Kelly is an empowered figure, but it almost seems to me that in the end, there's simply no place for someone like her. She seems destined to be a constant drifter, always searching for a place where the corruption has yet to spread (but likely never finding it).


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:43 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm
There are core noir films that deal with moral rot in the suburbs - Act of Violence springs to mind - so I don't think The Naked Kiss can be arbitrarily excluded on those grounds. Personally, I would arbitrarily exclude it in terms of time frame, since I tend to draw the line around 60 / 61 (and it's really only stragglers by that point anyway), with most of what comes later tending to be more self-consciously reflective on the genre (i.e. neo-noir) than actual unconscious expressions of it.

Fuller is, of course, a special case, and he'd been working in his own vein that happened to coincide with noir for decades by this point, but that special case gets even more special with Kiss and Corridor: they're both so idiosyncratic that they really leave the genre behind.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:30 am 
User avatar

Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm
Just watched the other one of the duo- it was visually striking, but overall I don't think it was nearly as strong.

Shock Corridor's idea of how mental illness works seemed to absurd to take seriously- I was laughing out loud in the scene where our hero is mobbed by nymphos- and though it sort of works as pulp, I think it suffers by comparison to the Naked Kiss, which seemed like a much more sincere and less gimmicky character portrait alongside its pulpy elements. Moreover, it suffers because its subject matter is one that's difficult not to take seriously, at least for me; watching someone get shock treatment brings An Angel at My Table to mind, and it's difficult to stay in a pulp mindset with that kind of image.

On the other hand, Fuller's rage is as incandescent as ever, and it powers the best parts of the movie- Stewart's monologue is very strong, and brings out a lot of the revulsion at small minded hatred that powered the Naked Kiss, and Trent's whole performance is so forward thinking and brilliantly worked that it was still a genius and boundary pushing concept when Dave Chapelle did it forty years later. And as I said, it's a visually striking movie- all moody shadows against stark walls, shattered by the color nightmares (Ed Wood would be proud of the use of stock footage)- and I probably would like it more were I not mentally contrasting it against the Naked Kiss.

(It also didn't help that the lead so closely resembles Charlie Sheen.)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:54 am 
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm
I actually prefer Shock Corridor and it might be because I see the story elements just an excuse to meet these people. Like you said the Trent character is one of the most amazing things to see on film. It's highly disturbing. I also love, maybe most of all, the fat singer who is great both for the purposes of this film (which seems to be about examining the psychology of America) and just as a character. When he tells the lead that he's out of tune, I think it's after the virtuoso rain sequence, and laughs is easily my favorite Fuller moment. It shows the character perfectly. The electric stuff and especially the ending are as important and as full of passion and rage as the monologues.
Fuller loves this fucking country god damn it, but it's so crazed that he might have turned long ago. Don't destroy this asylum, but instead make it work for the power of good. That's why the obvious guy is the killer, it's an other level of betrayal from something he loves and feels should and can do good.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:00 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:30 pm
Location: Texas
matrixschmatrix wrote:
Shock Corridor's idea of how mental illness works seemed to absurd to take seriously

I really don't think Fuller was interested in depicting true mental illness in Shock Corridor. He used the mental institution setting solely as a kind of metaphorical micorocosm through which to study American society. That said, however, I do agree that The Naked Kiss is the superior film. I think Shock Corridor is a little too metaphorical, and as you say, it is less sincere. We sympathize more with Kelly than with Johnny because she comes through as an interesting, well-developed character, whereas Johnny seems more transparent as a cipher. The episodic structure of Shock Corridor also makes it seem a bit pedantic, with each patient rather explicitly revealing Fuller's social concern, while in The Naked Kiss we are allowed to slowly uncover each unsavory discovery along with Kelly. I had the same problem with White Dog, especially when Kristy McNichol literally faces the camera and screams to the audience the dangers of succumbing to racism, but I still enjoy the earlier film for its bizarre passages, like Constance Towers' striptease and the rain storm in the corridor. And yes, I love the nympho scene.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:28 am 
User avatar

Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm
Feego wrote:
matrixschmatrix wrote:
Shock Corridor's idea of how mental illness works seemed to absurd to take seriously

I really don't think Fuller was interested in depicting true mental illness in Shock Corridor. He used the mental institution setting solely as a kind of metaphorical micorocosm through which to study American society.

That was more or less my assumption, and I don't want to give the impression that I hate the movie by any means- it's more that its subject is a difficult one for me to view abstractly. In some ways, it's almost too well grounded for its own good- there's just enough detail about life at a mental hospital to throw the unrealism of the actual depiction of illness and its treatment into sharp relief.
Quote:
The episodic structure of Shock Corridor also makes it seem a bit pedantic, with each patient rather explicitly revealing Fuller's social concern, while in The Naked Kiss we are allowed to slowly uncover each unsavory discovery along with Kelly.

Generally, I don't mind it when Fuller is didactic- there's a feeling of Epic Theater about it sometimes- but it does seem uneven here. We spend a lot of time with Pagliacci, who works as a sort of physically unsettling character but doesn't fit into any kind of metaphorical scheme, the whole plot about Johnny's jealousy about Cathy stripping seemed imported from another movie. If the whole thing was some sort of surreal, existentialist detective story where we met a series of people driven insane by the contradictions in American culture, culminating in Johnny's freakout, I think I would like it more.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:54 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:30 pm
Location: Texas
For what it's worth, I wasn't particularly crazy about Shock Corridor the first time I saw it (which was admittedly several years ago), but when I saw it the second time (on Blu-ray), I was actually quite blown away by it. It's flaws are still visible to me, but I really did like it a lot more the second time around.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:06 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK
I just like the way that Fuller's films often seem to be on the side of those people who, often unwittingly, show up the taken for granted certainties of "the way the world works" by their mere presence.

The difference between Kelly in The Naked Kiss and Johnny in Shock Corridor is that Kelly is approaching the 'normal world' with rather high ideals (presumably because she has built up these ideas and used them for sustenance before she had the courage to beat up her pimp and leave at the beginning of the film) of what the suburban society is like and what she will be allowed to be inside it, notions she is quickly disabused of (although she is easily able to weather all storms until it becomes apparent that the person she has become involved with is an even more repulsive person than the pimp she escaped at which point the whole world she has been constructing comes crashing down). Johnny gives up a good life to go into a situation with an almost arrogant confidence that he can make his way through an insane world without being tainted by it, that he is somehow apart from, or above, the forces that have driven the other inmates to madness. (Both films are also about the point where a 'performance' becomes an 'honestly felt reality'. Can mould your life by sheer force of will into the form you wish for, or do events overpower you, turning you into a helpless pawn or cautionary tale to others? Or is it a combination of both luck and judgement?) While Kelly gets her somewhat naive ideals removed she is still given a hope of a future through the last minute deus ex machina-esque redemption. Johnny achieves his goal of finding the killer but that small achievement becomes pointless as he loses all bearings as if to punish him for his hubris.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 2:43 am 
User avatar

Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm
zedz wrote:
There are core noir films that deal with moral rot in the suburbs - Act of Violence springs to mind - so I don't think The Naked Kiss can be arbitrarily excluded on those grounds.

I just watched Act of Violence, so I thought I would respond to this- I think one of the keynotes of noir, for me, is that the evil comes out of the past, out of the war, or out of the city- Act of Violence is one of those Out of the Past kind of narratives where someone tries to escape to the suburbs to start a new life, but is drawn back in. It's not the suburbs themselves that are rotten, though.

In the Naked Kiss, there is a figure from Constance Towers' character's past that comes back, but fundamentally the evil she encounters is native to the suburbs, and the shock is that it's the worst rot of them all. I can't think of any movie in the original noir cycle in which that was true, at least not off the top of my head.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:19 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK
I agree matrix - I'd probably see Naked Kiss as a pulpier (in the best sense) version of those 'behind the picket fence' films showing the darker side of suburbia, especially something like Kings Row.


Last edited by colinr0380 on Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:03 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm
matrixschmatrix wrote:
zedz wrote:
There are core noir films that deal with moral rot in the suburbs - Act of Violence springs to mind - so I don't think The Naked Kiss can be arbitrarily excluded on those grounds.

I just watched Act of Violence, so I thought I would respond to this- I think one of the keynotes of noir, for me, is that the evil comes out of the past, out of the war, or out of the city- Act of Violence is one of those Out of the Past kind of narratives where someone tries to escape to the suburbs to start a new life, but is drawn back in. It's not the suburbs themselves that are rotten, though.

I see your point, but in Act of Violence I see the big deal they make of Van Heflin's standing in his community as implicit criticism of the morality of suburbia: Heflin is his community. After all, these new suburbanites had to come from somewhere.

But I agree that The Naked Kiss is another kettle of fish, and too much its own thing to slide comfortably into the noir category.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:13 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm
Hmm, the implication I got was that Heflin's suburban wholesomeness to some degree redeemed his actions during the war- that his all American surface contradicted and lessened his darkness. In The Naked Kiss, the darkness is inextricable from the good community man standing.

I had another thought, too: it's hard to picture Kelly as a noir hero or heroine. She's too powerful, too righteous, and too forceful. She's certainly not a proto-existentialist, torn between actions, the way most of the key noir figures I can think of are- there's certainly no question that she will accept Grant's bargain once she knows what it entails.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:31 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 6:15 pm
Location: Seattle, WA
Was lucky enough to catch a 16mm screening of Naked Kiss a couple weeks back, which turned out to be the perfect way to see it - the scratchy print and jerky reel-cuts added a sort of R Crumb mondo grubbiness, like it was a contraband porno. It took me a bit to figure out exactly what the movie was up to, but the minute she stopped to tend to the baby in the carriage between the two eternally jump-roping girls, everything kind of clicked into place. What surprised me was how involving it was, working in this heightened, distorted, campy reality and sometimes ascending into a Lynch/Fellini dreamstate of pure emotion (the shot of the girl skipping out of Grant's mansion gave me chills). The audience seemed really into it, too, giggling at some of the sillier moments but falling into a trance when it got intense (I heard someone whisper "oh my god" in a shocked tone when they realized what Grant was up to). I feel like I've actually seen this before, but I don't know if I was old enough to really appreciate it for what it is.

Also, what was that song?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 6:31 am 
Not PETA approved
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada
DISCUSSION ENDS MONDAY, AUGUST 17th AT 6:30 AM.

Members have a two week period in which to discuss the film before it's moved to its dedicated thread in The Criterion Collection subforum. Please read the Rules and Procedures.

This thread is not spoiler free. This is a discussion thread; you should expect plot points of the individual films under discussion to be discussed openly. See: spoiler rules.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

I encourage members to submit questions, either those designed to elicit discussion and point out interesting things to keep an eye on, or just something you want answered. This will be extremely helpful in getting discussion started. Starting is always the hardest part, all the more so if it's unguided. Questions can be submitted to me via PM.




***PM me if you have any suggestions for additions or just general concerns and questions.***


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 1:07 pm 
Dot Com Dom
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm
I can't wait for the ten people who voted for this chime in with their thoughts!!!!!

I liked this when I first saw it, and probably praised it on the board, but my estimation of it has withered somewhat since then. I think Fuller is of course one of cinema's most brazen showmen, and his desire to push audiences and increase the wattage on whatever perversity (in the general sense of the term) he's pushing can often be quite charming, but just as often it strikes me as a bit desperate. I think this ranks among my least-favorite Fullers in that his tics are unchecked and a little too eager to be in-your-face, from the opening wig-reveal to the morbid twist on our protagonist's relationship at the end. Not a bad film by any means, of course, but a disappointment in his oeuvre (I've seen all of his films up through this one and the only one I'd rank lower [far, far lower] is China Gate)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 1:21 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am
domino harvey wrote:
I can't wait for the ten people who voted for this chime in with their thoughts!!!!!

I liked this when I first saw it, and probably praised it on the board, but my estimation of it has withered somewhat since then. I think Fuller is of course one of cinema's most brazen showmen, and his desire to push audiences and increase the wattage on whatever perversity (in the general sense of the term) he's pushing can often be quite charming, but just as often it strikes me as a bit desperate. I think this ranks among my least-favorite Fullers in that his tics are unchecked and a little too eager to be in-your-face, from the opening wig-reveal to the morbid twist on our protagonist's relationship at the end. Not a bad film by any means, of course, but a disappointment in his oeuvre (I've seen all of his films up through this one and the only one I'd rank lower [far, far lower] is China Gate)


China Gate is the one I'm eager to see, so this is disappointing to here, unless you are an outlier.

I picked up Shock Corridor last year and it really was the first Fuller film I found disappointing, and I think the "desperateness" you cite may have been what I felt. The detective, sleuth work of the story never really came together for me. Considering how powerful Pickup On South Street and Park Row were, and how effective the violent outbursts in the film were, I guess I sort of felt that SC perhaps relied on its horrifying premise to carry the film, and I guess it just didn't. But I've read elsewhere on the board that The Naked Kiss is preferred by many, so I'm still holding out high hopes.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2015 7:53 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am
Watched The Naked Kiss last night, and while I enjoyed it, and do think it was a good film, it too falls short of the bar that South Street and Park Row set as the other two Fuller films I've seen. What draws me to Fuller is an excitement and spontaneity in his work, where violence, anger, and passion can appear at any corner. With this, The Naked Kiss has it in spades, but the film's overall message is just a bit too "on the nose" for me, and wraps up without any moral ambiguity whatsoever.

The film starts excitingly and immediately sets the tone for what I think is a great first half. A fight between a prostitute and someone who is trying to stiff her. We take Kelly's side even though she doesn't appear defenseless at all, and are immediately able to identify with her plight. So when she gets off the bus, and is in small-town USA, it's clear she is out to escape the grime of the city. We soon learn that she hasn't given up her trade yet (formally or informally), but there is a cleansing that she attempts to go through by leaving the city. Of course, the film immediately sets her up with an antagonist, someone to be her foil. As soon as she's off the bus, we get a look at someone who can make her life more difficult. While I first envisioned this guy as a criminal, from a prostitute's difference, is there really a difference between that and a cop? This guy is out to make her life more difficult and stressful, and to cast judgement upon her.

After their first romp, we get our far too on the nose "message" about the film: "I never make change" Kelly says, a phrase echoed as the last line of the film in case you didn't get it. The rest of the film is an attempt for Kelly to free herself from her life as a prostitute (Griff is her last customer) and assimilate into small-town USA without changing her values. The most effective moments of the film are when Kelly isn't trying to assimilate. When she stands up for the other nurse's, or the girls on the verge of becoming prostitutes, her true colors come out, and Fuller's effectiveness comes out as a filmmaker, even with a woman in the leading role. Halfway through the film, Kelly says something to the effect of "people in my profession's deepest fear is dying alone." Even though she's taken up a new trade, even though she hasn't had any customers of late, she can't change who she really is.

So what doesn't work with the film? There seems to be a half-done attempt at criticizing the conformity and boringness of suburban USA. When she gets the boarding room, or is trying to be a good wife, even the soundtrack gets more stodgy and predictable. At one moment near the end of the film (I think right before she realizes the horror of her fiancee) she says "I'm going to make George dinner!" and it rings shockingly hollow. She's not a housewife. She's never going to be a housewife. Who is she fooling? In it, Fuller seems to be criticizing the thought of this firebrand of a human being "settling down." Unfortunately, this strand is only rarely picked up. The townspeople and even Griff, at the end of the day, seem like decent folks. The first part of the movie sort of made me feel that there was a darkness boiling underneath the surface of small-town USA, and I just don't feel that the payoff the film powerfully enough contrasts with the rest of it.

Honestly, what do we get with this ending? The way that it's affirmed that Kelly can never change, and never be normal, is association with a pedophile? Predictably, she plays into Griff's worst thoughts about her, and then by a miracle, encounters the girl who can exonerate her? When she's freed, she says goodbye to the townsfolk, who apparently all love her and wish her the best, but she can't be with anymore? Did Kelly triumph over her demons? Or is she forced to return to the life she really belongs in? And how do either of those endings square with her innocence? The ending didn't fare well for me, and the more I think about it, as great as the Fuller-esque moments in this film are, especially the parts where Kelly is beating people up, the rest of the story just doesn't hold up that well for me.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2015 9:51 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 11:44 pm
Location: NY, USA
Drucker wrote:
The way that it's affirmed that Kelly can never change, and never be normal, is association with a pedophile?


Is that actually what happens, though? It seems to me that she has changed, insofar as she has distanced herself from her past and the way she lived that life as much as life in a small town will let her. Just as her first kiss with Grant made her suspect something was off with him, Griff's very first interaction (as a stand in for the small town/small-town morals and hypocrisy) with her clued him into some of the secrets of her past. Kelly chooses to ignore her trepidations about the fact that something is off with Grant for a chance at normalcy. Griff, on the other hand, refuses to let her forget her past and insists that it define her.

The reasons for these differences are unclear-- but could involve anything from gender dynamics and economics and other measures of social power/status to the mere fact that she's an outsider.

But Kelly is honest about who she is and what her motives are, and as far as we see, she never hurts an innocent in any way. The same can't be said for nearly any other character in the movie. (And I couch this with the "nearly any other character" only because I can't recall any duplicity on the part of Miss Josephine, from whom Kelly rents a room.) To the end, she is violent only in response to someone preying on perceived weakness, and the mistake that cost Grant his life was believing that Kelly's past was a weakness in her that meant that he and she were the same.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:42 am 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK
I really like that the title of the film tells us everything we need to know about the themes within it, as well as about the big twist. It is a film all about seductive appearances continually revealing a disappointing corruption underneath. About presumptions made based on the way people look, in both bad and good ways. About the way the appearance of class and authority is wielded to influence behaviour. Yet that influence is so ham-fistedly blunt that it can only really work on children, or infantilised adults.

Everything about the film seems to funnel into this, from the blunt yet absurdly coy dialogue and scenes skirting around blatantly obvious topics, to the opulence of Venice that plays in front of a projected backdrop.

That amazing opening of the bald Kelly beating down her pimp, yet only taking the money she is owed, then stopping to put her wig on in the mirror as the opening credits play over it almost tells the entire story of the film. We start from complete disillusionment and violence as a partnership dissolves, all played with frenzied point of view shots and a squealing jazz soundtrack. Then Kelly moves to the mirror and a fixed camera shot staring defiantly at herself as she puts her wig on and proceeds to comb it. As the credits go on and Kelly makes herself presentable again the jazz fades out and is replaced by a lushly romantic swelling score. Kelly’s face softens as it goes on, almost getting lost in the new life she is creating. Then she moves from the mirror and the jazz swells up again for her to leave the room, with the unconscious pimp on the floor.

But that presentable appearance (with associated fixed smile/grimace, compared to the vacant eyes of girls like Hatrack. I also love the way that there are constant close ups of Kelly emphatically underlining her emotions to an almost hilarious extent! They feel, and often are, mismatched compared to Kelly's expression in the wide shots, but that sudden change in expression between the wide and close up shot itself feels powerfully disruptive! It is as if the close up is actually acting as a picture of Kelly's internal reaction, rather than emphasising an external one, as would be more often the case with such a shot) cannot be maintained in the face of people who aren’t allowing someone to remake themselves. It is an idealist versus pragmatist film, especially in those early scenes between Kelly and the police officer Griff. The landlady contrasts against this in her naive, almost beatific, idealism, especially when she leads Kelly to a mirror and says that "your reference is that face, Kelly!", though she similarly seems delusional (or at least stuck in an idealised past) in her loving care for her long dead beau's uniform, complete with pith helmet!

But instead of shattering someone in the hopes to push them around (or funnel them into the local, out of town limits, Twin Peaks anticipating brothel in Griff’s case), the characters find that beneath Kelly’s benign exterior is a tough survivor. A naïve idealist with a core of pragmatism inside her, hopeful for a better life, or a successful transition but able to fiercely respond to knockbacks.

It is therefore brilliantly ironically subversive that the final revelation of ‘the naked kiss’ involves someone else keeping up a façade letting it slip to reveal their ‘true nature’. In this case Kelly is put in the position of being unable to condone someone for the life that they have lived, though the irony is slightly lessened by Grant being someone who is wanting to continue to lead a double life rather than leave his previous monstrous behaviour behind. I sometimes wonder what Kelly would have done if Grant had said that he wanted to change (after all he had still committed many heinous acts, and I wonder if Grant was mostly interested in Kelly just for her nursing role as a way to select and groom children for him), but it seems that Grant wanting to make Kelly complicit in marriage with him (another façade laid across corruption) is another big push towards Kelly’s actions.

After the majority of the film being about how authority and judgement harms the fundamentally good, that final section of the film suddenly critiques even this stance. Perhaps there are some actions that cannot be forgiven and some people who cannot be given a second chance to remake themselves. Kelly becomes a figure of righteous moral vengeance, the fundamentally good character ending the life of the fundamentally corrupt one. Two extremes on a spectrum ("we're both abnormal") cancelling each other out, from which we move into the scenes of Kelly in jail, puzzled over by all of the greyer (morally and in terms of just being dull!) characters all getting the chance for revenge, until a deus ex machina redemption and a walk away from the still idyllic looking, cleansed but still somehow tainted suburban town that I often wonder is Fuller’s homage to Kurosawa. Constance Towers’ Kelly kind of is the female equivalent of Toshiro Mifune in Yojimbo, striding off into the distance, ready for what life will throw at them next.


Last edited by colinr0380 on Wed Aug 12, 2015 4:34 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:31 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 11:44 pm
Location: NY, USA
colinr0380 wrote:
It is therefore brilliantly ironically subversive that the final revelation of ‘the naked kiss’ involves someone else keeping up a façade letting it slip to reveal their ‘true nature’. In this case Kelly is put in the position of being unable to condone someone for the life that they have lived, though the irony is slightly lessened by Grant being someone who is wanting to continue to lead a double life rather than leave his previous monstrous behaviour behind. I sometimes wonder what Kelly would have done if Grant had said that he wanted to change (after all he had still committed many heinous acts, and I wonder if Grant was mostly interested in Kelly just for her nursing role as a way to select and groom children for him), but it seems that Grant wanting to make Kelly complicit in marriage with him (another façade laid across corruption) is another big push towards Kelly’s actions.


I think that the fact that he assumes that she's all right being complicit in the marriage/his actions is what pushes her over the edge. She doesn't react violently until he says, essentially, "I chose to marry you because you're such a vile human being that you're obviously okay with my perversions and predatory nature." To me, her reaction is less about being unable to condone Grant's life and more about discovering the fact the this relationship, which she thought had flourished because of Grant's willingness to knowingly ignore/forget her past (unlike Griff and the rest of the small town), was in fact based on Grant's latching onto that past and defining her by it. With this relationship, she thought she had finally escaped her past. In fact, it's just the opposite.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:38 am 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK
I really like that in the scene just before the big reveal we have the kindly landlady/seamstress telling Kelly not to go and show Grant the wedding dress as "I still think it is bad luck to show him that dress, surprise or no surprise". Does it somehow become Kelly's fault for going against conventions, even when she is going to do something as homely as whipping up a homecooked meal for her fiance, which reveals the horrible truth to her? Or is the suggestion that ignorance is bliss even if you end up married to the town child molester (or in a one way relationship with a cross-dressing tailor's dummy) as a consequence?

There's a real anticipation of that David Lynch sense of a strenuously maintained white picket fence normality in danger of irreversibly fracturing if too many awkward questions get asked.

Also, how much is Griff aware of Grant's actions and condoning of them beforehand. The way that he looks rather distressed at Grant hand-picking a particular girl to be the handmaiden at the upcoming wedding, and trying not to look at Grant twirling her around suggests that he is well aware of what Grant is into, and is perhaps what pushes him into making that sudden final ultimatum to Kelly to get out of town. Maybe he's trying to save himself and the town from having to face up to Grant as much as getting rid of Kelly at that point. Even his anger in the interrogation scenes is perhaps coming from Griff's annoyance at everything having come into the open.

Perhaps that framed newspaper in Griff's bedroom that Kelly looks at early on in the film "Grant saves Griff in Korea; Wounded" is the blunt foreshadowing of the debt that Griff feels he has to pay to Grant, as well as perhaps a suggestion of where Grant's 'abnormality' in psychology came from.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 7:26 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 11:44 pm
Location: NY, USA
colinr0380 wrote:
Also, how much is Griff aware of Grant's actions and condoning of them beforehand. The way that he looks rather distressed at Grant hand-picking a particular girl to be the handmaiden at the upcoming wedding, and trying not to look at Grant twirling her around suggests that he is well aware of what Grant is into, and is perhaps what pushes him into making that sudden final ultimatum to Kelly to get out of town. Maybe he's trying to save himself and the town from having to face up to Grant as much as getting rid of Kelly at that point. Even his anger in the interrogation scenes is perhaps coming from Griff's annoyance at everything having come into the open.

Perhaps that framed newspaper in Griff's bedroom that Kelly looks at early on in the film "Grant saves Griff in Korea; Wounded" is the blunt foreshadowing of the debt that Griff feels he has to pay to Grant, as well as perhaps a suggestion of where Grant's 'abnormality' in psychology came from.


Both very interesting observations/suggestions. Now I feel the need to re-watch this...


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 74 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group




This site is not affiliated with The Criterion Collection