Some of my work on Updike was discussed on The Dish with Andrew Sullivan.
Some of my work on Ross Macdonald was discussed on Pretty Sinister Books.
Here is my interview with superstar music impresario Wendy Starland.
Here is my interview with Pulitzer Prize nominee Olympia Vernon.
Here is my interview with the editor of Best American Short Stories, Heidi Pitlor.
Here is my interview with acclaimed artist Emil Kazaz.
My musing on John D. Macdonald, Travis McGee, and the chicks was picked up on The Rap Sheet.

THE NAKED KISS, Samuel Fuller


So! Whatever we might think of the improbable plot, all the shmaltz with the young children, the depravity of Grant's actions, the sleaze of "Candy's Bon Bons", the hokey intellectualizing (Goethe, Lord Byron and Beethoven all have their moments), and on and on and on - in spite of all this, this work is a veritable essay on how to achieve a sensational opening.

The film opens with cheesy, stereotypically melodramatic trumpets behind the credit A LEON FRAMKESS SAM FIRKS PRODUCTION. Yawn!

But then there is an immediate switch. The soundtrack crosses over to wild, out of control hard bop as we see Kelly beating a drunken man senseless with her pocketbook. The jagged cutting isn't wholly professional but it's enormously effective - what the hell is going on here? is what we wonder as she beats him mercilessly. The shock of seeing her bald head revealed is somewhat lessened because it's done so unprofessionally - we can clearly see a third person rip the wig off Kelly's head from behind when it's supposed to be the guy in front of her, the guy she's beating, who knocks it off with a swipe - but it's still a great hook.

After Kelly hits him so hard he stumbles and knocks himself out by hitting his head on the table leg - and she squirts him, there's a bit of exposition as she speaks. "Eight hundred dollars…you parasite…I'm only taking the seventy five dollars that's coming to me". Then as the main credits roll over images of Kelly putting her wig back on and putting her face together, we get some sentimental strings on the soundtrack…but as the credits come to an end the wild improve jazz returns and we're off!

The opening sequence of the film does all we can ask of it - it gets our attention immediately. This is great filmmaking although the rest of the picture may not quite live up to it. It is inspirational, especially for young filmmakers, in the sense that it shows what it is possible to achieve with a little imagination and determination.

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