Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Mike Hammer on films

Ok, in my sort of running quest to watch a bunch more hard-boiled and pulp stuff of late, I watched Robert Aldrich's much lauded Kiss Me Deadly and the novelty footnote The Girl Hunters with surprising results.

Ok, both films are adaptations of classic era Mike Hammer novels. The former starring Ralph Meeker and the latter starring Mickey Spillane himself.

Now, Kiss Me Deadly has a massive reputation and nothing I say here is going to alter that, so I won't feel bad. Lord knows, I've seen it twice before now and really thought it was the bee's knees, so who knows? All I know is that I didn't feel particularly compelled by the events or characters. The look and texture are there. It's a very professional film with some nice touches, but I didn't think it quite deserves to be credited as the final send-off for film noir and such as it often is. It's passable.

The Girl Hunters, on the other hand, crackles with fun. Spillane really has the feel of the character down. It's a heightened feel

I recently said in regard to the performances in Sin City, "They're piqued to a hightened state of what traditional noir actors do. Honestly, I don't think the performances in The Maltese Falcon or Double Indemnity (to name two obvious noir classics) would live up to any standard of naturalism either... Mind you, the everpraised look of noir doesn't look like the real world either.

"Sin City takes the things that define noir as noir as opposed to reality and takes them as far as I've seen done. It's amazing and ballsy, but I don't think it's bad or even 'bad' at all. By that definition, we'd have to equally define Shakespeare or opera or Kabuki as bad, or at least 'bad'."

Spillane and the rest of the cast of The Girl Hunters fit into the same mold and, as such, really made me happy to watch.

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