The Naked Kiss (1964)

naked kiss poster 1964 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Fun, campy movie

Intentionally full of cliches

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Naked Kiss

Studio:  Allied Artists

Genre(s):  Drama/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  October 29, 1964

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

naked kiss constance towers bald

Bald and angry

Prostitute Kelly (Constance Towers) is trying to turn herself around and start a new life in the small town of Grantville.  Immediately, her profession is recognized by the crooked police chief Griff (Anthony Eisley) who threatens to run Kelly out of town.  However, Kelly has other dreams and sets herself up at a local charity hospital where she catches the eye of the town benefactor J.L. Grant (Michael Dante).  As Kelly finds herself caught up in a whirlwind romance, could her past come back to haunt her or is there a darker danger in Grantville that could threaten her life.

Written and directed by Sam Fuller, The Naked Kiss is a neo-noir crime thriller.  The film was released to positive reviews and paired with Fuller’s previous release Shock Corridor for some releases.

While Shock Corridor felt like an expose-exploitation film, The Naked Kiss feels like a crime exploitation film.  You have all the classic pieces:  a prostitute with a heart of gold, a vamp, and a romantic lead to sweep the lead off her feet…and then Fuller turns it all on the side and has it go a different direction.  Due to plot points, *******a spoiler alert******* exists for the rest of the film.

naked kiss constance towers murdres michael dante

So…I guess the honeymoon is off?

Films like this go one way.  The heroine is rescued, redeemed, and lives happily ever after.  Here, there is no happy ever after and there is no hero.  You get a flawed hero in Kelly but the classic hero Grant is a pedophile and the secondary hero Griff is literally a grifter who has conned the town.  Almost everyone makes the wrong choice in the film, and I could have seen Kelly being executed at the end of the film but her “redemption” means that she still must move on even if the town accepts she did something good (she’s still a marred prostitute to them).

Constance Towers overacts in a movie that needs overacting, so it works.  The movie is rather campy and over-the-top.  Fuller reported Towers shaved her head for the role, but Towers has said she just wore a bald cap.  It is odd in that literally no one but Towers is likable in the movie…even the people she helps turn on her in the end.

naked kiss prison candy constance towers virginia grey

Move to a nice city, they said…it will be nice, they said

The movie is pretty stylishly shot.  It is shot like a crime thriller with interesting frame compositions and good uses of things like prison cells and shadows.  The movie does have an odd cheapness to it like a classic dime-store novel cover, but like the overacting, it helps the movie.

While Shock Corridor is generally seen as the better film of Fuller’s stories, I actually liked The Naked Kiss a little more.  It is melodrama, and it doesn’t have the aged psychology that Shock Corridor had.  The Naked Kiss is an interesting crime drama that you can easy get lost in and follow, but it also has more depth than films of its type and age are generally given.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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