Not a femme fatale

Last evening I watched Killer’s Kiss, a 1955 film by Stanley Kubrick. It’s his second film, made when he was only 26 (the bastard). Is this really noir? It has all the elements – darkness, death, dysfunction, criminals, voice-over narration, hapless people in hopeless lives – but then there’s this happy ending thing that turns it into a good guy rescues damsel in distress and they all live happily ever after fairy tale. The ending seems tacked on, and the Wikipedia entry¬†implies that it was, but they don’t have anything to back up that claim. I searched for a while, but I couldn’t find anything to support the statement either. That whole “What does it all mean?” thing gets killed in the end. So is it noir or just noir-ish?

It looks noir, with the lighting and camera angles. I love the richness of tone that Kubrick gets in his photography. There’s a sense of isolation or desolation as well. The story is set in the bustling metropolis of New York City, but so many scenes make the city look empty – no passers-by, no bystanders, no traffic. All the sound is overdubbed and it shows, which gives it a weird foreign-film feel.

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