Repertory Picks

Mike Hammer at Harvard

This week, as part of a complete survey of Robert Aldrich’s career (running through mid-August), the Harvard Film Archive in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will screen the director’s explosive 1955 noir masterpiece Kiss Me Deadly. Based on Mickey Spillane’s pulp novel of the same title, the book was adapted for the screen by A. I. Bezzerides and unforgettably captured on film by Academy Award–winning cinematographer Ernest Laszlo. Starring Ralph Meeker as the cranky Los Angeles private eye Mike Hammer, the film begins with Hammer picking up a lone woman in a trench coat (played by Cloris Leachman), who is frantically hitchhiking down the highway one shadowy night. From there, the film swiftly spirals into one mystery after another, making for an utterly gripping psychological drama infused with the ever-present Cold War paranoia of the midfifties. For those in Boston, you can see Kiss Me Deadly—now regarded as one of the most influential works of its genre—tomorrow night.

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