Thursday, July 14, 2011

Noir Classics Get the Criterion Treatment

Noir geeks rejoice. Robert Aldrich's KISS ME DEADLY (by far the best adaptation of a Mickey Spillane novel) has just been released in a handsome new edition by The Criterion collection. A prime example of hardcore noir, the movie comes with the usual CC load of extras including documentaries on Spillane and screenwriter AI Bezzerides, an alternate ending, and commentary by the guys behind the Film Noir Reader series--Alain Silver and James Ursini.

And next month (Aug. 16th), CC will release a new edition of Kubrick's THE KILLING. My admiration for this movie is nearly limitless. Working with Jim Thompson, Kubrick adapted Lionel White's heist novel of the same name. With a cast that includes Sterling Hayden, Elisha Cook, Marie Windsor, and Coleen Gray, the director forged one of the great heist movies. The CC edition will come with an interview with Thompson biographer Robert Polito (whose book SAVAGE ART: A BIOGRAPHY OF JIM THOMPSON is essential reading for pulp fans, btw). The movie also comes with Kubrick's first noir film KILLER'S KISS--a flawed but fascinating film where you see the director experimenting with the noir aesthetic that he would master in THE KILLING.

For more on THE KILLING and its place among heist films, check out my essay "Classic Heist Flicks: The Art of the Steal."

The Criterion Collection: