Ah, film noir. Hard-boiled detectives, yummily seductive women, and quick-paced mystery storylines which inevitably lead to violence in frighteningly dark, sense-of-impending-doom inducing settings. What more could you want from a movie?
How about some witty dialogue?
I personally was a fan of the film noir unit, and will probably be checking out some more film noir films in the future (The Maltese Falcon, anyone?). However, I'm afraid Kiss Me Deadly didn't do it for me the same way Out of the Past and Chinatown did. And after some deep, thought provoking debating between me, myself and I, we've decided that the main reason Kiss Me Deadly was brought to its knees so easily and metaphorically kicked in the teeth by its two competitors is the lack of memorable dialogue.
Throughout my viewing of Out of the Past I found myself smiling at the quick, subtle, yet miraculously witty lines. Just to list a few of my favorites:
"My feelings? About ten years ago, I hid them somewhere and haven't been able to find them."
"Joe couldn't find a prayer in the Bible."
"You're like a leaf that the wind blows from one gutter to another."
"Build my gallows high, baby."
And while you'd think the seemingly monotone apathy with which such quotes are usually delivered would render them dull and forgettable, the hints of sarcasm, charm, sincerity, and even the simple matter-of-fact tone somehow bring them to life.
And Chinatown was not without its own quick wit, ranging from lines such as "All right, Curly. Enough's enough. You can't eat the Venetian blinds." to the infamous last line "Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown. "
Unfortunately, Kiss Me Deadly did not leave such a lasting impression on me. Or at least not a positive one at any rate. I do recall the wishy-washy, every-aggravating voice of the Lily Carver impersonator and the dull, sleep-inducing rant presented by the evil scientist--however, just exactly what they were saying escapes me. The character's lines seemed more corny than anything, though it may have been the script as much as it was the delivery. If only there'd been a bit more 'VA-VA-VOOM!', maybe the movie's script could have been saved.