The Naked Kiss (1964) BUY IT

The Principals:  Constance Towers as Kelly, Anthony Eisley as Griff, Michael Dante as Grant, Virginia Grey as Candy

The Premise:
  Kelly, a prostitute with a heart of
gold is ready to leave the life. It’s 1963, and she shows up in a new
town looking for another line of work. The town sheriff meets her the
first day, when he tries to send her across the river to a brothel,
she chooses to stay and reinvent herself. She tells Griff, the town
sheriff that she saw “Nothing but the buck, the bed, and the bottle
for the rest of my life.”

She rents a room from a nice old lady
and she ends up at the local childrens hospital caring for young cripples,
constantly smiling and singing to the children, even stopping to
smile at babies in strollers on the street when she’s out and about. When she sings, as stereotype has it, she has the voice of a
bird and brings even the hospital staff to tears. The sheriff can’t seem to let her leave her past behind,
though, and shadows her and accuses her of being a con artist. She
has a completely clean record and even talks one of the nurses at the
hospital out of becoming a prostitute in a great
it-takes-one-to-know-one speech.

This bald kicks ass better than G.I. Jane.

Luck blows her way, and she falls in love with the town
millionaire and is engaged to be married. But just when wedding plans
are in full force, and she brings the wedding dress to his house, she
sees a little girl slipping out the front door. She then realizes he
was a child molester and in at least the third beating of the film, smashes him to death.

In comes the sheriff, accusing her of
murdering the town millionaire to get to his money. The movie title,
The Naked Kiss, refers to a child molester radar that is apparently
built into the lips of prostitutes. They can kiss a customer and know
if he is dirty, or one of those. She spends the rest of the film
trying to prove her innocence, which she eventually does.

Prostitute equipment. Who knew?

Is It Good:  Yes!

Is It Worth A Look:

Definitely. The movie starts off with a
bald prostitute beating up her pimp with a purse. There is a whole
lot of purse-swinging action in this film. In fact, they choose to
show those moments in the trailer, which is what sold me on the film
in the first place: heavily made up prostitutes beating people and
each other with purses. I needed more.

On a serious note, Constance Powers’
beauty (am I shallow?) transcends time. It’s an interesting look into
what Hollywood was capable of making out of the subject matter at
that time. You’re not supposed to believe the story, so it’s okay.
It’s way too over the top and lapses into archetypes and stereotypes,
so enjoy it for just that. Enjoy her beauty. The glitzy 60’s dresses. The story.
This is a great film if you are in the mood to go back in time and
get a dose of the 60’s.

Singing to the crips.

Random Anecdotes:

Kelly goes back to the town brothel
across the river to kick the madame’s ass, beating her with her purse
and shoving crumpled bills into her mouth.

Later on, we see her standing on her
bed to yell at little children through the bars from her jail cell.

“Florence Nightingale can suck my dick!”

Heads up: Criterion Collection is releasing this for Blu-ray January 18, 2011, and you can pre-order it on Amazon HERE.