powered by AFI
When he rescues a girl from her gangster lover, a prizefighter is marked for death.
As welterweight boxer Davey Gordon paces in New York's Grand Central Station, waiting for the train to Seattle, he reminisces about the events of the past few days: Three days earlier, Davey is in his small apartment, preparing for his bout with Kid Rodriguez. Across the courtyard, taxi dancer Gloria Price gets ready for work at the Pleasure Land dance hall. Although their windows are directly opposite the other, Davey and Gloria rarely notice each other. After they walk out at the same time, Gloria is picked up by her boss, Vincent Rapallo, who teases Gloria about the washed-up Davey being her boyfriend. As the bout begins, Rapallo calls Gloria into his office to watch the fight on television. At twenty-nine, Davey is older than his opponent, and his years of boxing have been frustratingly unsuccessful. As happens whenever he has an important match, Davey's "glass jaw" proves his undoing, and he is knocked out by Rodriguez. Although Gloria is nauseated by the slugging, Rapallo is excited, and soon turns his lustful attentions to Gloria. That evening, Davey receives a call from his uncle George, who urges him to come home to Seattle for a vacation. Despite his deep disappointment in his life, Davey demurs, and soon falls into a nightmare-filled sleep. He is awakened by screams coming from Gloria's room, and when he looks out, sees that Gloria is being attacked by Rapallo. Davey runs across the rooftop and down the stairs to Gloria's room, frightening away Rapallo. Davey then comforts Gloria, who relates that Rapallo had come over to apologize, although for what, she does not explain. Rapallo promised Gloria a secure life and assured her of his undying love, but Gloria, unable to forgive him, ordered him to leave. Rapallo then attacked her, prompting the screams that woke Davey. Davey tucks Gloria in, then as she sleeps, looks over her belongings, including photographs of a man and a woman. The next morning, Davey, instead of asking Gloria what Rapallo was sorry about, which is what really interests him, asks her about the people in the photographs. Gloria tells him that they are her father and older sister Iris, who was a ballet dancer. Gloria relates that her mother died when she was born, and that as the years passed, Iris and her father grew closer, often excluding her. Gloria began to hate Iris, especially after she became an established dancer. Iris was proposed to by a wealthy older man, but when her suitor insisted that she give up her career, Iris turned him down. Iris was forced to accept him, however, when their father grew ill and required expensive medical attention. Gloria, who was a teenager at the time, lived with Iris and her husband on his Long Island estate, where Iris was constantly by their father's side. On the day of their father's death, the hysterical Gloria accused the seemingly calm Iris of never loving their father. Hours later, Iris' husband found her body after she committed suicide. Soon after, Gloria began work at the dance hall, which she calls a "human zoo," and there immersed herself in the dehumanizing atmosphere to forget her grief. The couple spends the day together, and Davey is pleased to hear Gloria laugh for the first time. Gloria's somber mood resumes, however, when Davey tells her that he has decided to return to Seattle for good. Upon their return to Gloria's apartment, Davey realizes that he has fallen in love with her, and Gloria responds to his kiss. Gloria agrees to accompany Davey to Seattle, and the couple organizes their finances. Davey calls his manager, Albert, and asks to meet him outside Pleasure Land that night to cash his check from the fight. Albert agrees, and at the dance hall, while Gloria goes inside to ask Rapallo for her final wages, Davey waits on the street for Albert. Furious at being spurned, especially when he looks out the window and sees Davey, Rapallo refuses to pay Gloria. Meanwhile, Davey's scarf has been stolen by two high-spirited conventioneers, and he chases them. Albert arrives after Davey runs off, and Rapallo, determined to have Gloria, orders two of his henchmen to beat up the man waiting on the street. While the henchmen are mistakenly beating up Albert in an alley, Rapallo calls Gloria into his office and pays her. When Gloria returns to the street, Davey is waiting, and they decide that Albert must have come and gone already. The couple goes to their respective apartments to pack, and when Davey goes to Gloria's, he discovers that she is missing. Davey then peeks through Gloria's window as the manager lets two policemen into his apartment. The policemen reveal that Albert was beaten to death, and that Davey is the prime suspect. Retrieving a gun from his suitcase, Davey returns to Pleasure Land and follows Rapallo after he leaves in the morning. When Rapallo stops at a stoplight, Davey jumps into his convertible and demands to know where Gloria is. Rapallo drives him to the warehouse where Gloria is being held by two hoodlums, who soon overpower Davey. As Davey pretends to be unconscious, he hears Gloria promise to do whatever Rapallo wants if he will spare her life. Suddenly, Davey jumps out the window and runs, followed by Rapallo and one of the thugs. Davey climbs a fire escape to the rooftops, and when a henchman tries to follow the fleeing boxer, he injures his leg. Davey eventually finds an open door and descends into a mannequin factory. As Davey hides, Rapallo enters and knocks out the curious owner. Armed with a fire axe and pole, the two men battle each other among the mannequins, until Davey impales Rapallo with the pole. Back at the train station, Davey finishes his thoughts by remembering that the police judged Rapallo's death to be self-defense and cleared him of Albert's murder after the two hoodlums confessed. Davey ponders having fallen in love with a girl he knew for only a few days, and realizes he will never see her again. Just as he is about to board his train, however, Davey hears Gloria calling his name, and eagerly embraces her.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 21 Sep 1955|
|Release Date:||1955||Production Date:||
AFI*; EB; AFI Library
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||United Artists Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Minotaur Productions, Inc.|
Leonard Maltin Ratings & Review
LEONARD MALTIN MOVIE RATING
LEONARD MALTIN MOVIE REVIEW:
User Ratings & Review
This title has not been reviewed. Be the FIRST to write a review by CLICKING HERE >
User Ratings & Review
An early Kubrick masterpiece
Kubrick's most underrated film. Highly recommend.
The Film Noir & the Beautiful
If you like film noir, you'll like Killer's Kiss. It has a look and feel like few other films have. The previous reviewer was right-it's...
Very stylish photography
Far from perfect, some weak acting (I suppose the low budget is showing) but a strong drama, a well-built story and already a very stylish photography. As...