Combustible Celluloid
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With: Dean Martin, Kim Novak, Ray Walston, Felicia Farr, Cliff Osmond, Barbara Pepper, Skip Ward, Doro Merande, Bobo Lewis, Tom Nolan, Alice Pearce, John Fiedler, Arlen Stuart, Howard McNear, Cliff Norton
Written by: Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond, based on a play by Anna Bonacci
Directed by: Billy Wilder
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 125
Date: 12/22/1964

Kiss Me, Stupid (1964)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Keen-o Dino

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Billy Wilder's Kiss Me Stupid was one of the writer-director's most notorious efforts, raising the ire of the Catholic Church before its release. Dean Martin plays an alcoholic lounge singer named Dino who takes a detour through a small town and meets up with hopeful songwriter Ray Walston. Walston and his partner Cliff Osmond decide that if they can provide Dino with a woman for a night to keep him happy, they'll have a chance to sell one of their songs. They enlist Polly the Pistol (Kim Novak) to "play" Walston's wife for a night, but everything goes haywire and Dino ends up with Walston's real wife (Felicia Farr, Wilder's real-life wife). It doesn't make much sense, but Wilder's beautiful use of the black-and-white widescreen frame, dazzling casting and crisp pace make it an interesting oddity.

Olive Films has provided a 2015 Blu-ray release to supplant MGM's out-of-print 2003 DVD. Its black-and-white transfer is top-notch (the movie looks better than I remembered), and the audio is fine. The only extra is a trailer.

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