Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 13th, 2015
BluRay released: February 17th, 2015
Approximate running time: 125 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
BluRay Release: Olive Films
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.98
Synopsis: A pop music crooner named Dino is forced to take a detour on his way from Las Vegas to Los Angeles where in a few days he is going to film his next T.V. special. Along the way he finds himself in a small rural town named Climax and when he stops for gas he is quickly noticed by the gas station attendant, who also happens to be an aspiring song writer. Not wanting to let his one chance at stardom slip through his fingers the gas station attendant enlists the help of songwriting partner. They come up with a plan that ensures that Dino will be found forced to stay the night in Climax and hear their music. Unfortunately for them Dino has other ideas of what he would like to do for the night and these plans involve hooking up with a beautiful lady. Not willing to give up just yet the two songwriters hire a waitress to play the role of one of their wives and she is also given the task of keeping Dino happy while they try to get him to listen to their music.
Kiss Me, Stupid was co-written and directed by Billy Wilder whose other notable films include, Double Indemnity, The Lost Weekend, Sunset Boulevard, The Seven Year Itch, Some Like it Hot and The Apartment. Key collaborators on Kiss Me, Stupid include cinematographer Joseph LaShelle (I Was a Teenage Werewolf, The Long, Hot Summer), composer André Previn (Irma la Douce, The Fortune Cookie) and screenwriter I.A.L. Diamond, a frequent collaborator of Billy Wilder’s. Casting choices that never materialized for this film include Marilyn Monroe in the role Zelda and Peter Sellers in the role of Orville. These roles when eventually portrayed by Kim Novak and Ray Walston.
If ever there was case to be made about a film that missed its audience due to being ahead of its time, than that film would be Kiss Me, Stupid. Upon its initial release this film was panned by critics and failed to capture an audience at the box office. With the majority of the blame for this film’s failure being pinned on its morally objectionable subject matter. Fortunately time can be kind and things that were once condemned can be reevaluated and given their just due.
Ironically the main thing that caused Kiss Me, Stupid so much trouble was essentially the same thing that made The Apartment a huge success just four years before for Wilder. Both film’s deal with characters who use other characters to further advance their agendas. With that being said, there is one way in which these two films present said subject matter. Most notably there is a cynical undertone that runs throughout Kiss Me, Stupid that is in direct contrast to the vibe going on in The Apartment.
From a production stand point there are not many areas where this film does not excel. At a time when the majority of films where shot in color Wilder insisted on shooting this film in Black and White, which puts the spotlight on characters and the story at hand. The film’s narrative is well constructed and all of the characters are well defined. And most importantly when it comes to humor this film does not miss a beat. Content wise it is a very satisfying blend of self-deprecating and morality based humor, that is often laced with Double Entendres.
From a performance stand point there are no weeks links as everyone is very good in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performance coming from Dean Martin (Ocean’s 11) in the role of pop crooner named Dino. His performance is essentially a caricature of his own persona. Another performance of note is Kim Novak (Vertigo, Bell, Book and Candle) in the role of Polly the Pistol, a waitress that was hired by the two songwriters to pretend that she is one of their wives. Needless to say the moments that Novak and Martin share onscreen are this film’s strongest asset. Ultimately Kiss Me, Stupid is vastly underrated film that deserves a place next to Billy Wilder’s more highly regarded films.
Kiss Me, Stupid comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The source used is in great shape. Contrast and black levels look consistently strong throughout. Details look sharp, grain looks natural and there no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono English. The audio is also in great shape as dialog comes through with crystal clarity and everything sounds balanced throughout. And though this is a dialog heavy film, when it comes to ambient noises they are well represented in this audio mix. Also music plays a large role in the plot and whenever music occurs it sounds appropriately robust.
Extras for this release are limited to a trailer for the film (2 minutes 35 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen). Overall Kiss Me, Stupid gets a solid audio / video presentation from Olive Films.
Note: Olive Films are also releasing this film on DVD.