U.S.A. • 1955 • BLACK AND WHITE • 35MM • 67 MIN

Kubrick’s second feature is a low-budget B-movie with bags of style.

‘I don’t know how I got into this mess,’ says a down-at-heel boxer (Jamie Smith) after rescuing a dance-club hostess (Irene Kane) from the frustrated attentions of the owner (Frank Silvera) who has vowed vengeance. There are some fascinating moments and sequences: a brutal boxing bout is crosscut with a rough seduction; a ballet flashback involving the heroine’s sister shifts the film into unexpected realms of guilt and nightmare; and a final fight scene in a warehouse full of mannequins shows a flair for the grotesque that anticipates A Clockwork Orange. The narrative quirks and nocturnal moodiness already give hints of a prodigiously original talent.

In support are two Kubrick shorts from 1951: Flying Padre (9 minutes) and Day of the Fight (16 minutes), which follows the preparations before a big fight by the boxer Walter Cartier with something of the fatalistic mood that dominates Killer’s Kiss.

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