Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
November 25
The Naked Kiss October 29, 1964
The Naked Kiss opens

A prostitute thrashes the drunken pimp who has stiffed her. As they fight, he reaches up and grabs her hair — and winds up with a fistful of her wig. The bald hooker, Kelly, beats him into unconsciousness with her shoe, rifles through his wallet for the money she’s owed, and splits. It’s one of the most audacious opening scenes in movie history, and it’s the start of Samuel Fuller’s pulp melodrama masterpiece, The Naked Kiss, which opened October 29, 1964. After that bravura opener, Kelly is driven out of town by the pimp, landing in a small town where she tries to go straight by working at a children’s hospital. She falls in love with a local businessman and plans for marriage... until she discovers he’s a child molester, kills him, and then must prove her righteousness to the disbelieving townsfolk. Wrote Adrian Reeves at Senses of Cinema, “The Naked Kiss has the trademark Fullerisms, including plot holes you could fall into, chunks of exposition delivered as dialogue (try that in a screenwriting class and see how far you get), heavy-handed metonymy and a penchant for delivering key points as visual ‘headlines.’ Fuller’s recurring motifs are obvious and yet rather than being corny there is something strangely satisfying about them.” Indeed, The Naked Kiss endures because of that opening, its surreal interludes with the crippled children at Kelly’s hospital, and for the way it forces the audience to upend their traditional morality. In The Naked Kiss, Fuller’s 17th film, the violent prostitute is the hero and the town scion the depraved villain.” Wrote Reeves, “Fuller could condemn and praise at the same time. He could make violence virtuous and charity odious. His films live and breathe contradiction and leave us breathless.”


More Flashbacks
The Crying Game November 25, 1992
The Crying Game released

“Yo, the chick’s a dude!” –– those words, shouted outside a movie theater on November 25, 1992, would most likely have earned you a punch in the nose from a ticket buyer standing in line to see Neil Jordan’s sly psychosexual drama The Crying Game.

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November 25, 2005
Pat Morita dies

On this day in 2005, the man best known as The Karate Kid’s sage sensei Mr. Miyagi, Pat Morita, died.

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November 25, 1973
Laurence Harvey Dies

By the time Laurence Harvey died of stomach cancer on November, 25 1973, his actual life proved easily as strange and quirky as the characters he played. Born in 1928 Zvi Mosheh (Hirsh) Skikne to a Jewish family in Lithuania, Harvey quickly reinvented himself at the age of five when his family moved to South Africa, where he took the name Harry. After working as an entertainer in the South African army, Harvey moved to London, changing his first name to Laurence and swapping out his family name for Harvey (supposedly taken from the sherry “Harvey’s Bristol Cream”). Harvey quickly rose up through the British film world, playing a range of side characters, then moving to Hollywood and Broadway where he gained a reputation for creating quirky, nervous eccentric, often emotionally cold men (often who were never quite what they seemed). His most famous role was as the brainwashed soldier in John Frankenheimer’s 1962 The Manchurian Candidate. While known to be privately gay, Harvey went through a number of high-profile marriages, often with women considerably older than himself. In 1968, for example, he married his second wife, Joan Perry Cohn, the widow of Columbia Picture’s master Harry Cohn. In 1969, his affair with Paulene Stone led to his one daughter, a divorce from Cohn, and, in 1972, a marriage to Stone. His daughter Domino Harvey went on to fame all her own as the bounty hunter whose life was dramatized by Keira Knightley in the 2005 thriller Domino. By the time he died in 1973, his career was in decline and his health had deteriorated by years of heavy drinking, and yet he was still trying on new identities. His last film, Welcome to Arrow Beach, which came out after his death, marked his third venture as a director as well as star.

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