A look back at this day in film history
November 30
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
Boy with Green Hair November 30, 1948
The Boy with Green Hair opens

The opening of the pacifist parable The Boy with Green Hair should be celebrated as the feature directorial debut of Joseph Losey.

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November 30, 1947
Ernst Lubitsch dies

On Sunday November 30, 1947, director Ernst Lubitsch was due at William Wyler’s home for an afternoon screening party.

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November 30, 1945
Noir Takes a Detour

In a time in which CGI and other advanced film technologies create worlds that are more lifelike than life itself, the grungy, low-rent charms of Edgar G. Ulmer’s Detour, which opened on November 20, 1945, should not be forgotten. Shot in less than one week on a few simple sets and using obvious rear-screen projection for all the driving scenes, the movie is, as Robert Ebert wrote, “so filled with imperfections that it would not earn the director a passing grade in film school.” But despite its many technical flaws, the film is a film noir classic. Its indigent aesthetic amplifies rather than detracts from its bleak tale of blackmail and remorselessness. And, as the femme fatale, Ann Savage created perhaps the perfect noir heroine. “There is not a single fleeting shred of tenderness or humanity in her performance,” Ebert wrote.

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