Samuel Fuller was never a director to shy away from controversy or take the easy road. The controversial film-maker never abided by convention and was seemingly incapable of resting on his laurels. After starting out making Westerns and war films, he made the shift into thrillers during the 1960s. Operating largely outside of the studio system, Fuller was one of the true mavericks of American cinema. The Naked Kiss is a fine example of his mix of scandal and gritty drama.

Kelly (Constance Towers) arrives on a bus in Grantville, just another small town to try and make some money in. However, her first and only customer is Griff (Anthony Eisley), the local police captain. A sudden change of heart results in her going straight and beginning to work as a nurse at a hospital for handicapped children. Griff doesn’t buy this sudden lifestyle change, especially when she starts dating his wealthy friend (Michael Dante).

The Naked Kiss is a white-knuckle ride into a world of lies, deceit and small town politics. As Kelly tries to throw-off her past and create a new, better life for herself, she’s stalked by Griff’s suspicions. Whilst he’s resolute in his conviction that she’s nothing more than a gold digger. Fuller mixes his paranoia in with her struggles to create a story which never follows the obvious course. The Naked Kiss is a powerful quasi-melodrama with striking lead performances and cleverly constructed plot.

Extras:

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack)
  • New video interview with star Constance Towers by film historian and filmmaker Charles Dennis
  • Excerpts from a 1983 episode of the BBC’s The South Bank Show dedicated to director Samuel Fuller
  • Interview with Fuller from a 1967 episode of the French television series Cinéastes de notre temps
  • Interview with Fuller from a 1987 episode of the French television series Cinéma cinemas
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: Illustrations by cartoonist Daniel Clowes (Eightball, Ghost World) and a booklet featuring an essay by critic and poet Robert Polito and excerpts from Fuller’s autobiography, A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting, and Filmmaking.

The Naked Kiss is released on Blu-ray by the Criterion Collection on 2 September.