Kiss Me, Stupid!

Overview

Dean Martin stars in this once-controversial comedy as Dino, a Las Vegas crooner, alcoholic, and celebrity playboy. Dino requires women like oxygen -- a companionless night leaves him with a headache. Ray Walston is Orville, a provincial piano teacher, aspiring songwriter, and jealous husband. Orville violently obsesses over his wife Zelda's Felicia Farr fidelity -- any man she encounters becomes his sworn enemy. When a chance detour brings Dino to Orville's hometown of Climax, NV, it is the perfect opportunity ...
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Overview

Dean Martin stars in this once-controversial comedy as Dino, a Las Vegas crooner, alcoholic, and celebrity playboy. Dino requires women like oxygen -- a companionless night leaves him with a headache. Ray Walston is Orville, a provincial piano teacher, aspiring songwriter, and jealous husband. Orville violently obsesses over his wife Zelda's Felicia Farr fidelity -- any man she encounters becomes his sworn enemy. When a chance detour brings Dino to Orville's hometown of Climax, NV, it is the perfect opportunity for the piano teacher and his songwriting partner, Barney Cliff Osmond, to pitch their tunes. Yet, Orville predictably fears the possible combination of Dino's libido with Zelda's childhood crush on the singer. Before the two can meet, Orville deceitfully bullies Zelda out of their house and Barney hires local roadhouse prostitute Polly the Pistol Kim Novak to pose as Orville's wife. Zelda turns to drink for solace, ending up at the exact bar where Polly plies her trade and, eventually, in the call girl's empty trailer. By the next morning, Orville is with Polly and Dino looking for a prostitute finds his way to Zelda -- and husband, wife, hooker, and Barney will all reap the benefits of infidelity. As indicated, this picture which endured numerous complications on its long journey to the screen, including Walston's replacement of ailing star Peter Sellers drew a great deal of attention upon release, most of it overwhelmingly negative. The Catholic League of Decency gave it a "condemned" rating the first one applied since the 1956 Baby Doll, the picture was charged with debauchery, and movie theaters across the nation discontinued its run. This bed-trick comedy had America's panties tied in a knot, with many arguing that one could not imagine a story so distasteful. As a reflection on changing mores and standards, though, it was rated GP in 1970 eventually changed to PG-13 in 1994. ~ Aubry Anne D'Arminio
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond's nudge-nudge, wink-wink scripting couples with the inspired performances of Dean Martin and Kim Novak to made this cheerfully vulgar 1964 comedy a film to remember. It’s a bit tawdry for Wilder and Diamond, although still far ahead of anything that passes for sophisticated bedroom farce today. Martin is cast perfectly to type as Dino, a girl-crazy singer whom amateur songwriters Ray Walston and Cliff Osmond target as a potential market for their ditties. The jealous Walston is concerned about Dino's appeal to his star-struck wife the lovely Felicia Farr, so Osmond recruits a prostitute Novak, of course to waylay the singer in a nearby tavern. But when Farr turns up in the tavern to drown her martial sorrows, unexpected adulterous pairings ensue. It's clear that Wilder -- an inventive director who loved being bawdy now and then -- enjoys thumbing his nose at Hollywood’s restrictive Production Code with Stupid’s adultery angle, although the film certainly would have benefited from a lighter touch. At times the humor seems a little forced and the carousing a bit overdone. Even so, the movie is great fun, and fans of movie musicals will particularly enjoy the three previously unpublished songs written by George and Ira Gershwin.
All Movie Guide
Kiss Me, Stupid is one of several critical and commercial disappointments that tarnish Billy Wilder's later career. Reviewers chastised its reliance on stereotypes, as well as its archaic indoor scenery and filtered black-and-white photography. Audiences resisted the film's guileless approach (such as casting Dean Martin as a boozing rat packer) and cynical moral (that a couple may revive its love and its finances through infidelity). But it is the simplicity and coarseness of this picture that have left it memorable and even commendable. Kiss Me, Stupid is a precursor of such American films as Todd Solondz's Happiness and Neil LaBute's Your Friends & Neighbors -- movies that exploit paper-thin characters and unadorned filmmaking to develop an honesty often celebrated for being unpleasant. With Kiss Me, Stupid, Wilder does not hide behind the attractive fallibility of William Holden or Jack Lemmon. They may have been praised as appealing to the "everyman," but Martin and Ray Walston are every man -- a little too typical and a little too familiar. Their characters react predictably to each plot turn, and are thus too uncomplicated to have their behavior excused. They inhabit the unforgiving real world -- a fact emphasized by Wilder's drab living room backgrounds and his decision not to glamorize them in Technicolor. Kiss Me, Stupid is necessarily abrasive, understandably painful to watch, and brilliantly ahead of its time.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/27/1993
  • UPC: 027616236234
  • Original Release: 1964
  • Rating:

  • Source: Mgm (Video & Dvd)
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Dean Martin Dino
Kim Novak Polly The Pistol
Ray Walston Orville J. Spooner
Felicia Farr Zelda "Lambchop" Spooner
Cliff Osmond Barney Millsap
Barbara Pepper Big Bertha
James Ward Milkman
Doro Merande Mrs. Pettibone
Howard McNear Mr. Pettibone
Bobo Lewis Waitress
Tom Nolan Johnnie Mulligan
John Fiedler Rev. Carruthers
Henry Beckman Truck Driver
Eileen O'Neill 2nd Showgirl
Mary Jane Saunders
Alice Pearce Mrs. Mulligan
Arlen Stuart Rosalie Schultz
Cliff Norton Mack Gray
Mel Blanc Dr. Sheldrake
Bernd Hoffmann Barkeeper
Master Henry Gibson Smith
Alan Dexter Wesson
Technical Credits
Billy Wilder Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Edward Boyle Set Decoration/Design
Charles C. Coleman Jr. Asst. Director
Loren Cosand Makeup
I.A.L. Diamond Associate Producer, Screenwriter
Wally Green Choreography
Doane Harrison Associate Producer
Wes Jeffries Costumes/Costume Designer
Joseph La Shelle Cinematographer
Emile LaVigne Makeup
Robert Luthardt Art Director
Dan Mandell Editor
Clem Portman Sound/Sound Designer
André Previn Score Composer
Milt Rice Special Effects
Lynn Stalmaster Casting
Bill Thomas Costumes/Costume Designer
Alexandre Trauner Production Designer
Allen K. Wood Production Manager
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