Kiss Me, Stupid

1964, NR, 126 min. Directed by Billy Wilder. Starring Kim Novak, Dean Martin, Felicia Farr, Cliff Osmond, Ray Walston.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Mon., July 8, 2002

Kiss Me, Stupid

The smutty humor of this Billy Wilder farce got it in trouble with critics, the Catholic Legion of Decency, and other self-appointed American censors at the time of its Christmas release in 1964. The story involves a womanizing crooner named Dino (Martin) whose car "breaks down" in Climax, Nevada, where he is at the mercy of piano teacher/unpublished tunesmith (Walston) and his partner (Osmond). Dino might be interested in picking up one of their songs if he can also pick up the piano teacher's shapely wife - who is being impersonated by the town's freelance prostitute. Later, one marital infidelity prompts another in order to right the universe. Instead of her usually stolid performances, Novak here reveals a suppleness and grace rarely exhibited in her other films. Undeniably lewd, Kiss Me, Stupid exemplifies the go-go Rat Pack sexual sensibilities that fed the American appetite in the dawn of the sexual revolution. It was one of Wilder's biggest flops.

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Kiss Me, Stupid, Billy Wilder, Kim Novak, Dean Martin, Felicia Farr, Cliff Osmond, Ray Walston

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