A KISS BEFORE DYING
Captain Kirk to the Rescue!
Watching Ethan Hawke's ego direct a too-long-but-interesting documentary on Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, tripped the dormant memory of the underrated (but dated) "A Kiss Before Dying." The film is an adaptation of one of the many transcendent Ira Levin novels.
As an aside, Levin wrote Rosemary's Baby, The Boys From Brazil, The Stepford Wives, The Perfect Day (Outstanding and unknown), No Time For Sergeants (Yep), and Deathtrap: A Thriller in Two Acts. Six novels which you will start to read and refuse to put down. Guaranteed.
The movie, "A Kiss Before Dying" stars Ms. Woodward, along with Robert Wagner and Jeffrey Hunter.
Wagner plays Bud Corliss, a morally compromised proverbial ne'er-do-well who finds himself in an ethical bind. Fiance Woodward is Dory Kingship, pregnant and the daughter of a wealthy industrialist.
And the pregnant and daughter qualities are the driver of vehicle heading for an accident.
Corliss attempts poisoning, shoving Dory down the football stadium steps, and a vertigo-inducing walk along the ramparts of a high-rise in order to rid himself of Dory. Corliss has obviously not seen "A Place in the Sun."
Additional plot descriptions will only give away the intricate arcs Levin has designed. They involve a staged suicide or two; an anonymity device that would be a challenge in terms of a modern day remake; and Captain Kirk!
Actually Captain Pike.
Jeffrey Hunter, the original helmsman of the Starship Enterprise, and killed at the age of 42 via an on-set accident prior to Season One of Star Trek, is Gordon Grant the amateur solver of mysterious crimes.
Sad to watch him and realize the potential of a handsome young leading man. To know of his death is to mourn prematurely. It adds another component to a film that holds together so well, and for that thank Ira Levin, the Master of Imagination.
Anyone who can write The Stepford Wives AND No Time for Sergeants is a generational talent, and one long overdue for awards and laudations.
Here's to you, Ira, and Jeffrey Hunter . . . what might have been.
Amazon Prime Video.