We return to Art House with a rare screening of Billy Wilder’s Kiss Me, Stupid (1964). A caustic and sometimes melancholy farce of sex and marital infidelity, Kiss Me, Stupid is an underrated classic from the director of Sunset Boulevard (1950), Some Like It Hot (1959) and The Apartment (1960).
Dean Martin stars as a thinly disguised version of himself (‘Dino’), a philandering Rat Pack-style singer who is stranded in the small town of Climax, Nevada. Here is taken under the wing of Orville Spooner (Ray Walston), a struggling songwriter who lives with his young wife Zelda (Felicia Farr). Orville hopes to persuade Dino to perform one of his songs, but he is convinced that Dino will seduce Zelda. He decides to solve the problem by recruiting local waitress ‘Polly the Pistol’ (Kim Novak) to pose as Zelda.
Acerbic and sexually frank, Kiss Me, Stupid caused an uproar when it was released and was even condemned by the Catholic League of Decency. Decried by many as immoral and tasteless, it was defended by critic Joan Didion, who described it as a ‘profoundly affecting film’, ‘suffused with the despair of an America many of us prefer not to know.’
Join us at Art House to discover this funny, twisted, and bittersweet film, with an introduction from curator Iris Veysey.
A digital projection at Art House Crouch End, London, 13th May 2018. Book your tickets here.