- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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A kiss before dying
***1/2 I like this one alot. A thriller that kept me on edge of my seat. Robert Wagner-love him or hate him, but he's very good at being very bad.
A Kiss Before Dying (1956)
- Jay Higgins
Robert Wagner is one of the worst actors of all time, but he's actually half way decent in this thriller. The good cast helps boost this story up to above average. Mary Astor is particularly good as Wagner's mother. Suspenseful and great pacing. Fascinating story.
A VERY GOOD, ADULT, FIFTIES THRILLER!
DISREGARD THE PREVIOUS REVIEW! This movie is very good. If you like adult thrillers, you'll like this one too. Robert Wagner underplays his character perfectly and just lets the evil smoulder underneath. The monotone voice and relaxed air and coolness just adds to the drama and seems almost sarcastic. His character is relentless in his scheming and won't let anything get in his way. I don't think he ever handled a role as complex as this one before and not too many since. The supporting cast is capable but the film works mainly because of his portrayal of the villian. The scene where he disposes of Joanne Woodward is played very well. This is easily one of Wagner's best roles. But the whole film plays out almost at a very leisurely pace and doesn't seem forced or loaded down with numerous subplots. The direction is very good and the music adds the right amount of suspense at the right moments. The dialog is very direct and mature. I was actually surprised that the studio released it with the word "pregnant" blaring out in full effect. Something unusual for the fifties. This whole film actually doesn't seem like one from the fifties. Its viciousness seems like something from the seventies so its definitely ahead of its time. I'm sure that fifties audiences were a little stunned at this one. It still packs a punch today. FORGET THE REMAKE! The original is much better. The fact that its available on DVD says something about its staying power.
Loved this movie
Growing up I only knew Robert Wagner as the Hart to Hart man. But seeing this movie has made me a huge fan of his. Not only did he look beautiful but I really enjoyed his acting. He played the evil man with such darkness. Yes Joanne Woodard acting was very bad in this film but this is one of her first films. I just loved this movie and the remake (with Matt Dillion) does it no justice.
A flawed mid-50's thriller.
- david lincoln brooks
Wooden acting, a colossally boring script, a glacial pace, an uncertain tone, an absurd plot, dismal directing and occasionally risible camerawork mar this Technicolor thriller. The mind reels to understand what the appeal of this picture could have been upon its first release... I'm guessing this was a picture to launch the fledgling careers of co-stars Wagner and Woodward... who were positively babies when this pic was made. The picture is a farrago of would-be Hitchcock, Billy Wilder and Douglas Sirk, but it never approaches the calibre of their work; the picture is not even dopey or campy enough to be on an Ed Wood level. Still the mid-50's colors and decor are pretty neato.