Perhaps director Fuller's most disturbing work (in a career filled with disturbing portraits of humanity), THE NAKED KISS details prostitute Towers' vain attempt at leaving her life of sin to enter mainstream society--a society that proves to be more depraved than the world she has fled.
The film opens with a sequence in which Towers is embroiled in a violent fight with her pimp. During the battle the pimp tries to demoralize Towers by pulling off her wig and revealing her bald head which he had shaved (a shocking image that Fuller had used before in VERBOTEN! in 1958). Outraged
at yet another savage violation, Towers kills her pimp and leaves town. Seeking to reform, Towers ventures into the heart of small-town America. Soon after her arrival, Towers has a brief affair with the sheriff, Eisley, who knows about her past and suggests she take up with a new madam, Grey, who
operates a brothel on the other side of town. She rejects his suggestion and instead finds work as a nurse caring for crippled children. She does well in the job, gaining the attention of an appreciative town and a philanthropic millionaire, Dante. Towers falls in love with Dante, and soon they
speak of marriage. Wanting to be honest with him, Towers tells Dante of her past. After some deliberation, Dante agrees to marry Towers, promising her the home and family she has always yearned for. The engagement is sealed with a kiss, but the embrace shakes Towers. Dante's kiss is one she has
felt before--a kiss touched with deep perversion. Ignoring the warning sign, Towers buys a wedding dress and triumphantly returns to Dante's home to show it off. She enters the house and is surprised to hear a recording of the song she used to sing to the children in the hospital. As she nears
Dante's bedroom, a little girl runs out of the room, and Towers is horrified that she has interrupted her fiance just as he was about to molest a child. Revulsion sweeps through Towers and her outrage once again turns to violence as she beats Dante to death with a telephone. When the town learns
of Towers' past it quickly turns against her, branding her a murderer. With Eisley's help, Towers is able to locate the little girl and clear her own name. The citizens of the hypocritical community do an immediate about-face and hail Towers as a heroine, but she is too disgusted by them to stay
and exits "respectable" society.
THE NAKED KISS is Fuller's most developed and unrelentingly bleak view of the dark underbelly of American society. While Towers is a prostitute and killer, she is more honorable than the "respectable" citizens because she is sincere and honest in her attempt to reform her life. Towers has a moral
code, a line she allows no one to cross. The community, however, worships cosmetics. Towers is hired as a nurse because she looks wholesome. Dante is a respected member of the community because he is rich and seems benevolent, but in reality he is a child molester--the most reprehensible person on
earth to Fuller, who sees children as symbols of hope for mankind. While Fuller shows that children may dream, in a scene where Towers encourages the handicapped children to pretend that they are able to run and play, he holds no such illusions for adults. When Dante courts Towers he fills her
head with fantasies of romance in Vienna, but the dream comes to an abrupt end with the reality of his cold, perverse kiss.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Perhaps director Fuller's most disturbing work (in a career filled with disturbing portraits of humanity), THE NAKED KISS details prostitute Towers' vain attempt at leaving her life of sin to enter mainstream society--a society that proves to be more depra… (more)