The Naked Kiss (1965) Part III Meaning it bares no emotion. It’s empty of real substance. It has the taste of perversion to it.
SPOILER ALERT!!!! I DO THE SYNOPSIS RIGHT TO THE END OF THE FILM…
Working at the hospital while Kelly and one of the nurses are bathing the children Kelly notices that she is troubled and asks “Do you want to talk about it? Have you been to a doctor?” She has the intuition that the young girl is pregnant. Kelly instead of bringing the ‘plague’ to Grantville has brought insight and compassion to the women who are troubled in this provincial prison. In this way, the film can be viewed as feminist. She brings her strength and independence.
Crossfade, Kelly, and Grant are slow dancing at Grant’s house. Kelly tells him that she wants to talk about something, something she needs to get off her mind. “I’m afraid our dance is over.” Asks him to sit down and listen to the words. “When I came to this town, the first day I came… I was a prostitute. My first customer was my last one, next morning I quit. Now I’m in love with a man who’s the dream of every woman.” Grant is seated looking puzzled Kelly continues “Every woman who has the right to dream…but the man has got to stop seeing me before the volcano erupts.”
Grant looks up at her and grabs her hand. Pulls her close to him.“I love you Kelly.. .will you marry me?” She says “I’ve got to think it out.. .(now cheek to cheek) Oh I’ve got to think it out.”
Kelly’s in her room drinking from the blown Venetian glass from Venice that Grant gave her. She’s contemplating the marriage proposal. We hear a voice over, it’s Grant’s monologue “I wasn’t cut out to be a monk and you’re not the type to turn nun… but together we’ll prove our whole existence for each other, the only woman I want for my wife.”
Voice over by Grant “I wasn’t cut out to be a monk, and you’re not the type to turn nun. But together we’ll prove our whole existence for each other. You’re the only woman I want for my wife… If they condemn you for your past, I don’t want them for my friends. Kelly darling no one can forbid you your tomorrow. And I’m all your tomorrows.
Kelly gets up from the bed, sighs and walks over to the tailor’s dummy, and asks “Charlie, what should I do?” Again we hear Grant’s voice “If they condemn you for your past, I don’t want them as my friends, Kelly darling…no one could forbid you tomorrow, and I’m all your tomorrows, all of them.” Kelly raises her glass and answers to Charlie “That’s right!…why should Grant want to marry a woman like me?.. .confidentially Charley, (her arm around the fake soldier now) we girls are always chasing dreams… why shouldn’t I have a right to catch mine?”
Now Kelly has an internal monologue “Many women had a past like mine, and they made out didn’t they?” She answers aloud asking the question “Or did they?… ah, of course, they did.. .and you know why because there was always the Rock of Gibraltar to give them strength” She raises the blown glass to Charlie in a toast “That’s what Grant is…The Rock…The Rock of Gibraltar.”
So Kelly needs a man to legitimize her self-worth, otherwise, she is still considered machinery. “Oh Charlie” now we hear Grant’s voice again “We’d be living an endless honeymoon” She goes back over to Charlie and hugs him “Oh Charlie, the dread of every woman in my business…is ending up alone…I know that world.”
She looks at the glass again and says “And I know his world( chuckles ironically) and that makes me a woman of 2 worlds… and that’s not good, or is it?” She looks at Charlie’s hat. She’s got her arm around his stuffed shoulders. “With him, I’m complete, a whole woman” the voiceover by Grant breaks in again “I’ll never strike at your past, not even with a flower” Kelly hugs Charlie closer, “Oh Charlie, Charlie Charlie, Charlie…what should I do?…”
Fade to Black.
in this look on Grant’s face, we sense something cold and unsavory deep-rooted in his soul. A removed reptilian hypothermic smile. It is not his fine breeding, it is something dark and unwholesome he keeps bubbling below the surface of his refinement.
At Grant’s house, the doorbell rings, and Kelly comes bursting in “Oh it’s a wonderful day Barney!… it’s a beautiful day!” Barney tells her that Grant is still asleep. She ignores him and yells “It’s a glorious day!” She goes to the stereo and puts on Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and conducts. Barney still in his robe goes upstairs to get Grant. Kelly is conducting the music, she spins the large globe as if she’ll be able to see the world now.
Grant comes down in his silk pajamas, yawning and putting his robe on, he watches as she pretends to conduct the music. She runs to him and grabs his hands “I love you…it’s a deal” He looks oddly at her, pleased but more like he’s just sealed a business deal, not the reaction from a man truly in love. As they discover wedding plans he wants to send her to Paris to buy the most expensive wedding gown. Kelly has always paid for every stitch of clothing on her back. That tells you how independent she has been while working as a prostitute. Not taking any more than for her services to get by. Kelly has throughout shown to be a woman of integrity, thus the challenge in the narrative is to balance the conflict of judging her as a whore with morals.
Dusty gets help from Kelly. Who gives her $1,000 and tells her whether the guy marries her or not she is to keep the baby. Dusty tells her, “Boy or girl I’ll name it Kelly.”
Kip’s gaze, the sadness shared with a child, as he watches Dusty crying. Sympathetic.
Now nurses and orderlies are bringing in the children one by one. And a record begins to spin. Kip the little boy wearing the First Mate pirate hat begins to sing this song which has an eerily tragic poignancy.
“Mommy dear, tell me please, is the world really round” Another little boy takes it from there, “Tell me where, is the bluebird of happiness found” Now a little girl sings “Tell me why is the sky up above so blue” now they all sing in unison “and when you were a child, did your mommy tell you?”
All of the children standing like wounded soldiers with their hats and crutches singing this sad little song together. The song creates an element of melancholy, and pathos in the film. It’s the children asking the question where is happiness?
The children are a diverse group of races, the spirit of these children fuels the film’s angst and alienation, for they are like castaways in a world that is perfect, while they are broken and striving to be whole.
“What becomes of the sun when it falls in the sea” “And who lights it again, as bright as can be” Together they sing again “Tell me why can’t I fly without wings through the sky” Back to Kip who sadly sings “tell me why mommy dear…are there tears in your eyes?”
Now Kelly joins in as an answer to the song’s questions singing “Little one, little one, yes the world’s really round, and the bluebird you search for is surely is found… and the sky up above is so blue and clear (the staff including Mac is watching Kelly serenade the children they are so sullen, yet proud) so that you’d see the bluebird if it should come near… and the sun doesn’t fall in the sea out of sight, all it does is make way for the moon’s pretty light… and if children could fly there’d be no need for birds… and I cry little ones cause I’m touched by your words.”
The children surrounding Kelly sing the song together, she has left a mark on them, she has found a different way to have worth, and she sees herself through these child’s eyes. They are ultimately truly innocent, yet they are the ones who don’t objectify Kelly.
“Tell me please Mommy dear is it true the world’s round, I will search, round the world til the bluebird is found” Then Kelly sings “Little one there’s no need to wander too far, for what you really seek is right here where you are.”
Griff and Grant are walking out of a building. Grant has asked Griff to be the best man at the wedding but Griff can’t fake how miserable he is. Grant tells him to get it off his chest. Bunny comes running over to Grant with her dolly and he picks her up and spins her around. Griff is still visibly upset, holding his cigarette and frowning. Bunny congratulates Uncle Grant on his wedding, and he kisses her cheek, she beams a smile half filled with baby teeth.
Now in the classroom back at the hospital, the children are getting a spelling lesson. Kelly is fixing Kip’s shoelace. Griff knocks on the window glass to get Kelly’s attention. Through the glass panel in the door, we see them talking seriously again a frame within a frame, symbolizing the entrapment of both characters who are stuck by their roles. They move into an empty room so they can continue to talk.
Continue reading “Sam Fuller’s The Naked Kiss: Part III “Tell me where is the blue bird of happiness found?””