Kiss the Blood Off My Hands (1948)

Kino Lorber Studio Classics has steadily been releasing a number of classic film noir titles under its Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema series. This one, starring Joan Fontaine and Burt Lancaster, fits right into those box sets.

Former POW Bill Saunders (Lancaster) barely survived the war and is a man on the edge. This blows up when he kills a man in a bar fight and hides in the home of nurse Jane Wharton (Fontaine), telling her its all an accident. They fall in love and after some jail time for attacking a cop, he gets a straight job. That gets ruined when a gangster who saw the bar fight starts blackmailing him.

Fontaine and Lancaster would recreate their roles for the Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on February 21, 1949 under the title The Unafraid, which was much less offensive of a title. Indeed, there was a fight where this movie was almost called Blood On My Hands and Blood On the Moon. Lancaster was a producer, so he really struggled to keep the original title, seeing as how it was based on a book by Gerald Butler.

Norman Foster mostly directed Charlie Chan and Mr. Moto films, so this is one of his few chances to strike out and make something unique, which he does. Also, the scene where Lancaster is whipped with a cat o’nine tails 18 times was voted #43 in the book Lash! The Hundred Great Scenes of Men Being Whipped in the Movies.

You can grab this blu ray from Kino Lorber, who sent us a review copy. It has a new 2K transfer and commentary by film historian Jeremy Arnold.

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