The Long Island University Brooklyn Campus Library Media Center Newsletter 


We love movies, among other things.

July/Aug 2006, issue 16

"You almost wrecked my car! Well? Get in!"  Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker), Kiss Me Deadly (1955)

Good News for DVDs and CDs

Are you an undergraduate who's wondered why you can't check out DVDs and CDs?  Well, wonder no more because now you can!  Most of our more than 600 DVDs and all of our CDs are now part of our circulating collection.  Come on up and take something home for a few days.  Read our circulation policy if you have any more questions. 

Hot enough for ya? 

It was the kind of summer where if you dropped a quarter, you'd better pick it up before it melted into the sidewalk like wax.  It was the kind of summer where m&m's melt in your hand, and in your mouth.  It was the kind of summer where you sweated a lot.

Okay, I'm no Mickey Spillane, the late and prolific scribe of hardboiled crime fiction and creator of archetypal hardnosed private eye Mike Hammer, but give me a break, it's been the kind of summer where it's too hot to make your brain work properly enough to decently parody an endlessly parodied literary style. 

It was that kind of summer. 

We have one movie in our collection based on a Spillane novel:  Kiss Me Deadly (1955), directed by Robert Aldrich and starring Ralph Meeker as the violent and angry Mike Hammer. It is a dark Cold War era thriller with a noiry, roughneck style that fits Spillane's prose to a T.  It also features 'the great whatsit,' an influential plot device: a suitcase and its mysterious, ominous, glowing contents.  One of the characters floridly describes it as "The head of Medusa. That's what's in the box, and who looks on her will be changed not into stone but into brimstone and ashes. But of course you wouldn't believe me, you'd have to see for yourself, wouldn't you?"

Two other films in our collection give nods to the great whatsit.  In Alex Cox's cult fave Repo Man (1984), instead of a suitcase, the mysterious and incendiary whatsit is kept in the trunk of a car.  "Oh you don't want to look in there, officer."  This film is a bizarre and funny cult classic, starring that Sheen boy Emilio Estevez and lean character actor Harry Dean Stanton, and featuring a great punk soundtrack. 

The other film with a great whatsit is Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction (1994), where it is kept in a briefcase transported by the hit men Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) and Vincent (John Travolta), and is less an object of danger and more of mysterious, mesmerizing beauty.  It's opened in the last scene of the film, when Jules and Vincent are in the diner while it's being robbed by Pumpkin (Tim Roth) and Honey Bunny (Amanda Plummer).  As in the earlier two films, we don't see whatever causes the glow, but unlike those films, it isn't incendiary; we do see its effect on Pumpkin -- he is momentarily transfixed by its beauty and seems to recognize it.  "Is that what I think it is?" he says.  "It's beautiful." 

Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker): You're never around when I need you.
Velda (Maxine Cooper): You never need me when I'm around.  

Kiss Me Deadly (1955)


The Media Center is located on the fifth floor of the Library Learning Center.  Come up and see us some time.

Past Issues of the BCLMC

Library Homepage

Media Center


LIU Brooklyn Campus

In the Mix:  a random shuffle of some movies we've played recently in our Now Playing program: 

Other sites we like:

This issue of  BCLMC is brought to you all the way from the back row by hard nosed Media Assistant Patrick Jewell.  Tell your friends.


Questions?  Comments?  Contact us. 
Media Center Staff:
Andrea Slonosky,  Media Librarian  (718) 488-1311
Patrick Jewell,  Media Assistant  (718) 488-3392
Lisa Rivera,  Media Assistant  (718) 780-4378