What Don describes may be Robert Aldrich's attempt to capture the spirit of Mickey Spillane's writing even though he's not necessarily using the plot. Spillane's books are crass, crude, brutal, shallow and frequently over-the-top in torture, violence and sexual fetishism. Relentless cynicism and pessimism are layered into his angry vengeance stories, together with inexplicable loyalties and fleeting moments of tenderness. Those are his virtues. Aldrich and Bezzerides crafted a more sophisticated story than Spillane was capable of writing. The amorality, corruption and sadism of this world are precisely the point, I think. The detective has to be a part of it in order to function in it, but he doesn't commit the crimes, although he obviously exploits people's foibles to make a living. Lt. Pat Murphy offers some advice to Mike Hammer a couple of times in the film about his contempt for the human race, which seems justified as the story unfolds. And yet he helps the old man with the trunk strapped across his back to step up on the curb. I like the blunt dark edge depicted in KISS ME DEADLY. It's refreshingly adult, less unrealistic and different than other private detective films. It makes other private eye films seem foolish in their idealism.