“Stay off of my Beach” – Rediscovering ‘Once You Kiss a Stranger…’ (US 1969 – 106 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - November 11, 2018
“Stay off of my Beach” – Rediscovering ‘Once You Kiss a Stranger…’ (US 1969 – 106 mins)

A colourful, lurid, and trashy thriller, ‘Once You Kiss a Stranger…’ was made just before the exploitation era took full reign. A sub-par version of ‘Strangers on a Train’, it’s not nearly as good, but it does have it’s own charm, and has a sizable following among bad-movie buffs.

The much tried-and-tested plot is simple. After deliberately seducing golf pro Jerry Marshall (Paul Burke), pretty but dangerous Diana (Carol Lynley) offers to kill his rival if Jerry will kill her psychiatrist, who plans to have Diana committed. Of course, things go awry once Diana keeps her end of the deal but Jerry begins to have reservations about his part in this deadly plot.

‘Once You Kiss a Stranger…’ should have delivered the goods, but unfortunately nothing that followed lived up to the pre-credits scene of a gorgeous Carol Lynley emerging from the sea brandishing a harpoon, before casually bursting a child’s beach ball with it. Still, it’s not every day that a golf cart and clubs are used to off anyone, so it does have some originality to it.

The decent cast does seem to take it all wonderfully seriously though. Carol Lynley has one of her rare bad-girl roles and remains ice-cold throughout. Paul Burke was popular at the time and had earlier starred in the ultimate trash picture ‘Valley of the Dolls’ (’67), and in the same year as this, co-starred in the Carol White thriller ‘Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting’ (’69). The supporting players are fun to watch, with the always excellent Whit Bissell playing the psychiatrist and Martha Hyer enjoyable as Jerry’s estranged wife Lee. This was to be former television director Robert Sparr’s final film, as he was tragically killed in a plane crash that year, aged just 53.

I really want to like ‘Once You Kiss a Stranger…’ more than I do, but for the cast and story alone, I think it rightly has a place in cult movie history. It’s not a good film, but it has all the ingredients that make it a trashy favourite. With an intriguing title, watchable cast, and a fun premise, it should have worked, but ultimately fails in nearly every department. Still, lovers of bad movies seem to get a kick out of it, and I’m ashamed to say, so do I.

This post was written by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *