What You Need To Know:
(LL, SS, VVV, NN) At least 20 obscenities, profanities, graphic murder and violence, fornication and nudity.
A KISS BEFORE DYING vividly portrays the deceitfulness of the human heart with all its corruption. In the tradition of film noir, the movie reveals a plot with a twist: Heiress Ellen Carlsson unwittingly marries her twin sister’s murderer, and the film centers on her search to solve her sister’s death.
Dissatisfied with her sister’s suicide verdict by the New York police, Ellen begins to investigate on her own and uncovers some intriguing evidence. According to her sister’s diary, at the time of death, she was pregnant and had made plans to marry. However, the man she was dating at that time was unknown.
Seeking answers, Ellen talks to one of her sister’s fellow students at Penn State. When they go to his apartment to get a class year book, Ellen waits in the car, but then wonders why he doesn’t return. Shortly, she and the landlady unlock his door and discover his dead body which the police also label a suicide.
Meanwhile, Ellen has a torrid sexual relationship with Jay, who claims to be an orphan. Before long, Jay meets Ellen’s father, head of the Carlsson Copper Company, and impresses him sufficiently for him to sanction their marriage.
After the wedding, Jay manages to fool nearly everyone about his real identity. One night when Ellen is out, an acquaintance of Ellen’s sister calls from a hotel and tells Jay she knows who Ellen’s sister, Dorothy, had been dating. However, Jay doesn’t tell Ellen. Instead, he goes to the hotel where she is staying, strangles her, stuffs the body in a large suitcase, and dumps it in the river.
When the police discover the body, it proves to be too coincidental to Ellen. Almost simultaneously, at dinner one night, a man comes up to Jay and calls him “Jonathan Corliss.” Of course, Jay deems it mistaken identity, but subsequently, Ellen finds Jay’s picture in a Penn State yearbook. Her suspicions are confirmed when she visits Corliss’ mother and discovers that her son had supposedly died three years earlier, but the body was never found.
A KISS BEFORE DYING is an intriguing, fairly well-produced movie. However, the unnecessary foul language and nude love-making scenes (before marriage) mar this otherwise engaging film. Nevertheless, the premise of the film bears out the biblical principle in Numbers 32:23, “Be sure your sin will find you out,” as Jay’s failure to successfully live a double life proves, and he suffers the consequences.