Mention: “Psycho” and ANTHONY PERKIN’S portrayal of Norman Bates will almost always come to mind, although Bates was actually a schizophrenic that is, delusional, as opposed to a true sociopath, one who lacks a conscience. The sociopath has often been portrayed in movies, but nowhere is he more chilling then in “A Kiss Before Dying”.
JOANN WOODWARD and ROBERT WAGNER (Anthony Di Nozzo’s father in NCIS) play typical young college students who are deeply in love. They live in a classic American town in the 1950’s. Both are extremely attractive and their relationship seems ideal. But when WOODWARD’S character becomes pregnant we discover that WAGNER’S character is a sociopath. She must die and WAGNER plots to make it happen. What follows is so much more frightening, because of this social climber’s cool determination to end the life of a sweet, innocent young girl who is so completely devoted to him. WAGNER underplays the role perfectly and I think it’s his finest performance.
I haven’t read IRA LEVIN’S (Rosemary’s Baby/The Stepford Wives) book on which the movie was based, but I will do so in the future, if for no other reason than to see if the screen adaptation is true or did they modify it for the sake of the 1950’s time period and please skip the unnecessary 1991 remake of this fine movie.