A Kiss Before Dying (Film)

The film rights to A Kiss Before Dying were purchased by Darryl Zanuck at Twentieth Century-Fox while Levin's novel was still in unpublished galley form. (As would happen again 14 years later, when producer William Castle came calling for Rosemary's Baby.)

A Kiss Before Dying was shot in Fox's new CinemaScope process – making A Kiss Before Dying the first mystery novel to be purchased by Hollywood for the widescreen format (Cosmopolitan, 1953)

Via | © Twentieth Century-Fox

The film's bright, color-saturated rendering of fictional "Blue River, Iowa" perfectly spotlights Levin's penchant for placing malevolent goings-on in the sunlit, everyday world. (He'd return to similarly bucolic surroundings some 20 years later, with another fictional setting – Stepford.)

Via | © Twentieth Century-Fox

  • In 1953, while a fresh military recruit still in basic training, Levin was visited by an editor from Cosmopolitan Magazine, who'd dropped by to tell him that Twentieth Century-Fox had just won out in obtaining the film rights to his novel; Levin was, at the time, on K.P. duty: “...wearily peeling potatoes. Private Levin's reaction? He promptly cut his thumb.”


(Above) Trailer (1956)

(Above) TCM's Eddie Muller's insightful video intro

(Above) Lobby card from A Kiss Before Dying