Further Reflections on
The Naked Kiss (1964)
a film by Samuel Fuller
Undaunted by the deliverances of her cologne-induced epiphany, Kelly sets out, a spring in her step, to reinvent herself. But first she needs a clean bed and fluffy pillow on which to rest her head as the wheels continue to whir.
Happily, she espies amidst Grantville's well-groomed suburban lawns a sign:
A local seamstress--also an independent contractor who goes by her first name, Josephine--is offering a room for let. What's more, it meets Kelly's requirements, above all, that the space be pleasant.
The landlady and prospective tenant hit it off from the moment they meet, exchanging stories and agreeing about a variety of matters, including the importance of a comfortable bed, given that so much of one's life is spent there. The spinster-seamstress, whose fiancé, Charlie, never returned from the war, takes an immediate liking to Kelly, who is obviously also a strong woman of spirit.
The next step is to find a job. Perhaps inspired by her collection of wardrobe costumes and props amassed over the years to use in various role-playing games requested by clients, it dawns on Kelly that she could really be a nurse. She does look rather fetching and smart in that cap, white support stockings, and large-pocketed pinafore-style cotton dress.
Fate would have it that the local children's orthopaedic hospital happens to be hiring. Kelly's interview is a smashing success, and the head nurse decides to give her a shot at the job even though she has no references to speak of.
Meanwhile, Captain Griff has been lurking around Candy's establishment, a popular local haunt which guarantees its customers indescribable pleasure. He fully expects to find Kelly there, but to his surprise, his ichi-ban is nowhere to be seen.
Candy, the savvy proprietor and seasoned madame, who evidently chose figure over face--a dilemma posed most famously by Catherine Deneuve and one with which every beautiful woman wrestles as she confronts her inexorably advancing age--reports that Kelly has yet to take up residence at her place.
Griff embarks on a fact-finding mission and soon learns that Kelly now works at the hospital. Knowing (in the biblical sense) her true credentials, Griff immediately assumes that Kelly must have sidled up to the hospital director, furnishing him free "libations" in exchange for a post.
The police captain confronts Kelly directly, making his disapproval known in no uncertain terms.
Kelly wailfully insists that no such thing has taken place. No! She slept with no one at the hospital to get her job! Kelly begs Griff, who possesses the full power of the law to banish her forever from Grantville, to permit her to attempt to change her ways and to earn an honest living.
After putting up some resistance, Griff finally relents,
a decision which he believes he may later come to regret.
Now a well-respected member of the hospital staff, Kelly is invited to the Grantville holiday party, where everyone who's anyone convenes each year at the illustrious home of Mr. Grant. The townsfolk all refer to this distinguished, cultured gentleman of old money as Grant, and it was indeed his family who literally put Grantville on the map.
As Kelly enters the foyer of the mansion, all eyes are on her, including those of Grant and Griff, who are obviously struck by this woman in stunning formal attire, her beautiful blonde hair arranged sleekly in a cinnamon bun style befitting a high society lady of manners and means.
The sexual tension in the room sizzles like cold water splashed into the deep fryer at the Grantville local diner.
Griff is visibly disturbed by the attentions being lavished upon this simple tramp all dressed up in a costume and only posing as a grande dame. Even worse, the party's host appears to have fallen for Kelly's ruse.
After some holiday greetings and small talk, the group assembles in the parlor. Grant, being not only a successful businessman and the heir to the Grant family fortune, but also a philanthropist, returns from his trip to Europe each year laden with gifts for all his city's high-level service personnel.
He offers Kelly a Venetian vase, and she immediately impresses everyone present with her erudition, spontaneously confirming that she knows the meaning of the word:
The head nurse looks on approvingly, musing to herself, "She may not have any nursing credentials, but she clearly has a college degree!"
After this propitious first encounter, things start really looking up for Kelly, as the wealthiest man around, a well-educated gentleman of refinement and taste, has taken a liking to her.
Grant and Kelly begin to meet more and more frequently. They trade literary allusions (both have read Goethe), and enjoy listening to the music of Beethoven, a statue of whom Grant has in the entryway to his luxurious abode.
The couple especially loves the Moonlight Sonata, which they listen to while lying on the animal-print velour-covered sofa. They share a passion for painting images of European landscapes with words. The clincher comes when Grant "invites Kelly to Venice," proceeding to turn on his movie projector and screen serene boat scenes from the canals. The seduction is now complete.
As the couple kiss, Kelly suddenly starts, as though an evil thought has entered her mind.
More likely, given her previously demonstrated sensitivity to cologne, it is Grant's fragrance which has caused the smitten woman to pause and push her would-be lover away.
Fortunately, olfactory fatigue quickly sets in, and the evil thought exits from her mind.
A few months down the line, Grant, to Kelly's great surprise, pops the question, asking her to be his lawfully wedded wife. In a state of shock, Kelly recognizes that she can no longer hide the truth of her past from Grant.
She tells all and awaits the retraction of his marriage proposal.
Instead, Grant tells Kelly in effect that love conquers all, and the proposal therefore stands. Confused by Grant's acceptance of her disreputable past, Kelly takes leave, explaining that she needs some time to think.
Back in her rented room, the former-mistress-of-the-night-turned-orthopaedic-nurse indulges in some heavy drinking from the very Venetian vase given to her by Grant on the night when they first met.
The next morning,
Kelly decides that her answer is: Yes.
Grant is delighted to be apprised of the news and provides Kelly with a key to this, her new home.
The bride-to-be's days become filled with wedding preparations, including the dress to be designed by Josephine, conveniently Kelly's landlady. The couple also deliberates about where the honeymoon will be.
It all seems like a dream.