Kiss the Blood Off My Hands

Kiss the Blood Off My Hands

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Norman Foster
Produced by Richard Vernon
Screenplay by Leonardo Bercovici
Walter Bernstein
Based on The novel Kiss the Blood Off My Hands
by Gerald Butler
Starring Joan Fontaine
Burt Lancaster
Robert Newton
Music by Miklós Rózsa
Cinematography Russell Metty
Edited by Milton Carruth
Norma Productions
Distributed by Universal International
Release dates
  • October 30, 1948 (1948-10-30) (United States)
Running time
79 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1.6 million (US rentals)[1]

Kiss the Blood Off My Hands is a 1948 American film noir crime film directed by Norman Foster starring Burt Lancaster, Joan Fontaine and Robert Newton.[2]


Bill Saunders (Lancaster) is a former prisoner of war now living in England, whose experiences have left him unstable and violent. He gets into a bar fight in which he kills a man and then flees. He hides out with the assistance of a nurse, Jane Wharton (Joan Fontaine), who believes his story that the killing was an accident.

Saunders is involved in another fight—this time with a police officer. He ends up behind bars, but Jane, who is now in love with Saunders, gets him a job driving a truck delivering drugs for her medical clinic when he's released.

Meanwhile, hoodlum Harry Carter, who witnessed the earlier bar fight, threatens to expose Saunders to the police. In return for his silence, Carter demands that Saunders cooperate with a planned robbery of his next drug shipment.

When Saunders does do the delivery, Jane rides with him, forcing Saunders to make the delivery as planned to avoid getting Jane involved in the possibly dangerous theft. This betrayal of Carter puts the lives of Saunders and Jane in even greater danger.



Critical response

When the film was released The New York Times wrote: "Norman Foster has directed Kiss the Blood Off My Hands with keen appreciation for the story's emotional content and he has handled the scenes of violence with striking sharpness. The long chase that starts the film on its way, with Lancaster desperately racing through winding streets and alleyways of the London waterfront, vaulting fences and scrambling up on roofs, is high-tension excitement. Mr. Lancaster's performance is good, but he would do well to drop some of his tenseness and get more flexibility into his acting. Robert Newton, as a cockney schemer who witnessed the killing and attempts to blackmail Saunders, is somewhat flamboyant but still he gets over an effective characterization."[3]


  1. "Top Grossers of 1948", Variety 5 January 1949 p 46
  2. Kiss the Blood Off My Hands at the Internet Movie Database.
  3. The New York Times, film review, "Lancaster Fights the World Again," October 30, 1948. Accessed: June 29, 2013.
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