Response to tedr0113 "Do homosexuals exhibit repressed herterosexuality?" - Probably not, especially back then, as homosexuals before the 1970's (and on a smaller scale even through to today) have to keep it a SECRET, for fear of public castigation or worse. Many hollywood leading men and actors were (and are) homosexual or bisexual - but it was UNACCEPTABLE to be so publicly, ESPECIALLY in the 1930's - 1970's. Of course, Billy Crystal's gay character in "Soap" started to break that barrier. However, ANY attempt to simply portray homosexuality was (and sometimes even now, is) "hidden", "between the lines" etc i.e. "repressed homosexuality".
Back then (1930's - 1950's) especially, homosexuals were "queers", *beep* and to be avoided. Even the topic "homosexual" and of course homosexuals themselves was/were to be shunned, like lepers in Jerusalem, teenage pregnancy, illicit drug use and STD's.
If someone is homosexual now, it's no big deal to anyone if they portray tendencies to be heterosexual, as that's still generally considered to be "normal". Maybe it isn't PC of me, but the truth is, most people (including me) STILL don't consider homosexuality to be "normal". Heterosexuality is considered to be "normal" or "acceptable". No one is surprised when two lovers are a boy and a girl - it makes sense in the purest cosmic, spiritual and base levels as well.
Unfortunately, homosexuals are often conflicted people trapped in a heterosexual world. They want to be "normal", but battle with a natural attraction to the same sex. I believe that many are indeed born that way, and can't "fight" being homosexual, they just are, but have to hide it - repress it - and back then they had to express their sexuality in covert ways if they were to express it at all. Hence "repressed homosexuality".
It's hard to tell if that is the intent in "Kiss Me Deadly", but of course the explanations in this Thread are certainly valid. Knives instead of guns for men (symbolizing penetration), strange behavior of men towards women i.e. instead of men groping women constantly - very odd film in this area indeed. What red-hot blooded heterosexual man of any age group wouldn't at least heartily play with and ogle all those hot women? Even a monogamous guy would AT LEAST be distracted. Many men certainly would, even if married, they would probably do every girl possible if not for spiritual beliefs, marital commitments etc.
Hammer has women basically saying "bed me, NOW" but doesn't seem to go for it, implied or otherwise - makes no sense - by contrast, Philip Marlowe in "The Big Sleep" seems ready to pounce on every woman he meets - and he is similarly surrounded by babes who want ... action. He's like a lustful dog after a hunk of raw meat over the women he meets. The opening scene, when Carmen Sternwood appears in the sexy tennis outfit, is telling of his character's nature. He eyes her up and down, smiles, and seems ready to "do her" but is of course distracted by the higher call of his work.
Hammer, by contrast, doesn't seem at all distracted by the many women throwing themselves at him. He seems only to want to use them to meet his goals, even though he kisses them a lot. Marlowe by contrast seems more sincerely interested in women than Hammer.