All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1154. An easy way of seeing how…
TENSE! TAUT! TERRIFIC! Told the untamed Hemingway way!
Two professional killers invade a small town and kill a gas station attendant, "the Swede," who's expecting them. Insurance investigator Reardon pursues the case against the orders of his boss, who considers it trivial. Weaving together threads of the Swede's life, Reardon uncovers a complex tale of treachery and crime, all linked with gorgeous, mysterious Kitty Collins.
Between them, Double Indemnity and The Killers made the world of insurance seem a hell of a lot more exciting than it probably is.
No offence meant to any insurance salespeople or investigators out there who regularly run across murder plots and beautiful femmes fatale, and I'm happy to stand corrected if I have shown my ignorance on this front. In the more likely event that I'm imagining the industry to be rather more mundane than the respective Billy Wilder and Robert Siodmak classics portray it as, it's fair to say that the strengths of these two perhaps lie to a fairly large extent in the fact that we don't end up following a rather predictable police or private detective…
This was probably the most expertly directed piece I watched today, and definitely one of the best written plots I think I can name. Unless I missed something, everything neatly falls together in this one in a way that lets you keep up while also being genuinely intrigued by what will happen next.
It opens with a tense scene in a diner, where two hired killers immediately take control and begin hunting their quarry. From there, it follows the unraveling, via flashback and dialogue, of a payroll robbery and its fall out that is neatly plotted but not convoluted, just complex enough to be interesting and not ridiculous. Everyone betrays everyone, and in the end, the... insurance company wins? Well,…
Hadn't previously thought of Siodmak as much of a stylist beyond the basic noir conventions he helped establish, but this is nearly as formally dazzling as Kane (which it's clearly striving to emulate), albeit in a less flashy way. Wish I had a copy handy so I could revisit and describe some of the shots that knocked me on my ass—I can't quite recall, for example, whether it's camera movement or blocking (or both) that suddenly places Ava Gardner in the foreground of this moment as she begins to sing her number, upstaging an already tense interaction between Lancaster and his girl, but it demonstrates an understanding of cinematic space that makes widescreen seem like a grotesque affectation (and…
Based on Ernest Hemingway's short, Robert Siodmark's The Killers start out in intriguing fashion. Two murderers comes to a small town with no other intention than killing The Swede. The Swede's a guy that keeps to him self for most of the time, after arriving in town a few years earlier. Works at the local filling station, lives in a quiet rental room, and despite being warned about the killers he doesn't seem to bother about his own life, just stating;
I did something wrong... once
An insurance investigators comes around doing his everyday job for the $2500 insurance policy, but there's things about this particular case that stirs his interest. Slowly he work his way back into The Swede's…
What a terrific debut by Burt Lancaster - not just because this is his first big screen picture, but the way Siodmark introduces his character is aces. Loved the heist sequence, which I believe, was presented all in one take. Many great sequences here, and individual shots that will linger around in my mind for quite some time. Oh, and Ava Gardner, WTFIU.
This has been languishing on my shelf for a couple of years now. Why? I don't know, it was great. There's nothing I love more than a double-crossing dame.
Citizen Kane for lowlifes, which it's clearly trying to be in terms of both style and structure. Edmond O'Brien's weak surrogate (not because he's bad, but making the Kane reporter-analogue more active is a mistake to me) aside, this is blatantly terrific stuff, from the evil-in-banal-place opening, which is a near word-for-word adaptation Hemingway's story as far as I can tell, to that extraordinary robbery scene in the flashbacks. Lancaster's debut is electrifying, probably as good as he ever was outside of Sweet Smell of Success, but credit's due to Ava Gardner for making her character's actions conceivably non-malicious even when we know we should know better.
Burt Lancaster's début film is exactly what we want from a film-noir: a riveting urban plot, an enigmatic criminal and a seductive, empowering femme fatale.
"We've come to kill the Swede" - an all-time classic noir line from an all-time classic noir. Great side characters & top-notch lighting & shadows, things all great movies need.
Must be some of the best first twenty minutes in film history. The rest of the film in terms of quality moves between good, not well aged and fantastic.
Hit men kill an unresisting victim, and investigator Reardon uncovers his past involvement with beautiful, deadly Kitty Collins. - IMDB
The majority of this movie is great. The flashback scenes to explain what happened throughout the film that unfolds the complete story for the insurance man, was a great device for the filmmakers to use to get that all across.
The fact that the insurance man risks his life and goes beyond to find out all the details he needs just to approve the death policy or whatever he's doing, seemed a little much when all that he had that was his job at risk.
Good movie and seems like it may have been a catalyst to great films such as Memento and Irreversible. Both which I love.
First movie from Burt Lancaster proves an interesting affair and is a lot more serious and brooding 'noir style' than the Don Siegel re-make of 1964. I personally prefer this version with its complex storytelling and atmosphere. Great movie.
- A Trip to the Moon
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Birth of a Nation
- Les Vampires
- The Racket
- 7th Heaven
- Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
- Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
- Grand Illusion
- Seven Samurai
- The Lady Vanishes
- Crook's Tour
UPDATED: June 25, 2014
The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company that sells "important classic and contemporary films" in…