All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. 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.
Film #27 of Project 40
”Don't ask a dying man to lie his soul into Hell.”
Most noirs center around a mystery and it is the attempts of main characters to find the truth – or sometimes to desperately hide it – that defines the actions and reactions which will ultimately rearrange the film’s universe and rewrite the relationships between various individuals involved in the plot. Robert Siodmak’s The Killers - which is based on a short story by Ernest Hemingway – follows the same rule but here there is one big difference that makes this quite unique among other noirs of 40s. The film uses multiple flashbacks and by gathering little pieces of information/truth from various people it follows…
"If there's one thing in this world I hate, it's a double-crossing dame."
When two crooked looking men walk into a small town diner it spells only one thing, trouble. They are looking for "The Swede", Ole Andreson (Burt Lancaster) and aim to put him out of his misery. As film noir tends to look at the darker aspects of life it maybe no surprise that the man who leads the picture is killed right at the beginning, the two killers finding him not long after they depart the diner. It is a fine example of why film noir was so brilliant that it could give us the not so happy ending right at the beginning. It proves the movement…
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…
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…
That's what the Swede does when he's not trying to break up Julie Taylor and Matt Saracen
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,…
Es una maravilla, el mejor cine negro que se puede encontrar. La música, la iluminación, el plano, todo, todo encaja.
If DETOUR has the signature femme fatale, OUT OF THE PAST typifies noir’s expressionistic visual style and DOUBLE INDEMNITY has the most hardboard dialogue, THE KILLERS is perhaps the best use of a complex, ingeniously plotted flashback structure that all fits and unlike a lot of classic noir, does't make a point of not tying up loose ends and purposely leading you down rabbit holes.
It's because of this structure that the titular characters aren't the leads in their own story, that's passed like a torch between a relay of memorable supporting characters. This strategy works in the favour of the film, making you long for scenes between Lancaster and Ava whose amorous mentality is directly connected to their criminal activity, their dangerous love pushing them into the margins and forcing them to act covertly. A love that festers in the shadows so fiercely as to be flammable, and the co-stars' chemistry certainly burns up the screen.
A terrifically tense opening scene, a very well executed heist midway through, and some genuinely brilliant shots such as the remarkable four-person line-up whilst Ava Gardner sings her song when she first meets Burt Lancaster. So it certainly has its strengths.
But - I found it pretty difficult to follow toward the end, I didn't feel nearly as involved in the fates of the characters as I'd have liked, and whilst Gardner is great she isn't in it nearly enough for my liking.
So a bit of a mixed bag for me, albeit one which I think probably had a lot going on in it and might just flower on repeat viewings.
That's two adaptations where the Tarkovsky is the lesser movie, maybe there can be a better Stalker?
I prefer the classic Lee Marvin version. But, Holy smokes, Ava Gardner is a complete fox in this.
Here's another terrific film noir. This one starts brilliantly when two contract killers stride into a fog-drenched small town in New Jersey. They kidnap the staff and patrons at a local diner and then, after plying their captives for information, proceed to the home of a local gas station attendant, Ole "The Swede" Andersen (Burt Lancaster in one of his first major roles), where they gun him down in cold blood. So if the victim and the murderers are known from the beginning, where's the suspense you may ask? Well, in this case, it is in figuring out who hired these killers and why.
Life insurance investigator Jim Reardon (Edmond O'Brien) takes on the case, looking into the Swede's past…
Second viewing. I didn't remember the first (late night watch in 2007). One of those brilliant noirs but kept getting distracted during my re-watch and gotta re-revisit it soon. Criterion Blu out this summer backed with Siegel's "remake" which I like a lot.
[English/ Spanish review]
The Killers is one of those masterful noirs where its cards are shuffled for a different game. There are no conventional heroes, nor one-piece villains; the story structure is quite non-liniar; treason, but also truth is chased by money’s sake, not for justice itself; the movie title refers to some secondary characters who couldn’t care less about motivations. And above all, The killers is a movie about a loser in the saddest meaning of the term. In this case, the word “Influential" would be an underestimation.
The Killers es uno de esas obras maestras del cine negro en el que las cartas se mezclan para un juego distinto. No hay héroes convencionales, tampoco villanos de una pieza;…
16 April 2015 ★★★☆☆
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
UPDATED: May 18, 2015
The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company that sells "important classic and contemporary films" in…