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…
That's what the Swede does when he's not trying to break up Julie Taylor and Matt Saracen
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,…
Finally gotten around to watch this. You gotta love those noirs! Great opening scene!
Robert Siodmak's THE KILLERS is an intricately woven bit of film noir, less an adaptation of Hemingway's short story and more a logical continuation of story's narrative thrust. A man hiding out in a small town is murdered by a couple of thugs and those investigating the crime are puzzled by the man's quiet acceptance of his fate. The film's structure - a series of interviews and flashbacks - is reminiscent of CITIZEN KANE, and Siodmak's use of light and shadow is quintessential noir. We know we're in a world where no one is to be trusted and nothing is what it seems. It's an effective and compelling thriller, even if it does end with a half-hearted joke undercutting everything that came before.
Wow, this movie.
I love the cinematography so much--from the shot of Burt Lancaster sneaking into the halfway house and taking the money to the scene of Edmond O'Brein and Ava Gardner walking into the bar when the camera is pointed at the mirror to give a dutch angle to the shot. I love the German Expressionism-influenced lighting.
But the story and actors are masterful as well, with a really great mystery working along to show character, of O'Brein's insurance guy to Lancaster's tortured boxer, to Gardner's femme fatale--it all works so crisply. The Hemingway story ends about 10 minutes into the film (it's a very short story), but the story continues, filling in these details in Lancaster's character in…
Interesting for this kind of film in the sense that down on his luck ex-boxer Ole Anderson is embroiled in a pretty standard noir plot, but the film isn't told from his point of view. Instead, when attempting to award Anderson's beneficiary following his death at the hands of two hitmen, insurance investigator Jim Reardon slowly begins to uncover the mess he was involved in, a huge payroll heist of a company Reardon's employer had covered some six years prior. What's funny about the whole thing is how little his company seems to care about the loss (adjustments to the books were made years ago) making Reardon's efforts less about career advancement or company loyalty and presumably more about staving…
Was anyone else reminded of A History of Violence in the opening scene?
Edmond O'Brien's detective is overshadowed somewhat by Lancaster and Gardner. The first twenty minutes, which follow the compact narrative of Hemingway's original short story, is just fab.
"If there's one thing in this world I hate, it's a double-crossing dame"
Burt Lancaster starts quietly in his screen debut..Ava Gardner sizzles as the sultry femme fatale. A hard boiled noir of mini proportions.
One of the greatest opening scenes in film history. The rest of the movie is good, too.
Beer: Wells Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale - 4/5 (delicious, like candy for adults)
Burt Lancaster is rapidly moving up my all-time favorite performers list.
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
UPDATED: July 27, 2015
The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company that sells "important classic and contemporary films" in…