All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. 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…
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
"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…
"I'm poison, Swede, to myself and everybody around me!" ~ Kitty Collins
First published in Scribner's Magazine in 1927, Ernest Hemingway's "The Killers" soon became one of his most famous and frequently anthologized short stories. It has been widely translated, adapted for radio and television, and recorded by Stacey Keach as an audio book.
Director Robert Siodmak was the first to bring the story from print to a full-length movie. He took a film noir approach and cast an unknown 33-year-old actor named Burt Lancaster in the role of former prizefighter Ole "Swede" Anderson aka gas station attendant Peter Lunn. It goes without saying that this was Lancaster's big break, and he rode it to sky-high stardom thereafter.
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…
Crackerjack dialog, with all the awesome slang you hunger for, the 1946 version of "The Killers" is Noir gold. It's the story of an insurance guy tracking down the whys and wherefores of the murder of a nobody gas station attendant. But what unfolds is a twisted tale of back stabbing and trouble making. He 'did something wrong...Once.' And sure as the shadows are black, he's gonna pay for it. Colorful characters add plenty of spice to the mix. Great stuff.
Was a little disappointed to find that this lost a half a star since my last watch (which I think was actually in high school, oh boy am I old). I can't take anything away from the beautiful black and white cinematography from Elwood Bredell and director Robert Siodmak's mis en scene, but I would say that the protagonist being a one dimensional goodie two-shoes does hurt the film a bit. Despite getting first billing and a prominent place on the poster, Burt Lancaster isn't actually the protagonist of this story. That would be Edmond O’Brien's insurance investigator, whose name I've already forgotten, out to investigate the death of Lancaster's character.
Even as we learn more about the Swede (and…
Incredibly constructed narrative and strong performances. An amazing noir.
(Original review outdated, re-evaluation required at later date)
One of the definitive noirs, right from the sharp dialogue in the diner and the Swede's fatalistic response to his upcoming fate this is a brutal tale of a fall guy being played. Lancaster's great as the dumb, broken-down ex-boxer who stumbles punch-drunk into a criminal plot and pays the price, with Ava Gardner splendid as a mega-bitch femme fatale.
The Killers is a rock-solid noir that strictly adheres to genre conventions, complete with morally grey central hero, seductive and destructive femme-fatale, and villainous gangsters out to do harm. Siodmak's direction looks good and works effectively, the performances are great, and the screenplay contains enough twists to keep the whole thing interesting. While the end result isn't anything spectacular, it's a perfect example of why genre cliches end up being utilized over and over again; every once in a while everything clicks in such a way that you don't care that you've seen the story a million times.
An insurance investigator looks into the tangled web which lead to the death of a Swedish gas station attendant and amateur boxer. I like this film enough, but I still don't quite grasp why it's such a bona fide classic; I understand it birthed the twins of Ava Gardner and Burt Lancaster, but there's more to a film than that.
I don't think the film captures Hemingway's pessimism and nihilism very well as it's way more focused on the plot than developing the characters. It's very, very straightforward in that regard. The performances are all fine enough, but nothing and no one stands out. Gardner glides by on sex appeal and nothing more. Burt Lancaster does the best work, I…
After the gun-for-hire murder of a gas station attendant (Burt Lancaster), an insurance investigator (Edmond O'Brien) becomes determined to find out who wanted him dead. One of the all-time great film noirs, majestically directed by Robert Siodmak, with Ernest Hemingway's short story adapted to the screen by Anthony Veiller (and un-credited assist from John Huston and Richard Brooks); terrific cast includes Ava Gardner, Albert Dekker, Sam Levene, Virginia Christine and William Conrad, but the real star is cinematographer Woody Bredell, his camera gliding like silk through black and white valleys of light and shadow.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
The Killers is not a film. The Killers is a genre without the filmic binding sustance. I use this analogy a lot, but film is context and content. Context is a cup and content is the drink.
In this case, the medium of the motion picture is being used to hold not a drink but the flavouring. Just as films have genres, so do drinks. A film’s genre may be determined by any number of things. The Killers is used by the documentary Visions of Light as an example of the “film noir” genre, innovated by immigrant film-makers bringing their country’s style to Hollywood in an environment of American-bred wide-shot extravaganzas.
Cinematographer Woody Bredell shoots in wide shots to establish…
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
Combined the average ratings (Critic's & Users) from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and Letterboxd, and then weighted and tweaked the results…