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,…
I've never loved it, although the opening 15/20 mins always makes me think I will.
An excellent film, Ava Gardner was stunning back in the day. Now I need to see the Lee Marvin version.
Nota = 5,5
This movie has one of the best openings in the history of cinema.
Burt Lancaster is easily one of my favorite leading men. In this movie, he makes his debut on the screen at the age of 33 and shows us right off the bat that he is a powerhouse.
I love my classic film noir.
This is the definitive adaptation of Hemingway's short story. Worth it for the legendary first scene alone. The plot structure is really interesting, with all the flashbacks and piecemeal reveals. Film noir regular Edmond O'Brien does a serviceable job, but the real star is of course Burt Lancaster. Hard to believe this was his film debut. Truly a force of nature.
Nothing beats the first twenty minutes: a translation of Hemingway's short story in brilliant Noir style by Robert Siodmak. The rest of the film is fairly prosaic as it follows Edmund O'Brian's Citizen Kane-like investigation into the Swede's backstory. A telling comparison is between the dynamite performances given by William Conrad and Charlie McGraw as The Killers in the diner, and the way they disappear for the rest of the film until they're unceremoniously (though suspensefully) dispatched at The Green Cat nightclub. In those first twenty minutes, they are the stars of the film. There are fantastic individual scenes along the way in Siodmak's trademark light and dark: in prison where the Swede and his cell mate (a sympathetic Vince…
Based on a story by Ernest Hemingway, the taught thriller The Killers starts off memorably with the titular killers showing up at a diner and informing everyone there about who they are going to kill. Then the film moves backwards and gradually fills in the details about what led to that. It's a twisty story with a great and nuanced performance by Burt Lancaster as "the Swede". This is the film that provided the template for the crime film that starts at the end and gradually reveals the details while changing how we feel about the characters and their motivations. There is also some great cinematography in the film, including a virtuoso one-shot heist. One of the great film noirs that every cinephile should see.
The intensity of that bar shoot out scene. Dang!
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…