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The Killers (1946/1964) [Criterion Collection] [Blu-ray]

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Overview

Special Features

  • Andrei Tarkovsky's Short film adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's "The Killers," made when he was a student in 1956
  • Interview from 2002 with writer Stuart M. Kaminsky about both films
  • Audio recording from 2002 of actor Stacy Keach reading Hemingway's short story
  • Screen Directors' Playhouse radio adaptation from 1949 of the 1946 film, starring Burt Lancaster And Shelly Winters
  • Interview from 2002 with actor Clu Gulager
  • Audio excerpt from director Don Siegel's autobiography, A Siegel Film, read by actor and director Hampton Fancher
  • Trailers

Synopsis

The Killers
Don Siegel directed this intensely pessimistic re-make of Robert Siodmak's 1946 film noir masterpiece The Killers, based upon a story by Ernest Hemingway. As the story opens two professional looking men in business suits -- Charlie (Lee Marvin) and Lee (Clu Gulager) -- push their way into a school for the blind and terrorize a secretary until she reveals the whereabouts of Johnny North (John Cassavetes). When Charlie and Lee trace Johnny to an automobile repair class, Johnny just stands there as the two men gun him down. Afterwards, Charlie wonders why Johnny just stood there, accepting his death. He also starts to wonder about his hefty paycheck for the murder and rumors that Johnny was involved in a million-dollar heist. He decides to pay Johnny's old friend Earl Sylvester (Claude Akins) a visit at his auto shop in Florida. Earl recalls the summer day long ago when former race car driver Johnny caught the eye of the rich and beautiful Sheila Farr (Angie Dickinson). Johnny has been preparing for a race, but Sheila's attentions sidetrack him. The day of the big race, Earl notices that Sheila is visited by a group of rich gangsters, headed by Browning (Ronald Reagan, in a very surprising performance). During the race, Johnny is involved in a terrible crash, effectively ending his racing career. However, it seems Browning is arranging a mail heist and hires Johnny to drive the getaway car. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

The Killers
The Killers uses Ernest Hemingway's short story as a springboard for a complex film noir. Two mysterious men (William Conrad and Charles McGraw) muscle their way into a small town and kill an aging boxer (Burt Lancaster, making his screen debut), who offers no resistance and seems to be welcoming his death. An insurance investigator (Edmond O'Brien) is hired to locate the beneficiary to Lancaster's policy, and in the course of his investigation reopens a long-dormant robbery case. In a series of flashbacks, O'Brien makes the connection between Lancaster and the robbery and tracks down the "brains" behind the operation. He also comes in contact with Lancaster's former girlfriend (Ava Gardner), whose duplicity played a big part in Lancaster's demise -- and his indifferent reaction to it. Siodmak's hard-edged, moody direction of the Oscar-nominated screenplay by Anthony Veiller, makes The Killers one of the definitive films noirs, including what is considered to be one of the greatest opening sequences in movie history. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Lee Marvin
    Lee Marvin - Charlie
  • Angie Dickinson
    Angie Dickinson - Sheila Farr
  • John Cassavetes
    John Cassavetes - Johnny North
  • Ronald Reagan
    Ronald Reagan - Browning
  • Clu Gulager
    Clu Gulager - Lee
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