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The Killers (1946)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 30 August 1946 (USA)
Hit men kill an unresisting victim, and investigator Reardon uncovers his past involvement with beautiful, deadly Kitty Collins.

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 3 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Lilly Harmon Lubinsky
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Charles D. Brown ...
Packy Robinson - Ole's Manager
Donald MacBride ...
...
Al
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Max
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Storyline

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. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Every kiss carved his name on another bullet See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

30 August 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ernest Hemingway's The Killers  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Burt Lancaster received first billing in his first film. See more »

Goofs

In police car on the way to climactic final scene, Jack (Edmund O'Brien) tells officer driving car to turn off the siren. The officer's hands never leave the wheel yet the siren magically turns off. See more »

Quotes

Al: You got anything to drink?
George: I can give you soda, beer, ginger ale...
Al: I said, 'You got anything to drink?'
George: [intimidated] No.
Al: This is a hot town. Whatta ya call it?
George: Brentwood.
Al: Did you ever hear of Brentwood?
Max: [Max shakes his head, no]
Al: Whatta ya do here nights?
Max: [sarcastically] They eat the dinner. They all come here and eat the big dinner.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Castle: Slice of Death (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

With Plenty of Money and You
(1936) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played on piano in Lou Tingle's cafe
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Siodmak, Lancaster's first pairing is one of noir's central masterpieces
4 January 2002 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

The Killers marked Burt Lancaster's screen debut, establishing the stoic persona that would sustain his long and luminous career. Along with Criss Cross (also starring Lancaster), The Killers also records the high-water mark of Robert Siodmak's work in film noir.

Starting with a Hemingway short story (the retelling of which constitutes only the prologue to the film), The Killers endeavors to fill in the "back story" which Hemingway left to his readers' imaginations. That back story explains why the "Swede" (Lancaster) passively, almost eagerly, awaits the nasty pair of torpedoes (William Conrad, Charles McGraw) who have come to hunt him down. The germ of this recreation is Lancaster's small, solitary bequest -- to a chambermaid in an Atlantic City hotel where he had once stayed. Insurance investigator Edmond O'Brien catches the scent of something unusual and can't let it go. His investigations, helped by an old buddy of Lancaster's who is now a police lieutenant (Sam Levene), uncover a botched stint as a prizefighter; a smouldering yet duplicitous temptress (Ava Gardner), and a payroll heist that ended in an elaborate double cross.

Siodmak, having disposed of the end right at the outset, takes a circuitous route through his telling by using a fragmented series of flashbacks. Paradoxically -- much as the false starts and averted climaxes in a Bruckner symphony pay off handsomely in the end -- the story thus gains depth and momentum. Woody Bredell's dark and meticulous cinematography fulfills Siodmak's vision, resulting in one of the central masterpieces of the noir cycle.


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