7.8/10
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115 user 92 critic

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
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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:

She's a match for any mobster! 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

The film was an early viewing obsession of Howard Hughes before he latched on to Ice Station Zebra (1968). later in life. He was known to have watched it several times a day. 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

Big Jim Colfax: [to Dum Dum] You can leave anytime you want, friend.
'Blinky' Franklin: [acting as peacemaker] Come on! Easy does it, fellas! Easy does it!
'Dum-Dum' Clarke: I don't like to be asked to come up here and then told I can go. Who do you think you're pushin' around?
Big Jim Colfax: A minute ago we were talkin' about reputations. Well, you've got quite a reputation yourself - you're supposed to be a troublemaker.
Big Jim Colfax: [deliberately taking the cigarette out of his mouth] Okay. Make some.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in John Huston: The Man, the Movies, the Maverick (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
An uneven expansion of a Hemingway story
30 March 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film seems to get a lot of love, and to extent, it deserves the acclaim. The first 20 minutes of the film is an adaptation of a famous short story of Hemingway. The film starts with two killers taking over a diner, waiting for a local known as "Swede" (played by Burt Lancaster in a breakthrough role) that they've come to kill. When Swede doesn't show, they leave, and Hemingway's ubiquitous protagonist, Nick Adams, races to the Swede's apartment to warn him.

For the first 20 minutes, the writing is excellent, the dialogue terse, and the viewer is left with a grim view of the coldness of life, which provides moments of sudden danger and incomprehensible actions.

And then Hollywood makes its contribution. Around the gem of a short story, the film makers added a backstory explaining the Swede's actions (or lack thereof) including crime, a femme fatale (played by the gorgeous Ava Gardner), a robbery, and a conflict about stolen money. The larger film is far less interesting. Unfortunately, the film spends most of its time following the actions of an insurance investigator played by Edmond O'Brien, who just cannot command the screen as well as Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner can. Perhaps if Lancaster and Garnder had been given more prominent rules and O'Brien had been marginalized, the relative triteness of the larger screenplay could have been overlooked.

I give this film a 6. The first 20 minutes are epic, but the rest isn't.


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