A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
Johnny Farrell is a gambling cheat who turns straight to work for an unsettling casino owner Ballin Mundson. But things take a turn for Johnny as his alluring ex-lover appears as Mundson's wife, and Mundson's machinations begin to unravel.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mark Helliger became convinced Lancaster was right for the role after seeing his screen test with Constance Dowling. Another independent producer, Hal B. Wallis, was so taken with the screen test Lancaster did with Lizbeth Scott, that both producers signed the former acrobat and shared his contract. See more »
In the jail house scene, Charleston (Vince Barnett) tells The Swede (Burt Lancaster) of his love for the stars. As he looks out the window, he says that he says he sees Orion and a prominent star, Betelgeuse. He says that Orion is the "Great Bear" and that Betelgeuse is the "brightest star in the sky." Orion is actually The Hunter. Ursa Major (containing the Big Dipper) is the Great Bear. Betelgeuse, while quite bright, is actually the 9th brightest star. See more »
The Killers is an expansion of a short story by Ernest Hemingway. The first ten minutes of this film is pure Hemingway with two contract gunman occupying and terrorizing a greasy spoon diner. Two of the most malevolent character actors around, Charles McGraw and William Conrad are the hit men.
They're there to kill Burt Lancaster, known to the town as just a simple garage mechanic. Because he left a small insurance policy, his death was investigated by insurance cop Edmond O'Brien. Naturally Lancaster was no simple garage mechanic by any means. O'Brien comes up with Burt's real identity and the reason why a few people wanted him dead.
The Killers was a big break film for Burt Lancaster. He had only done one previous film and that was Desert Fury for Paramount studios which had signed him. Because Universal was looking for an unknown to play the victim, Lancaster's agent was able to land him the part. And because Desert Fury was held up, The Killers became his debut film and he was a star from his first film.
This was also a milestone film for Ava Gardner as well. After The Killers, Louis B. Mayer was most reluctant to lend her out any longer due to the notice that she got.
The plot of The Killers is very similar to that of Out of the Past with Lancaster in the luckless Robert Mitchum role. As for Ava Gardner in her portrayal, she's taking a couple of pages from the Mary Astor school of double crossing, two timing dames. At least Mary had Sam Spade's promise he'd wait for her.
The Killers is a must for Burt Lancaster fans who want to see the film that launched his career.
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