5 items from 2014
★★★★☆Don Siegel was one of the key directors in the undervalued period of American cinema that took place just before the New Hollywood palette cleanser. His 1964 effort The Killers is pure pulp bliss; a testosterone-driven comic book noir that simmers with violent intent. It's the second Hollywood adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway short story and, while Robert Siodmark's 1946 version is more faithful to the source material, Siegel's rendition is arguably more interesting for exposing the surprising proximity between Hemingway's unadorned minimalism and the hard-boiled rat-a-tat of a cheap novel.
- CineVue UK
To mark the release of The Killers on 24th Feruary, we’ve been given 3 copies to give away on Blu-ray.
There is more than one way to kill a man…
“I gotta find out what makes a man decide not to run. Why all of a sudden he’d rather die.”
So muses hitman Charlie (Lee Marvin) after his high-priced victim Johnny North (John Cassavetes) gives in without a fight. Obsessed with the answer, Charlie and his hot-headed associate Lee (Clu Gulager) track down Johnny’s associates, and uncover a complex web of crime and deceit involving his femme fatale girlfriend Sheila (Angie Dickinson) and ruthless mob boss Jack Browning (Ronald Reagan in his last screen role).
Loosely inspired by the Ernest Hemingway story, and directed by Don Siegel (whose many other taut, efficient thrillers include Dirty Harry and the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers), The Killers was commissioned »
(Don Siegel, 1964; Arrow Academy, 18)
Hemingway's 1927 story The Killers is set one evening in a Chicago diner where two hitmen arrive to kill a washed-up boxer, Ole Andreson, who dines there regularly. This night he doesn't show, but when informed of their visit reveals neither surprise nor any intention of running. It's a lean, ironic, funny tale of fate, confronting death and grace under pressure that inspired Edward Hopper's painting Nighthawks and was turned into a classic 1946 film noir that made a star of Burt Lancaster. John Huston co-wrote a screenplay in which an insurance investigator discovers why Andresen decided to die rather than flee.
Don Siegel's remake, the first film planned as a full-length TV movie, turned the doomed victim into racing driver Johnny North (John Cassavetes), kept the basic plot of a heist gone wrong, but looked at the story from the viewpoint of ageing hitman Charlie Strom »
- Philip French
Director: Don Siegel. Review: Adam Wing. Commissioned as the very first 'TV movie', Don Siegel's compelling thriller would be forgiven for being utterly forgettable. As it turns out, The Killers is a bit of a gem, complimented by great casting, strong performances and sparkling dialogue. "I gotta find out what makes a man decide not to run. Why all of a sudden he'd rather die." And so it begins. Hitman Charlie (Lee Marvin) can't quite work out why his high-priced victim, Johnny North (John Cassavetes), gives up without a fight. Obsessed with the answer, Charlie and his hot-headed partner, Lee (Clu Gulager), track down Johnny's associates, including Ronald Reagan in his last screen role, uncovering a complex web of crime and deceit along the way. The Killers is loosely inspired by the Ernest Hemingway story of the same name. It's the second Hollywood adaptation, first brought to life in »
Director: Don Siegel
Running Time: 93 minutes
Loosely inspired by the Ernest Hemingway story, when their high-priced victim Johnny North (John Cassavetes) gives in without a fight, two hitmen (Marvin and Gulager) become obsessed in finding the answer as to why. The duo track down Johnny’s former associates, only to discover a complex web of crime and deceit involving his femme fatale girlfriend Sheila (Angie Dickinson) and ruthless mob boss Jack Browning (Ronald Reagan in his last screen role).
“I bet you’re a big Lee Marvin fan aren’t ya”, so muses Michael Madsen’s Mr. Blonde to Harvey Keitel’s Mr. White in a terrific tense scene in Quentin Tarantino’s crime classic Reservoir Dogs. Like the gangster double act and the now iconic filmmaker, I’m also very much a fan of »
- Craig Hunter
5 items from 2014
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