Edit
The Killers (1946) Poster

(1946)

Trivia

Jump to: Spoilers (1)
Burt Lancaster received first billing in his first film.
Author of the original short story Ernest Hemingway liked the film. Prior to its release, producer Mark Hellinger sent publicity man Al Horwits to Sun Valley, Idaho, to give Hemingway a private screening. Hemingway had a pint of gin in one pocket of his overcoat and a pint of water in the other so that he could sip from them if the film got bad. After the screening, Hemingway held up the full bottles, grinned and said "Didn't need 'em".
This was Burt Lancaster's first movie role. He was the third choice for the part of The Swede, and was signed only after actors Wayne Morris and Sonny Tufts proved unavailable. Lancaster was an ex-circus acrobat from Union City, New Jersey. When producer Mark Hellinger saw the first rushes of Lancaster's performance in a private screening room, he was so pleased that he yelled "So help me, may all my actors be acrobats!"
The boxing match in the third flashback was filmed in a boxing arena for an audience of 2000 spectators. Burt Lancaster trained for two months with a boxing champion and played the part of the Swede with realism, against a real boxer, until his 2nd KD and TKO.
Burt Lancaster was nearly 33 when he made his movie debut in this film.
The musical theme by Miklós Rózsa, heard whenever the killers appear, was later used in expanded form as the theme music for the TV series Dragnet (1951) and its revival Dragnet 1967 (1967).
Character actress Virginia Christine also appeared in the 1964 remake, The Killers (1964), in a different role as a blind secretary.
Former Warner Bros. producer Mark Hellinger, who had started his own independent production unit at Universal-International, initially wanted either Wayne Morris or Sonny Tufts to star in this, his first picture. Tufts was ultimately considered to be too inexperienced, and Warner Bros. wouldn't loan Morris, so Hellinger cast the unknown Burt Lancaster in his first movie. It made Lancaster a star.
After leaving Warner Brothers for Universal with The Killers (1946), producer Mark Hellinger initially wanted to borrow Warner director Don Siegel, but the loanout fee proved prohibitively high for a director of his limited reputation at that time, so Hellinger used Universal's Robert Siodmak. Ironically, almost 20 years later Siegel did go on to direct the remake, The Killers (1964).
9 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Producer Mark Hellinger purchased the rights to Ernest Hemingway's short story for $36,700, although publicity releases announced the figure at $50,000.
9 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
None of the facts given in the astronomy lesson in the prison cell are accurate. The constellation of the Great Bear (Ursa Major) is nowhere near Orion, while the star Betelgeuse is improperly identified as the brightest star in the sky. However, Sirius, which is the brightest star in the sky, is close to Orion.
The film opened in New York at the Winter Garden Theatre on August 28, 1946. The first day, $10,341 was taken in at the box office, beating a previous house record by $3,000.
In-joke: In the scene towards the end of the film where Edmond O'Brien arranges to meet Ava Gardner outside a nightclub, O'Brien stands on the street in front of the club, waiting for Gardner to drive up. On the wall behind him is a poster, beginning with "Sir Arthur Hilton presents..." Arthur Hilton, an Englishman, was the film's editor.
Mark Hellinger became convinced Burt Lancaster was right for the role of Anderson after seeing his screen test with Constance Dowling. Another independent producer, Hal B. Wallis, was so taken with the screen test Lancaster did with Lizabeth Scott that both producers signed the former acrobat and shared his contract.
Although the fictional Nick Adams only has a small role in the film's opening, the character is a roman à clef for author Ernest Hemingway, and is a prominent character in many of his stories.
8 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
"The Hedda Hopper Show - This Is Hollywood" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on April 19, 1947 with Edmond O'Brien and Burt Lancaster reprising their film roles.
7 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The writer of Se7en (1995), Andrew Kevin Walker, wrote a screenplay for a new adaptation of this film, but it has not yet been developed further.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The film debut of Burt Lancaster.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The sequence of opening chords of Miklós Rózsa's theme music was later reused for the Dragnet television series.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Allegedly, the Las Vegas band The Killers named themselves after this film.
8 of 11 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
According to Ernest Hemingway's biographer Carlos Baker, this film "was the first film from any of his works that Ernest could genuinely admire."
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
While Mark Hellinger considered many actors for the role of Anderson, Ava Gardner was his only choice to play Kitty Collins.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The film's appeal derives from breaking the traditional narrative structure by using a number of flashbacks, similar to Double Indemnity (1944) and Mildred Pierce (1945).
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Although the name of the character played by Burt Lancaster is pronounced "Anderson", it is properly spelled (as in Ernest Hemingway's original story) as "Andreson".
6 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
6 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
"Screen Directors' Playhouse" did a radio adaptation of the story in 1949 with Burt Lancaster reprising his role as Swede. It was introduced by director Robert Siodmak and featured Shelley Winters as Kitty.
5 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Burt Lancaster was not the first choice to play Anderson, but Warner Bros. refused to lend Wayne Morris for the film. Other actors considered for the role included Van Heflin, Jon Hall, Sonny Tufts and Edmond O'Brien, who was eventually instead cast as the insurance investigator.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
There are a few cat references to Kitty's name in the movie, such as the bar called "The green cat" and Kitty ordering a glass of milk.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
In 1956, director Andrei Tarkovsky, then a film student, created a 19-minute short based on the story, entitled The Killers (1956). It is featured on the Criterion Collection DVD release of this film.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The film is used as an example of film noir cinematography in the documentary Visions of Light (1992).
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
In the "Film-Noir" DVD Collection is a old Radio adaptation of this Film
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Producer Mark Hellinger paid $36,750 for the screen rights to Ernest Hemingway's story, his first independent production. The screenplay was written by Richard Brooks and John Huston, the latter of whom went uncredited due to his contract with Warner Bros.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The film was an early viewing obsession of Howard Hughes before he latched on to "Ice Station Zebra" later in life. He was known to have watched it several times a day.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

The first 20 minutes of the film, showing the arrival of the two contract killers, and the murder of "Swede" Andreson, is a close adaptation of Hemingway's short story. The rest of the film, showing Reardon's investigation of the murder, is wholly original.
8 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

Contribute to This Page