7.3/10
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Born to Kill (1947)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 3 May 1947 (USA)
A calculating divorcée risks her chances at wealth and security with a man she doesn't love by getting involved with the hotheaded murderer romancing her foster sister.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Frank Johnson flees police after becoming an eyewitness to murder. He is pursued around scenic San Francisco by his wife, a reporter, the police, and... the real murderer.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Sam
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...
...
...
...
Esther Howard ...
Kathryn Card ...
Tony Barrett ...
Danny
Grandon Rhodes ...
Inspector Wilson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Conductor (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

In Reno a man kills a girl he likes and her boyfriend out of jealousy; it may not be the first time. A woman whose divorce has just come through finds the bodies but decides not to become involved. The two meet next day on the train to San Francisco unaware of this link between them. They are attracted to each other, and the relationship survives his marriage to her half-sister for money and status. It even survives the woman discovering that he was the murderer, though she may not realise how easily someone who has killed this way before can do so again. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

That "Dillinger" guy's most savage role! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

3 May 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Deadlier Than the Male  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Arnett's quote, "Where every prospect pleases and only man is vile...", is from the hymn, "From Greenland's Icy Mountains", lyrics by Reginald Heber. See more »

Goofs

They took a train from Reno Nv. to San Fransisco Ca. but the shot of the train coming at the camera head-on is a Pennsylvannia RR streamlined K4 locomotive on their 4 track mainline in Pennsylvannia. See more »

Quotes

Georgia Staples: Well, I'll tell you this much. You won't get another nickel as long as I live. And when I die, you still won't. I'll see to that first thing in the morning.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Pretty Little Liars: Stolen Kisses (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Bridal Chorus
(uncredited)
Music by Richard Wagner
Arranged by Roy Webb
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User Reviews

 
Feasible
23 January 2005 | by (NY, NY) – See all my reviews

The character of that great actor Elisha Cook, Jr., uses this word over and he over. Not too bright, he seems to be trying to better himself through ten-dollar words. His choice in friends, though -- the Laurence Tierney character, specifically -- leaves a lot to be desired.

Cook's character is quite well drawn. Tierney's is sketchy. The marriage of an heiress to him is not believable, really: She's not so plain that she'd jump at the first man to court her.

Tierney was in some good noirs but he sure was a wooden actor.

The two casting coups here were Walter Slezak as the intellectual but down-and-out detective. His wry sense of humor is entirely plausible under these circumstances and more pungent than a more stereotypical wisecracker would have been.

Katherine Howard gives a performance that is also somewhat comic, though it's very poignant. Her boozy crusader for the facts is fascinating -- thought her agreeing to meet an obviously shady character like Cook in a deserted area of an unfamiliar city seems pretty implausible.

To me, the script is a little rough on the Claire Trevor character. Trevor is superb, truly superb. And the character indeed is greedy and manipulative. But we lovers of noir have seen worse: the Audrey Totter character in "Tension," for example, who has no redeeming value whatever. Trevor is a troubled woman here and, though she may have been born to assist killers, the other characters and the plot seem to gang up on her a bit too much toward the end.

The director, Robert Wise, has always been a mystery to me. He made so many fine movies in the 1940s and early fifties. And though I still dream of an uncut "Magnificent Ambersons," it doesn't look as if we'll ever get one. Cutting out the last reels was not his idea and he did mold it into what even though butchered is one of the greatest of all American movies.

Yet in the 1960s particularly, he turned to such bloated, commercial junk -- the absolute antithesis of cynical movies like this or "The Set-Up." Of course there was more money in them, but there seems no discernible connection between the director of his noirs and that of his musicals and abominations like "Two for the Seesaw" in terms of style.


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