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The Killing (1956)

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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 50,918 users  
Reviews: 330 user | 105 critic

Crooks plan and execute a daring race-track robbery.

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(screenplay), (dialogue), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Killing (1956)

The Killing (1956) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Top 250 #245 | Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Fay
...
...
...
Policeman Randy Kennan (as Ted DeCorsia)
...
...
George Peatty (as Elisha Cook)
Joe Sawyer ...
James Edwards ...
Track Parking Attendant
...
Kola Kwariani ...
Jay Adler ...
Leo the Loanshark
Tito Vuolo ...
Joe Piano
...
Mrs. Ruthie O'Reilly
Herbert Ellis ...
2nd American Airlines Clerk
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Storyline

After getting out of prison, Johnny Clay masterminds a complex race-track heist, but his scheme is complicated by the intervention of the wife of a teller (George Peatty) in on the scheme, the boyfriend of the wife, airport regulations, and a small dog. Written by Andrew Hyatt <dres@uiuc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

airport | robbery | racetrack | dog | suitcase | See more »

Taglines:

These 5 Men Had a $2,000,000 Secret Until One of them told this Woman! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 June 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bed of Fear  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$320,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the first film on which Stanley Kubrick worked with a cinematographer. Lucien Ballard was hired because Kubrick was officially working on a film union production for the first time which prevented him from using himself as the cinematographer, as he had done in the past. The two often did not agree on camera and lighting matters. See more »

Goofs

When Peatty fixes his wive a drink, you can briefly see the studio above where the ceiling of the set ends. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: At exactly 3:45 on that Saturday afternoon in the last week of September, Marvin Unger was, perhaps, the only one among the hundred thousand people at the track who felt no thrill at the running of the fifth race. He was totally disinterested in horse racing and held a lifelong contempt for gambling. Nevertheless, he had a $5 win bet on every horse in the fifth race. He knew, of course, that this rather unique system of betting would more than likely result in a loss, but he didn't...
See more »

Connections

Featured in It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books (1988) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A crime classic, and a monument for actor Elisha Cook, Jr.
9 July 2001 | by (Oberhausen, Germany) – See all my reviews

The story of a meticulously-planned race track hold-up is a stunner in every minute you watch it, and the film's progressive use of a partly documentary style has often been acclaimed as uniquely supporting the dramatic goings-on. It definitely put a modern touch to the somewhat out-of-fashion film noir in 1956, but still greatly relied on its basic rules.

A fine new note was the neat distinction between the gang's members' motives, ranging from repaying underworld debts (De Corsia) and hope of offering a better life for his ill wife (Sawyer) to the vain ambition of pleasing his vamp wife by doing something special (Cook).

Despite the film's qualities, Kubrick's treatment of the women's rôles seems more than old-fashioned today. Women here are either the homely and sweet type (Coleen Gray) or the Bette-Davis-eyed and cherchez-la-femme type (Marie Windsor). Both are accordingly taller or smaller than their respective partners by a head.

I should like to mention one of my favourite pans: that's when the bald philosopher-catcher walks up to Joe Sawyer's bar. Lucien Ballard's camera follows him all across the crowded tote hall, a take which must have been very difficult to organize and shoot. Later, the scene is repeated with Sterling Hayden.

This motion picture is also a monument for the great histrionic art of Elisha Cook, Jr., in a stand-out performance as the born loser. (German dubbing gives him the apt voice of Stan Laurel's speaker Walter Bluhm.) This little man never just did his job in unnumerable supporting rôles but has rendered effective homage to the tragic figure on the silver screen more than any other (non-comical) character actor I can think of. Regardless of his versatility in lots of different films, his impersonations of a likeable man who is doomed to fail make him unforgettable: take his lethal parts in "Phantom Lady" (1944), "Shane" (1953) or the likes, the audience's sympathy was always with this fine actor.


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