8.0/10
66,152
363 user 149 critic

The Killing (1956)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 6 June 1956 (USA)
Crooks plan and execute a daring race-track robbery.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (dialogue) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
4,868 ( 239)

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From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Fay
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Policeman Randy Kennan (as Ted DeCorsia)
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George Peatty (as Elisha Cook)
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Mike O'Reilly
James Edwards ...
Track Parking Attendant
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Nikki Arcane
Kola Kwariani ...
Jay Adler ...
Leo the Loanshark
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Joe Piano
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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

Taglines:

...Like No Other Picture Since "Scarface" and "Little Caesar"! 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:

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Box Office

Budget:

$320,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the horses in the race in which all of the characters are called to a meeting is called "Stanley K", named for director Stanley Kubrick. See more »

Goofs

When Sherry is removing her makeup in their room, George is moving toward her. When he hits his mark, announcing that he is dropping out, the shadow of a crew member's head is clearly seen on his shirt and then fade on the right side. 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...
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Connections

Referenced in Nel cuore della notte (2002) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Hitchcock like in style...
4 November 2006 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

Kubrick directed 15 odd movies in half a century (let's exclude Spartacus). His skills as an auteur may not have been recognized till Strangelove but they were on display in films like Lolita, Paths of Glory and of course The Killing, his first certified classic.

The Killing is about an intricate race-track heist involving a group of non-professionals with clean records. The mastermind, Sterling Hayden, has however spent some time in prison. The unique thing for the time is the non-linear structure of the film - particularly the heist sequence. This was probably Hayden's finest role - yes, better than Jack D. Ripper of Strangelove or Altman's The Long Goodbye - as the doomed hero, Johnny Clay. He is very tall and physical and quite brilliant in this role. He is well-supported by an old favorite of mine from The Maltese Falcon, Elisha Cook Jr. whose venomous wife, Marie Windsor plays a femme fatale of sorts. There is also the cult favorite Timothy Carey as the person assigned to shoot Red Lightning. Reservoir Dogs, a cult film inspired by The Killing is dedicated to Carey.

While The Killing is certainly noirish, it does not have the pure noir look - well, pretty much most of it is filmed in the daytime. In fact, if Kubrick was inspired, it would have been more by Hitchcock's tight pacing than by Chandler or Cain's hard-boiled dialog. The camera-work and editing are brilliant - for me even better than later Kubrick classics. Kubrick was forced to add a voice-over by the studio - something he really wasn't inclined towards. His ingenious solution was to have the VO not directly comment on the movie, but to add another layer to the films structure. It works! This film is not dated, although the Marie Windsor character is a bit one-dimensional and what is visible in the short length of the movie is the tight pacing.


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