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The Killing
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The Killing (1956) More at IMDbPro »

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The Killing -- With fascinating detail, Stanley Kubrick lays bare the intricate inner-planning of a racetrack heist by a deadly mastermind (Sterling Hayden) and his crew.  Co-stars Coleen Gray.  The Killing is based on the novel Clean Break by Lionel White.
The Killing -- Trailer for The Killing

Overview

User Rating:
8.1/10   55,924 votes »
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Up 5% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Stanley Kubrick (screenplay)
Jim Thompson (dialogue)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Killing on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
6 June 1956 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
These 5 Men Had a $2,000,000 Secret Until One of them told this Woman! See more »
Plot:
Crooks plan and execute a daring race-track robbery. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for BAFTA Film Award. See more »
User Reviews:
A crime classic, and a monument for actor Elisha Cook, Jr. See more (352 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Sterling Hayden ... Johnny Clay

Coleen Gray ... Fay

Vince Edwards ... Val Cannon

Jay C. Flippen ... Marvin Unger

Ted de Corsia ... Policeman Randy Kennan (as Ted DeCorsia)

Marie Windsor ... Sherry Peatty

Elisha Cook Jr. ... George Peatty (as Elisha Cook)
Joe Sawyer ... Mike O'Reilly
James Edwards ... Track Parking Attendant

Timothy Carey ... Nikki Arcane
Kola Kwariani ... Maurice Oboukhoff
Jay Adler ... Leo the Loanshark
Tito Vuolo ... Joe Piano

Dorothy Adams ... Mrs. Ruthie O'Reilly
Herbert Ellis ... 2nd American Airlines Clerk

James Griffith ... Mr. Grimes - Airline Supervisor
Cecil Elliott ... Lady with Small Dog

Joe Turkel ... Tiny (as Joseph Turkel)
Steve Mitchell ... Brown - American Airlines Clerk
Mary Carroll ... Woman Asking Kennan for Help
William 'Billy' Benedict ... American Airlines Clerk (as William Benedict)
Charles Cane ... Plainclothesman at Airport (as Charles R. Cane)
Robert Williams ... Plainclothesman at Airport (as Robert B. Williams)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tom Coleman ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)

Rodney Dangerfield ... Onlooker (uncredited)
Franklyn Farnum ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
John George ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
Art Gilmore ... Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
Sol Gorss ... Track Guard Slugged by Johnny (uncredited)
Harry Hines ... Chess Player (uncredited)
Kenner G. Kemp ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
Carl M. Leviness ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
Hal J. Moore ... Race Track P.A. Announcer (uncredited)
Harvey Parry ... Bartender (uncredited)
Richard Reeves ... Bill - Track Employee in Locker Room (uncredited)
Frank Richards ... Track Employee in Locker Room (uncredited)
Arthur Tovey ... Racetrack Cashier (uncredited)

Directed by
Stanley Kubrick 
 
Writing credits
Stanley Kubrick (screenplay)

Jim Thompson (dialogue)

Lionel White (novel "Clean Break")

Produced by
James B. Harris .... producer
Alexander Singer .... associate producer
 
Original Music by
Gerald Fried 
 
Cinematography by
Lucien Ballard (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Betty Steinberg 
 
Art Direction by
Ruth Sobotka 
 
Set Decoration by
Harry Reif 
 
Makeup Department
Robert Littlefield .... makeup artist
Lillian Shore .... hairdresser
 
Production Management
Clarence Eurist .... production supervisor (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Milton Carter .... assistant director
Paul Feiner .... second assistant director
Howard Joslin .... second assistant director
 
Art Department
Karl Brainard .... assistant set decorator (as Carl Brainard)
Christopher Ebsen .... chief carpenter
Bud Pine .... construction supervisor
Robert L. Stephen .... chief painter
Ray Zambel .... property master
 
Sound Department
Rex Lipton .... sound effects editor
Earl Snyder .... sound
 
Special Effects by
Dave Koehler .... special effects
 
Visual Effects by
Louis DeWitt .... photographic effects
Jack Rabin .... photographic effects
 
Stunts
Fred Gabourie .... stunts (unconfirmed)
Sol Gorss .... stunts (unconfirmed)
Gil Perkins .... stunts (unconfirmed)
Wally Rose .... stunts (unconfirmed)
Eddie Saenz .... stunts (unconfirmed)
Don Turner .... stunts (unconfirmed)
Bob Morgan .... stunts (uncredited)
Harvey Parry .... stunts (uncredited) (unconfirmed)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Lou Cortese .... best boy
Paul Eagler .... process camera operator
Carl Gibson .... head grip
Robert Hosler .... second assistant camera
Bobby Jones .... gaffer
Richard Towers .... camera operator (as Dick Tower)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Beaumelle .... costumes: Miss Windsor
Rudy Harrington .... wardrobe: women
Jack Masters .... wardrobe
Joan Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Gerald Fried .... conductor
Gilbert D. Marchant .... music editor (as Gilbert Marchant)
 
Transportation Department
Dave Lesser .... transportation
 
Other crew
Mary Gibsone .... script supervisor
Joyce Hartman .... assistant to director
Marguerite Olson .... production assistant
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
85 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Brazil:12 | Canada:PG (Manitoba/Ontario) | Canada:G (Quebec) | Canada:14A (video rating) | Finland:K-15 (2003) (uncut) | Finland:K-16 (1959) (cut) | Finland:(Banned) (1956) (uncut) | Iceland:L | Ireland:12 | Italy:16+ | Netherlands:18 (original rating) (1956) | Norway:16 | Portugal:M/12 | South Korea:15 | Spain:T | Sweden:15 | UK:PG | USA:Not Rated | USA:Approved (PCA #17836) (original rating) | West Germany:12 | West Germany:18 (nf) (original rating)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The location where John Clay (Sterling Hayden) proposes the deal to Maurice Oboukhoff (Kola Kwariani) is a mock-up of the 42nd Street Chess and Checker Parlor in New York City. Director Stanley Kubrick was a regular chess player there, as was Kola.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: When Johnny first arrives at the apartment, we see the car door open through the rear window - the scene cuts to a shot from the rear driver side of the car and we see the car door open again.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...
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in The 71st Annual Academy Awards (1999) (TV)See more »

FAQ

Is "The Killing" based on a novel?
Any recommendations for other horse track heist films like "The Killing"?
How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
See more »
42 out of 63 people found the following review useful.
A crime classic, and a monument for actor Elisha Cook, Jr., 9 July 2001
Author: Frank Olthoff from Oberhausen, Germany

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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