7.8/10
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The Killers (1946)

Hit men kill an unresisting victim, and investigator Reardon uncovers his past involvement with beautiful, deadly Kitty Collins.

Director:

Robert Siodmak

Writers:

Anthony Veiller (screenplay), Ernest Hemingway (from the story by)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Burt Lancaster ... Ole 'Swede' Anderson
Ava Gardner ... Kitty Collins
Edmond O'Brien ... Jim Reardon
Albert Dekker ... Big Jim Colfax
Sam Levene ... Police Lt. Sam Lubinsky
Vince Barnett ... Charleston
Virginia Christine ... Lilly Harmon Lubinsky
Jack Lambert ... 'Dum-Dum' Clarke
Charles D. Brown Charles D. Brown ... Packy Robinson - Ole's Manager
Donald MacBride ... R.S. Kenyon
Charles McGraw ... Al
William Conrad ... Max
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Storyline

Two professional killers invade a small town and kill a gas station attendant, "the Swede," who's expecting them. Insurance investigator Reardon pursues the case against the orders of his boss, who considers it trivial. Weaving together threads of the Swede's life, Reardon uncovers a complex tale of treachery and crime, all linked with gorgeous, mysterious Kitty Collins. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

BOLD -- because it's told the untamed HEMINGWAY WAY! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 August 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ernest Hemingway's The Killers See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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. See more »

Goofs

When Reardon enters the insurance company's home office, he passes by and open glass door with the company's name on it (as seen from the inside of the office). When closed, the name would be facing the inside and not towards the outside of the office. See more »

Quotes

George: What'll it be, gentlemen?
Max: I don't know. Whatta you want to eat, Al?
Al: I don't know what I want to eat.
Max: I'll have the roast pork tenderloin with apple sauce and mashed potatoes.
George: That's not ready yet.
Max: Then what's it on the card for?
George: Well, that's on the dinner. You can have that at six o'clock. That clock is ten minutes fast. The dinner isn't ready yet.
Max: Never mind the clock. What have you got to eat?
George: Well, I can give you any kind of sandwiches: bacon and eggs, liver and bacon, ham and eggs, steak...
Al:
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in American Grindhouse (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

With Plenty of Money and You
(1936) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played on piano in Lou Tingle's cafe
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Siodmak, Lancaster's first pairing is one of noir's central masterpieces
4 January 2002 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

The Killers marked Burt Lancaster's screen debut, establishing the stoic persona that would sustain his long and luminous career. Along with Criss Cross (also starring Lancaster), The Killers also records the high-water mark of Robert Siodmak's work in film noir.

Starting with a Hemingway short story (the retelling of which constitutes only the prologue to the film), The Killers endeavors to fill in the "back story" which Hemingway left to his readers' imaginations. That back story explains why the "Swede" (Lancaster) passively, almost eagerly, awaits the nasty pair of torpedoes (William Conrad, Charles McGraw) who have come to hunt him down. The germ of this recreation is Lancaster's small, solitary bequest -- to a chambermaid in an Atlantic City hotel where he had once stayed. Insurance investigator Edmond O'Brien catches the scent of something unusual and can't let it go. His investigations, helped by an old buddy of Lancaster's who is now a police lieutenant (Sam Levene), uncover a botched stint as a prizefighter; a smouldering yet duplicitous temptress (Ava Gardner), and a payroll heist that ended in an elaborate double cross.

Siodmak, having disposed of the end right at the outset, takes a circuitous route through his telling by using a fragmented series of flashbacks. Paradoxically -- much as the false starts and averted climaxes in a Bruckner symphony pay off handsomely in the end -- the story thus gains depth and momentum. Woody Bredell's dark and meticulous cinematography fulfills Siodmak's vision, resulting in one of the central masterpieces of the noir cycle.


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