A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
William Conrad received his first screen credit. See more »
In police car on the way to climactic final scene, Jack (Edmund O'Brien) tells officer driving car to turn off the siren. The officer's hands never leave the wheel yet the siren magically turns off. See more »
The Killers is an expansion of a short story by Ernest Hemingway. The first ten minutes of this film is pure Hemingway with two contract gunman occupying and terrorizing a greasy spoon diner. Two of the most malevolent character actors around, Charles McGraw and William Conrad are the hit men.
They're there to kill Burt Lancaster, known to the town as just a simple garage mechanic. Because he left a small insurance policy, his death was investigated by insurance cop Edmond O'Brien. Naturally Lancaster was no simple garage mechanic by any means. O'Brien comes up with Burt's real identity and the reason why a few people wanted him dead.
The Killers was a big break film for Burt Lancaster. He had only done one previous film and that was Desert Fury for Paramount studios which had signed him. Because Universal was looking for an unknown to play the victim, Lancaster's agent was able to land him the part. And because Desert Fury was held up, The Killers became his debut film and he was a star from his first film.
This was also a milestone film for Ava Gardner as well. After The Killers, Louis B. Mayer was most reluctant to lend her out any longer due to the notice that she got.
The plot of The Killers is very similar to that of Out of the Past with Lancaster in the luckless Robert Mitchum role. As for Ava Gardner in her portrayal, she's taking a couple of pages from the Mary Astor school of double crossing, two timing dames. At least Mary had Sam Spade's promise he'd wait for her.
The Killers is a must for Burt Lancaster fans who want to see the film that launched his career.
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