The Killers (1946) - Plot Summary Poster



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

  • 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.

  • The Swede (Burt Lancaster), is an ex-prize fighter who, after he's gotten mixed up with mobsters and a double-crossing dame (Ava Gardner), waits resignedly in his small-town hotel room for two hit-men to find and kill him. Director Robert Siodmak took the original Ernest Hemingway short story as its opening point and developed it in an elaborate series of flashbacks. Remade for television in 1964 by director Don Siegel ("Dirty Harry"), but it was deemed too violent for America's living rooms and got a theatrical release instead.

  • In the small town of Brentwood, New Jersey lives an unassuming man known as Pete Lund, nicknamed the Swede. Only having lived in Brentwood for a year, not many in town know his background. Two thugs arrive in town stating openly that they are going to kill the Swede. Upon hearing the news, the Swede gives up, saying that he can no longer keep running. Following the murder of the Swede, John Reardon investigates on behalf of the insurance company in which the Swede had a small life insurance policy. In finding and speaking to people connected to the Swede's past, Reardon learns that he was an ex-boxer really named Ole Andersen. His murder seems to be connected to a woman by the name of Kitty Collins, who the Swede loved and would do anything for and who had criminal associates. When Reardon connects the Swede to an unsolved robbery from six years earlier which in turn is connected to the Swede's murder, Reardon, against the wishes of his superior, decides to try and retrieve the moneys from the robbery and in turn catch the killers. He has the assistance of Lieutenant Sam Lubinsky, an old friend of the Swede's. To find the money, Reardon has to find Kitty Collins, who seems to be the person in the middle of everything.



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