7.2/10
4,124
80 user 39 critic

Born to Kill (1947)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 3 May 1947 (USA)
A calculating divorcée risks her chances at wealth and security with a man she doesn't love by getting involved with the hotheaded murderer romancing her foster sister.

Director:

Robert Wise

Writers:

Eve Greene (screenplay), Richard Macaulay (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Claire Trevor ... Helen Brent
Lawrence Tierney ... Sam Wilde
Walter Slezak ... Albert Arnett
Phillip Terry ... Fred Grover
Audrey Long ... Georgia Staples Wilde
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Marty Waterman
Isabel Jewell ... Laury Palmer
Esther Howard ... Mrs. Kraft
Kathryn Card ... Grace
Tony Barrett ... Danny
Grandon Rhodes ... Inspector Wilson
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Storyline

In Reno a man kills a girl he likes and her boyfriend out of jealousy; it may not be the first time. A woman whose divorce has just come through finds the bodies but decides not to become involved. The two meet next day on the train to San Francisco unaware of this link between them. They are attracted to each other, and the relationship survives his marriage to her half-sister for money and status. It even survives the woman discovering that he was the murderer, though she may not realise how easily someone who has killed this way before can do so again. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

That "Dillinger" guy's most savage role! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 May 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Deadlier Than the Male See more »

Filming Locations:

Reno, Nevada, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Arnett's quote, "Where every prospect pleases and only man is vile...", is from the hymn, "From Greenland's Icy Mountains", lyrics by Reginald Heber. See more »

Goofs

Mrs. Kraft spits on Helen's back. Helen turns around and wipes it off her front. See more »

Quotes

Marty: You can't just go around killin' people whenever the notion strikes you. It's not feasible.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Pretty Little Liars: Stolen Kisses (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

I Haven't a Thing to Wear
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Revel
Tune on the radio when Helen discovers the bodies
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pushin' the Extreme
31 May 2016 | by radiobirdmaSee all my reviews

Odd things are happening in this picture, and at the Hays Office obviously all were sound asleep: A stinking rich Miss Supersweet is marrying a brick-faced lowlife hunk who preferably shares his bed with an old buddy from jail, while the millionaire girl's foster sister gets soaking wet when it comes to gory murder. Here, in 1947, RKO finally delves headlong into the abyss of Krafft-Ebings Psychopathia sexualis, and though the fatal-attraction plot may not be entirely plausible, Robert Wise's direction is taut and trim, the timing pure excellence, while angel-faced and downright ravishing Claire Trevor – marvelously dressed in one stunning ensemble after another by costume designer Edward Stevenson (Out of the Past) – gives the probably best performance of her career opposed to Lawrence Tierney, the Most Vicious Mutha ever to roam Hollywood Boulevard. Despite its icy brutality a melodrama at heart, Born to Kill moves along the slickest ground amour fou terrain has to offer, chock-full of malevolence, aggression, sexual deviance and a stranglehold feel of utter depravity. The NYT called Wise's first noir "not only morally disgusting, but an offense to a normal intellect" back then. So much about the high art of pushing the envelope.


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