7.3/10
3,853
76 user 36 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
Lawrence Tierney ... Sam
Walter Slezak ... Arnett
Phillip Terry ... Fred
Audrey Long ... Georgia
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Marty
Isabel Jewell ... Laury Palmer
Esther Howard ... Mrs. Kraft
Kathryn Card Kathryn Card ... Grace
Tony Barrett Tony Barrett ... Danny
Grandon Rhodes ... Inspector Wilson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jason Robards Sr. ... Conductor (scenes deleted)
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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:

THE COLDEST KILLER A WOMAN EVER LOVED! (original poster-all caps) 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 quotes the Bible twice. "I find more bitter than death the woman ...", is from Ecclesiastes 7:26, though it is not an exact quote from the standard bibles, and "... the way of the transgressor is hard..." (sic) from Proverbs 13:15. See more »

Goofs

They took a train from Reno Nv. to San Fransisco Ca. but the shot of the train coming at the camera head-on is a Pennsylvania RR streamlined K4 locomotive on their 4 track mainline in Pennsylvania. See more »

Quotes

Helen: If you go to the police, you'll see Laury sooner than you think.
Mrs. Kraft: Are you trying to scare me?
Helen: I'm just warning you. Perhaps you don't realize, it's painful being killed. A piece of metal sliding into your body, finding its way into your heart. Or a bullet tearing through your skin, crashing into a bone. It takes a while to die, too. Sometimes a long while.
See more »


Soundtracks

From This Day Forward
(uncredited)
Music by Leigh Harline
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Born To Watch This More Than Once
17 December 2005 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

Here is another one of those films I didn't particularly care for the first time around, but gave it a second chance some years later and was rewarded. Now I love the film and am a Lawrence Tierney fan.

Tierney's intense character, his hot temper and insane paranoid jealousy are, well, fun to watch once you get to like this actor and his tough-guy roles. Tierney, in this film, would kill over the slightest thing that would suggest to him that he might be getting double crossed. Talk about a guy with mental problems!

Trevor was effective as the immoral woman who cared for money first, and everything else a distant second. As good as she and Tierney play off each other, for me, the most entertaining parts of the film were watching three of the supporting characters, played by Elisha Cook Jr., Walter Slezak and Esther Howard.

Cook played his normal film noir jittery-worried gangster accomplice and victim. He made a living playing these type of roles. Slezak was the Shakespeare/ Bible--quoting detective and Howard was a real hoot as an old lady trying to track down the killer of her young friend.

This is film noir in all its moodiness and hard attitude. If you find it a bit slow, please give it a second chance. These characters grow on you!


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