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The Killing (1956)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 6 June 1956 (USA)
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Crooks plan and execute a daring race-track robbery.

Director:

Stanley Kubrick

Writers:

Stanley Kubrick (screenplay), Jim Thompson (dialogue) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sterling Hayden ... Johnny Clay
Coleen Gray ... Fay
Vince Edwards ... Val Cannon
Jay C. Flippen ... Marvin Unger
Ted de Corsia ... Patrolman Randy Kennan (as Ted DeCorsia)
Marie Windsor ... Sherry Peatty
Elisha Cook Jr. ... George Peatty (as Elisha Cook)
Joe Sawyer ... Mike O'Reilly
James Edwards ... Track Parking Attendant
Timothy Carey ... Nikki Arcane
Kola Kwariani Kola Kwariani ... Maurice Oboukhoff
Jay Adler ... Leo the Loanshark
Tito Vuolo ... Joe Piano
Dorothy Adams ... Ruthie O'Reilly
Herbert Ellis Herbert Ellis ... Second American Airlines Clerk
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Storyline

After just being released from a five year stint in prison, Johnny Clay has assembled a five man team, including two insiders, to carry out what he estimates will be a $2 million heist at Lansdowne Racetrack, that take, minus expenses, to be split five ways. Besides Johnny, none of the men truly are criminals in the typical sense. In addition to the other four team members, Johnny has hired two men external to the team to carry out specific functions for a flat fee, the other four who will not meet the two men for hire or know who they are, while the two men for hire will not be told of the bigger picture of the heist. None involved are to tell anyone, even their loved ones, about the job, each of the five who has a specific reason for wanting his share of the money: Johnny, in wanting to get married to his longtime girlfriend Fay, the two who have known each other since they were kids, realizes that to live comfortably, he has to shoot for the moon instead of carrying out the penny ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

These 5 Men Had a $2,000,000 Secret Until One of them told this Woman! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 June 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bed of Fear See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$320,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Once they had convinced Sterling Hayden to come on board, Stanley Kubrick and his producer James B. Harris were able to approach United Artists about securing the extra financing for the film. See more »

Goofs

When George is forcibly being removed from the apartment he says, "No, I'm not leaving Sherry." but his lips/mouth don't move...obviously dubbed in. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: At exactly 3:45 on that Saturday afternoon in the last week of September, Marvin Unger was, perhaps, the only one among the hundred thousand people at the track who felt no thrill at the running of the fifth race. He was totally disinterested in horse racing and held a lifelong contempt for gambling. Nevertheless, he had a $5 win bet on every horse in the fifth race. He knew, of course, that this rather unique system of betting would more than likely result in a loss, but he didn't...
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User Reviews

 
One of my five favorite Kubrick films - gets better every time
11 June 2004 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

At the age of 27, Stanley Kubrick's third film, The Killing, took Lionel White's hard-boiled, non-linear story of one man (Johnny Clay, with quick-talking, straightforward ease by Sterling Hayden) and his crew planning and tasking a race-track robbery. It's almost fifty years old, but by this time Kubrick intently defined his style, and somehow the film seems to have themes and characters that are identifiable (and recognizable) with any period. The supporting characters are as sharply drawn (and psychologically involving) if not more so than Johnny Clay. Driving us into this world of schemers shouldn't be dense, and as Kubrick passes by any pretense - and keeps the compositions and material entertaining and absorbing - and it allows a viewer a lot of promise on repeat viewings.

While the story elements are similar to the sort of Kubrick-movie psychology (mostly dealing with men who are head deep in a rather existential crisis of what's against society), what's unique is how the craft is intuitive. On a low budget, and even with a cast that's very good if not excellent, everything is always assured in the style and turns grinding in the plot. I could watch this movie another two times (after three in the past two years or so) and still see shots so detailed yet with the tone that of the most inspired film-noirs. It's questionable as to where Kubrick got influence for some of the compositions, with usage of shadows and the dark (and light shades too), but whether or not it was some famous expressionist or from the 40's film-noirs, the mark of Kubrick uncurling as an artist is evident.

One remark by some is that the narration is sometimes irritating, that the kind of B-movie police drama expository tone, and the information is too much. The voice is not my favorite part of the film, but the narration itself, the information, is an interesting mold in the film's structure. It adds on a layer to that existentialist subtext, as every description makes it sounds like the narrator's a reporter looking back on the past events with a (detached) objectivity. For me, this did make it a little much to concentrate on in the first viewing, however this is a film that demands un-thwarted attention for it's 83 minutes. If you turn away for too long, a piece of the puzzle will be out of sight. It's a great film, and it's gone on to inspire a flock of homagers and imitators in the last half century. A+


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