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The Killing (1956)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 6 June 1956 (USA)
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Crook Johnny Clay assembles a five man team to 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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Popularity
3,077 ( 128)
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:

In All Its Fury and Violence ...Like No Other Picture Since "Scarface" and "Little Caesar"! 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

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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...
See more »

Connections

Featured in Edge of Outside (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Neat and concise
9 April 2012 | by KubrisSee all my reviews

IMDb Top 250: 194

With The Killing, Stanley Kubrick established himself as a great director. Unfortunately, 55 years later, this film is unfortunately less remembered because it isn't released between 1957- 1987. It's a shame The Killing isn't seen more, because viewers are treated to an excellent and suspenseful crime noir.

Here is a heist with a straightforward plot and nonlinear storytelling. In an hour and a half, the first half is set up and the second half is all payoff. First we neatly learn about the characters, and some of their reasons for the job are exposed. The second half is pure awesome- the slick, simple heist is played out from several perspectives.

Huge success comes from the characters: they're great. Instead of a couple of stiffs, the conspirators are old, corrupt, meek, foreign; there is one stiff. Maurice and Nicky in particular stand out, great characters. Sherry as well, but for quite the opposite reasons.

The script is stellar. Most noirs are nonsensical, The Killing is correct to the minute. Dialogue comes fast and furiously, and scenes are repeated from other characters perspectives, but they don't feel redundant: we learn more each time.

There are a couple of things that have occurred in Kubrick's first three films: narration and great music. The trumpet blaring during the heist really raises the tension. On another note, it's apparent that Kubrick could now realize his projects however he wanted. A neat tidbit: I liked the chess club scenes, because Kubrick was an avid chess player.

Technically The Killing is great as well: the horse following, the tracking shot echoed by Goodfellas 35 years later... the lighting is great, like when Clay leans back into darkness as he goes over some details.

My 50's heist knowledge is quite thin, so this was very original to me. I also noted some very influential aspects, notably the entire concept of Reservoir Dogs, as well as things found in, say, The Dark Knight?

Anyway, The Killing is an excellent film that hasn't been seen as much as it should. A very well woven tale. 8.5/10


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