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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.

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(screenplay), (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:
... Johnny Clay
... Fay
... Val Cannon
... Marvin Unger
... Patrolman Randy Kennan (as Ted DeCorsia)
... Sherry Peatty
... George Peatty (as Elisha Cook)
... Mike O'Reilly
... Track Parking Attendant
... Nikki Arcane
Kola Kwariani ... Maurice Oboukhoff
... Leo the Loanshark
... Joe Piano
... Ruthie O'Reilly
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:

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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

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Language:

Release Date:

6 June 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bed of Fear  »

Filming Locations:

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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:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stanley Kubrick: [three-way] Johnny Clay vs. George Peatty vs. Sherry Peatty. See more »

Goofs

At the motel, the camera shadow can be seen on the pavement, along with the crane and operator. 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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Connections

Referenced in Film Noir: Bringing Darkness to Light (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Kubrick's first classic, and still one of the greatest crime thrillers ever made.
14 January 2003 | by See all my reviews

'The Killing' has been overshadowed by Stanley Kubrick's subsequent better known and better made movie masterpieces. Films like 'Dr. Strangelove', '2001' and 'A Clockwork Orange' are much more flamboyant and intellectually exciting than this early hard boiled crime thriller, but for my money it is still one of his most entertaining movies, and in its own modest way just as brilliant as his more talked about films. 'The Killing' is still one of the greatest crime thrillers ever made, and one which influenced many film makers working in this genre, not the least of which Quentin Tarantino, who obviously worships this picture, and used its innovative structure as major inspiration for 'Pulp Fiction'. Kubrick wrote 'The Killing's script as well as directing, but made the smart move of asking "the Dime Store Dostoevski" Jim Thompson, author of pulp classics like 'The Killer Inside Me' and 'The Getaway' to supply the fresh and memorable dialogue. Sterling Hayden, who later achieved screen immmortality as General Jack D. Ripper in 'Dr Strangelove', is perfect as ambitious small time crook Johnny Clay. He is surrounded by an almost flawless supporting cast. I qualified that because I wasn't totally convinced by Coleen Gray who plays Johnny's girlfriend. However she only really has one scene, and the rest of the cast more than makes up for her. Especially memorable are the mis-matched husband and wife played by Elisha Cook, Jr ('The House On Haunted Hill') and the sultry Marie Windsor (noir classic 'Narrow Margin'). Their scenes together are simply terrific. Also noteworthy are the two scenes featuring legendary crazy Timothy Carey ('The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie'). Carey was one of the most extraordinary performers to set foot in front of a movie character, and is unforgettable. Kubrick obviously thought highly of him as he subsequently cast him in his anti-war classic 'Paths Of Glory', a move which antagonised the movie's star Kirk Douglas. Even if 'The Killing' didn't feature such a strong performance from Sterling Hayden it would be worth watching just to catch Cook, Windsor and Carey. On top of that you have some other great actors such as Vince Edwards, an innovative script, hip dialogue and some brilliant directorial touches. This exciting heist movie can't be recommended highly enough, it's a real treat for film buffs. A brilliant film that still packs a punch after almost fifty years, something I doubt you will be saying about many movies currently showing in today's theatres. 'The Killing' is a super cool suspense movie and not to be missed!


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