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
The narration was added at the studio's insistence. Stanley Kubrick hated the idea and thus makes much of the information that the narrator provides false or mistaken. See more »
In the opening sequence, both the narrator and the track announcer refer to the "fifth" race. But the bet tickets that Marvin Unger has say "sixth race". The subtitles say both 5th and 6th for different references. See more »
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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Stanley Kubrick's coming-out party from the mid '50s is a startlingly accurate prediction of film's future. By way of a non-linear narration and a few remarkably fresh transitions, Kubrick adds considerable weight and magnitude to a tangled heist tale and its focus on the crooks behind a slick, daring stickup of the local racetrack. Confused by the film's radical new approach to storytelling, test audiences hated the first cut, leading to studio meddling and an almost-complete disintegration of its marketing budget. Kubrick fought back, though, and with the obvious exception of a horribly heavy-handed deadpan narration, the finished product seems virtually untouched. Concerned mostly with the planning and hand-wringing before the big theft, The Killing tensely builds anticipation throughout before finally boiling over in a machine gun-paced robbery scene, terse payoff and all-too-brief elaboration on the major players' ultimate fates. Acceptably acted at best, the real stars of this picture are the complex plot and the harvest of fresh ideas going on behind the lens. A clear inspiration for Tarantino's big hits of the '90s, it's a daring and stylish major market debut for the famed director that hints at the lengths his development would ultimately take the medium.
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