A remake of The Killers (1946) which itself was inspired by the Ernest Hemingway short story. Told instead from the hitmen's point of view, the killers decide to find out why their latest victim (a race car driver) "just stood there and took it" when they came to shoot him. They also figure on collecting more money. Ronald Reagan plays a rich, double-crossing financier. Lovely Angie Dickinson plays the femme fatale.Written by
Mark Logan <email@example.com>
Although most of the staff and many of the students in the blind school are sight-impaired, all informational signs, names on doors and room numbers are painted, with no accompanying braille information. See more »
The style of the film's credits reflect it's original made-for-TV origins: in 1960's TV movies, Stars, Co-stars and Featured Players were listed only in the opening credits, while supporting players were listed only in the closing credits. See more »
Ahead of it's time, uncompromising b-grade thriller.
Don Siegel's 'The Killers' is a diamond in the rough! Initially filmed for television, its technical limitations are easily overlooked as they are more than compensated for by the drive of the no-nonsense narrative, and the high standards of the acting. Caught somewhere between Kubrick's 'The Killing' and Boorman's 'Point Blank', it may not be as flamboyantly impressive as either, but it is just as memorable in its own low key way.
Quentin Tarantino has admitted that the structure of 'The Killing' has influenced him, but after watching 'The Killers', one must question whether this movie is also high on his list. Especially as the cooler-than-thou hit-men played by Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager almost anticipate Travolta and Jackson's similarly quirky ones in 'Pulp Fiction' thirty years later. Just like Vincent and Jules, Charlie and Lee are eccentric and likable when "off duty" and brutal sociopaths when on. Lee Marvin is one of Hollywood's legendary screen tough guys, and his performance here is as good as any he ever did, but the real stand out for me is Clu Gulager's health nut contract killer. He just about steals every scene he is in. Up to this point he was mainly known as a Western TV star. Why this role didn't launch him into a Bruce Dern/Harry Dean Stanton/Dick Miller style career baffles me. Instead he was mainly consigned to the "made for TV" wasteland, and never got the breaks his talent deserved.
Marvin and Gulager's star turns are backed up by strong supporting performances from John Cassavetes, as their enigmatic "job", Angie Dickinson, a double-crossing femme fatale, and Ronald Reagan in a surprising turn as a nasty gangster. Also keep an eye out for a dialogue-free cameo by a very young looking Seymour Cassel!
'The Killers' looks better and better as the years go by. Not without flaws, sure, and calling it a masterpiece would be overkill, but it's a movie that was ahead of it's time in many ways, and it can't help but impress discerning fans of 50s/60s b-grade crime movies, film noir, or Sam Fuller.
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