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The Killers

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The Killers (Movie - 1946)

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
Unrated
performer:
Ava Gardner, Burt Lancaster, Albert Dekker, Edmond O'Brien
director:
Robert Siodmak
author:
John Huston, Anthony Veiller
genre:
Mystery and Thriller, Drama

We gave it an A-

Of the five quintessential noirs Universal just released on tape — including Fritz Lang’s You and Me and Ministry of Fear, the perverse Phantom Lady, and the tricky Black Angel — the best and blackest is The Killers. Using the eponymous Hemingway story as a launching pad, director Robert Siodmak and cowriters Anthony Veiller and John Huston (uncredited) blast into hard-boiled atmospherics: An insurance investigator (Edmond O’Brien, Bogart manque) pries into the death of the Swede (Burt Lancaster), an ex-boxer, ex-con, and ex-beau of the shifty Kitty (Ava Gardner, sublimely feline). You get so caught up watching the Swede’s gang pull a heist — and the double-crosses unfold in deep focus and Wellesian flashback — that the whodunit problem sneaks up from behind. And Lancaster, in his screen debut, plays a non-contender so deeply doomed that he makes De Niro’s Jake La Motta look like a giddy Rocky Balboa. A-

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