The Killers (1946)

UK Universal edition DVD


The film is supposedly based on a story by Ernest Hemingway and directed by The Great Robert Siodmak, the man behind classics
as 1946 The Spiral Staircase and 1944 Phantom Lady, and surely it has inspired a lot of filmmakers with it's exciting use of Flashbacks.
The use of Flashbacks is a staple of the Film Noir and earlier iconic films as i.a. Double Indemnity uses it too, and e.g. 1946 The Locket,
a pretty obscure but great Noir uses the multiple Flashback technique to it's hilt.

The film has an amazing start and Steve Martin gave this a homage in his 1982 Dead Men don't Wear Plaid, the scene where The Swede
calmly is awaiting his killers. Don Siegel's 1964 re-make of The Killers is a very good film too, and not the least future President Ronald
Reagan in his last film and playing the boss, a role that corresponds to Big Jim Colfax in the 1946 film.

The Great 1964 Re-Make by Don "Dirty Harry" Siegel

Two Very Nasty hitmen are played very effectively by Charles McGraw and William Conrad (later the fat man in popular TV detective
series Cannon) and they arrive to the small town of Brentwood, New Jersey in their hunt for Ole Anderson, The Swede (Burt
Lancaster). Before finding and killing him they fully enjoy some harassment of the patrons in the local bar. A scene that feels very
contemporary and this maybe because Quentin Tarantiono used it for his Pulp Fiction some 50 years later.

Swede was working at a Gas station and he was insured, and an Insurance agent (Edmond O'Brien) wonders why the victim so calmly
waited for his executioners and what were the reason for this grim fate. He starts sleuthing backwards in time and finds out that Ole
Anderson came from Philadelphia and that he was a boxer before he became a criminal and in the company of the boss Big Jim Colfax
and his gangster bitch Kitty (Ava Gardner).
Everyone the Insurance agent meets tells his/her story in a Flashback and before the film ends in the present, we have had to go through
10 (Ten) flashbacks .... and that's just to many, and it gets tiresome (well, for me that is, and that's why i don't have it on my Top Ten).

Interestingly, all of the criminals in the film and including the slightly stupid The Swede are Unlikeable, and yes, Kitty too. Ava isn't as
charismatic as usual in her femme fatale role. Sure, she's gorgeous but she also manages to be both shady and lack-lustre something
that is very appropriate for a gangsta bitch. I'm not sure if this was something that Siodmak strived for, but it feels realistic as an evil
person isn't attractive for anyone sane, if so it's against the normal femme fatale fantasy.
Normally the meeting between a Film Noir loser hero and a femme fatale is narrated by the spellbound man, something that gives the
predator woman some sensual aura, but in this film it's an outsider that tell the story in a factual way.

The film was presented in 4:3 fullscreen original ratio, black & white, english mono audio and in a bare bones with no extras


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