Wednesday, July 18, 2012

THE KILLING (1956)

There's no foolin' around here, THE KILLING jumps straight into the exciting story of a group of tough guys that are looking pull a racetrack heist worth $2 million clams. You got two inside men (a cashier and a bartender), the distractions (a giant wrestler to start a bar fight and a sharpshooter to snipe a horse during the big race), the financier, the gun man (badass Sterling Hayden) and the getaway guy (a crooked cop). The plan is full proof. Full proof I tells ya! Except that this one palooka keeps running his yap to his dame - a selfish money-hungry, shit-talkin' moll, that'll stop at nothing to get her mitts on all that tasty spinach.

THE KILLING is awesome. It's hard to think of a better example of a young filmmaker improving his craft from one film to the next better than with Stanley Kubrick and the rough around the edges, KILLER'S KISS in 1955 to the fucking incredible THE KILLING only one year later. Memorable characters that are all bitter and hard-boiled as fook, a quick pace, the acting by the entire cast is great (I especially loved the scenes with Elisha Cook Jr. and Marie Windsor who would star together again 24 years later in SALEM'S LOT), awesome story, a few shocking moments...but I think the two things THE KILLING is remembered for the most is its photography and presentation of the story. Both have been copied many times since. I won't get into all the examples, but it's a fucking lot.

Sadly,The Kube turned his back on film noir after THE KILLING but at least he went out with a bang. Highly recommended.
You recognize that handsome fellow sitting at the bar?