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Directed by noir luminary Robert Siodmak (Criss Cross, Phantom Lady), The Killers is one of film noir’s defining works — a master class in the criminality, corruption, and cynicism of the noir universe; the moody, menacing Expressionism of its visual style; and the haunted fatalism and pessimism of its thematic. Elaborating on a Hemingway short story about a man who offers no resistance when hired killers come to slay him, the film casts Burt Lancaster (in his star-making screen debut) as Swede, a world-weary ex-boxer passively murdered as the film opens. Edmond O’Brien (D.O.A.) is Riordan, an insurance investigator probing Swede’s death. Ava Gardner is double-crossing dame Kitty Collins — one of noir's quintessential femmes fatales. The narrative unfolds as a series of Citizen Kane-style flashbacks recounting Swede’s downfall. Miklós Rózsa’s memorable score was later used in the Dragnet TV series.
Opening Night sponsored by Earnest Ice Cream
"Film noir at its most expressive."Chicago Reader | full review
"A classic ... The movie's influence has extended over 60 years to take in Cronenberg's homage, A History of Violence."The Guardian | full review
"A triumph of atmosphere, with director Robert Siodmak imposing an Expressionist intimacy and foreboding onto the monochrome photography."Empire | full review