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The Killers

USA 1946. Dir: Robert Siodmak. 105 min. DCP

NEW RESTORATION! 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 Hemingway’s 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 (The Hitch-Hiker) 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 score was later used in the Dragnet TV series.


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REVIEWS

"An example of film noir at its most expressive."

Chicago Reader | full review

"The kind of noir thriller the word quintessential was minted for ... It’s one of the great films of disenchantment."

Time Out | full review