The Killing

( 9 )

Overview

The Killing was director Stanley Kubrick's first major film effort -- though, like Kubrick's earlier films, it was economically produced with an inexpensive cast. In a variation of his Asphalt Jungle role, Sterling Hayden plays veteran criminal Johnny Clay, planning one last big heist before settling down to a respectable marriage with Fay Colleen Gray. Teaming with several cohorts, Johnny masterminds a racetrack robbery. The basic flaw is that all the crooks involved are losers and small-timers who find ...
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Overview

The Killing was director Stanley Kubrick's first major film effort -- though, like Kubrick's earlier films, it was economically produced with an inexpensive cast. In a variation of his Asphalt Jungle role, Sterling Hayden plays veteran criminal Johnny Clay, planning one last big heist before settling down to a respectable marriage with Fay Colleen Gray. Teaming with several cohorts, Johnny masterminds a racetrack robbery. The basic flaw is that all the crooks involved are losers and small-timers who find themselves in way over their heads despite their supposed cleverness. None of the participants is more pathetic than George Peatty Elisha Cook Jr., who is goaded into the robbery by his covetous and far-from-faithful wife Marie Windsor. As in a Greek tragedy, Johnny's best-laid schemes go awry. Prominently featured in the cast of The Killing are offbeat character actors Tim Carey and Joe Turkel, who'd show up with equally showy roles in future Kubrick productions. The Killing is based on the novel Clean Break by Lionel White.
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Special Features

Disc 1 - New Video Interview with Producer James B. Harris; Excerpted Interviews with actor Sterling Hayden from the French television series Cinéma cinémas; New Video Interview with Poet and Author Robert Polito about Writer Jim Thompson; Trailer; ; Disc 2 - Restored high-definition digital transfer of Stanley Kubrick's 1955 noir feature Killer's Kiss; New video appreciation of Killer's Kiss featuring film critic Geoffrey O'Brien ; Trailer; ; Plus: a Booklet featuring an essay by film historian Haden Guest and a reprinted interview with actress Marie Windsor
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Stanley Kubrick's third feature showed that he was no ordinary director, as he dispensed with traditional time structure to detail the planning and execution of a racetrack heist gone wrong. Combining a non-linear story with a unifying, matter-of-fact voice-over narration, Kubrick constructed an intricate yet lucid cinematic puzzle that shifted back and forth both in time and among the central characters, revealing the personal stakes for each participant by following their individual actions leading up to the fateful seventh race. Johnny the leader thinks he has it all under control, but, in true Kubrick fashion, his plan is not immune to human failure. While the fractured time frame and use of long takes and tracking shots signaled Kubrick's stylistic break from classical form, the sharp black-and-white photography, Marie Windsor's insidious femme fatale, and Sterling Hayden's doomed Johnny place The Killing in the mode of 1940s/1950s film noir. His first film made on a reasonable budget and with an established cast of pros, The Killing caught critics' attention and established Kubrick as a director to watch, especially for such future cinematic time-tricksters as Quentin Tarantino.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/16/2011
  • UPC: 715515085717
  • Original Release: 1956
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Special Edition / Wide Screen / B&W
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:24:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 20,810

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Sterling Hayden Johnny Clay
Coleen Gray Fay
Marie Windsor Sherry Peatty
Elisha Cook Jr. George Peatty
Vince Edwards Val Cannon
Jay C. Flippen Marvin Unger
Ted de Corsia Randy Kennan
Joe Sawyer Mike O'Reilly
Timothy Carey Nikki Arane
Jay Adler Leo
Joe Turkel Tiny
William Benedict Airline Clerk
Tito Vuolo
James Edwards Parking Attendant
Dorothy Adams
Mary Carroll
James Griffith
Kola Kwarian Maurice Oboukhoff
Steve Mitchell
Robert B. Williams
Technical Credits
Stanley Kubrick Director, Screenwriter
Lucien Ballard Cinematographer
Gerald Fried Score Composer
Rudy Harrington Costumes/Costume Designer
James B. Harris Producer
David Koehler Special Effects
Harry Reif Set Decoration/Design
Alexander Singer Associate Producer
Earl Snyder Sound/Sound Designer
Ruth Sobotka Art Director
Betty Steinberg Editor
Jim Thompson Screenwriter
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Killing
1. Puzzle Pieces [4:57]
2. Personal Business [2:04]
3. Most Important Thread [3:32]
4. Pains [5:04]
5. A Break [3:39]
6. 504 West Olive [2:49]
7. No Good And Nosy [4:06]
8. "I'm Dropping Out" [3:06]
9. Hired Muscle [3:27]
10. Triggerman [2:35]
11. Hideaway [1:53]
12. "Stop Butting In" [3:41]
13. A Stand-Up Guy [2:26]
14. Scheduled Drops [2:03]
15. A Husband's Promise [5:27]
16. The Officer's Duties [2:10]
17. Some Luck [3:51]
18. Red Lightning [5:36]
19. Heist [7:38]
20. Waiting for Johnny [3:32]
21. Fifteen Minutes Late [2:38]
22. "A Bad Joke" [1:40]
23. Baggage Problems [6:07]
Disc #2 -- The Killing: Killer's Kiss
1. In a Mess [2:17]
2. Has-been [5:46]
3. Getting Ready [2:45]
4. A Weak Chin [5:57]
5. "You Need a Vacation" [3:35]
6. The Scream [6:20]
7. Iris's Story [5:50]
8. Over His Head [4:11]
9. Pleasureland Snafu [7:29]
10. Bad Trouble [5:51]
11. To the Rescue [5:15]
12. Alleys and Rooftops [3:53]
13. Mannequin Mayhem [5:16]
14. At The Station [2:41]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- The Killing
   Play The Movie
   Chapters
      Color Bars
   James B. Harris
      Play
   Sterling Hayden
      Play
   Polito On Thompson
      Play
   Trailer
Disc #2 -- The Killing: Killer's Kiss
   Play The Movie
   Chapters
   Geoffrey O'Brien
      Play
   Trailer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The First Noir Heist Film

    When I was in college, a psychology professor told me that people who hurt, torture or kill animals will certainly do the same thing to people. This is a movie which involves the killing of a horse but it eventually leads to the killing of several people. And like all the great classic crime films, it's all done for money. That's the sour message delivered in Stanley Kubrick's directing debut, "The Killing". Made in 1956, Kubrick even then knew how to tell a compelling story, even though it seemed simple enough. Sterling Hayden portrays Johnny, an expert criminal who plans to rob a racetrack box office and hopefully retire. He's hired a number of cronies to help him pull this off. However, they have ideas of their own. One of these cronies is George (played brilliantly by Elisha Cook), whose wife pulls a double-cross that throws everything into disarray. Shot in grainy black-and-white with almost none of the special tracking shots that Kubrick would later be noted for, "The Killing" is told in the gritty style of a 1940's pulp fiction novel with more than a few twists. Yet, this could very well be the first Noir Heist film, one that a lot of filmmakers try to emulate but can't duplicate. Although you watch this film and you can imagine Sterling Hayden as the Boss in Quentin Tarantino's "Resevoir Dogs". Hayden, who starred in other Kubrick films, is tough, quick-thinking and delivers one great hard-boiled line after another---"Suppose they pick you up? What have you done? You shot a horse! That's not first-degree murder! It's not first-degree anything! In fact, I don't even know what it is!" The DVD which was been released by The Criterion Collection also features Kubrick's second film, "Killer's Kiss", which is nowhere neaer as great as this film is. But it's interesting to see both of these films because just two years later, Kubrick would direct "Paths Of Glory" and he became an A-list filmmaker for the rest of his life. The journey to "Dr. Strangelove", "2001: A Space Odyssey", "A Clockwork Orange" and "The Shining" all began here. Who knows what kind of a filmmaker Kubrick might have turned out to be had he continued making movies like "The Killing"?

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 26, 2013

    Brilliant early Kubrick featuring many film noir/B movie stalwar

    Brilliant early Kubrick featuring many film noir/B movie stalwarts. 

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Good movie, kept my interset

    Yes, i did like this movie, it was interesting and it did have a good plot. It was visually good as well, and the acting was good. If you want something different then this movie is worth checking out.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted October 1, 2011

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    Posted November 3, 2011

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    Posted September 8, 2011

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    Posted July 24, 2010

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    Posted December 17, 2011

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