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The Killing Movie Review

kubrick stanley edwards thompson

After 1955's Killer's Kiss, Stanley Kubrick received $200,000 to make The Killing for United Artists. There were only two strings attached: he had to cast a star as Johnny Clay and U.A. had to like his script. Sterling Hayden turned out to be perfect as a grizzled small-time convict in hot pursuit of the big time and who WOULDN'T like the masterful screenplay by Kubrick and Jim Thompson? The Killing examines crime and sexuality with a laser-like beam that looked and sounded like nothing else in the Fidgety ‘50s. Listen to the dialogue between Elisha Cook and Marie Windsor as George and Sherry Peatty. Was any guy ever whipped as graphically as George was by Sherry? Watch the classic racetrack sequence with Timothy Carey as vicious hood Nikki Arane and James Edwards as the parking attendant. Ever see racism delivered with such a startling flick of rattlesnake venom? The presence of fresh-faced Coleen Gray and the voice-of-God narration are reassuring throw-backs to film noir of the ‘40s, and then the evil implodes, in bright sunshine as well as in dark shadows, in a way that is raw, real, ugly, and cruel. All the hoods are human and stupid; their doomed schemes may be intricately planned, but their intrinsic flaws are blurred by the sheer speed of the narrative drive. Stanley Kubrick blasted his way into the movies with an unsparing frankness about the undercurrents of reality no one else was willing to acknowledge and an originality that audiences continue to experience with all five senses.

1956 83m/B Sterling Hayden, Marie Windsor, Elisha Cook Jr., Jay C. Flippen, Vince Edwards, Timothy Carey, Coleen Gray, Joseph Sawyer, Ted de Corsia, James Edwards, Jay Adler, Kola Kwarian, Joe Turkel; D: Stanley Kubrick; W: Stanley Kubrick, Jim Thompson; C: Lucien Ballard. VHS, LV

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