Friday, March 11, 2016

The Killers

Robert Siodmak, Hollywood, California, 1946


Based on one of Hemingway’s better short stories, the screenplay was credited solely to Anthony Veiller, though it was more than equally the work of John Huston, with additional assistance from Richard Brooks. Of course only the very beginning actually followed the text, and it did so faithfully, completely and to its violent end, after which the film makers concocted a very elaborate tale, with intricate flashbacks inspired by Citizen Kane, that seeks to explain the central character’s acquiescence to his own murder.  Finally, it needs to be said that this was Burt Lancaster’s first film, that it is among his very finest performances and as mesmerizing a debut as any actor ever made.  Watching this, one can understand exactly why Robert Bresson wanted him to play Lancelot.

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