The Killers (1964)
The 1964 remake (of sorts) by Don Siegel builds another whole world around Hemingway's narrow, if intense, premise. The two assassins of Siegel's film (Clu Gulager, Lee Marvin) go in search of their intended victim--a teacher (John Cassavetes) at a school for the blind--and find that he not only recognizes his fate when they show up, but seems entirely resigned to it. Curiosity leads the killers to seek out the party who hired them and discover why Cassavetes's character didn't run or fight. Soon the facts tumble into place--the dead man had once been a top-drawer racer who fell for a glamorous woman (Angie Dickinson), the latter gradually pulling him into the orbit of a criminal villain (a convincingly evil Ronald Reagan)--and the film becomes increasingly dark and dangerous. Originally shot for television but rejected for its violence, Siegel's film is a blistering experience of swimming against the currents of fate for one's survival--and losing. --Tom Keogh
Hal Wallis spotted Burt Lancaster and put him under contract and as happens so often after a brief stint in "Sound Of Hunting"
Lancaster was around for his breakthrough role.
With Mark Hellinger and Bob Siodmak at the controls we have a REAL classic noir/crime film..The supporting cast is terrific especially Ava Gardner in her first real acting role, pros like Albert Dekker and Jeff Corey ( Blinky Franklin ..what a name for a guy who has the monkey on his back), Charleston, Dum Dum..and Sam Levene and Ed O'Brien add to the suspense..
The DVD allows us to look further into the film as never before..Miklos Rosza's great score..to be used later by Jack Webb, how Hemmingways'piece was expanded..and nice bios..on many of the actors...
1964 " The Killers" illuminates how A SUPERB film maker , Don Siegal reworks the story for the 1964 audience..updates the people involved with a fine supporting cast..Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager are amusing and deadly..John Cassavetes plays the Ole Anderson role and also a fine turn by veteran Claude Akins.
Clu Gulager's sons produce a really fine monologue by their father..he is introspective..has some wonderful anecdotes on Lee Marvin and Don Siegal..and shares some nice memories about the making of the film " The Killers" This is one of the best pieces I have ever seen on DVD!
A Double Dynamite of a DVD package that is very illustrative of the 20 years difference between and how things change yet remain the same..
The DVD is an excellent print. It is sharp and the soundtrack is well restored.
The "remake" for TV (1964) starring Lee Marvin and co-starring Ronald Reagan (as a heavy no less) is included. It bears little resemblence to the original. The film focuses on the killers this time, rather than an insurance detective. The killers are a preview of the kind of characters we would see thirty years later in Pulp Fiction.