After their great blu-ray of the 1964 remake of The Killers earlier in the year, Arrow Films are releasing the 1946 film noir original.
After two hitmen find and kill The Swede, played by Burt Lancaster, an insurance investigator Jim Reardon (Edmond O’Brien) tries to find out more about him. Who was The Swede, why did he leave his money to a cleaner and, more importantly, why did he want to be caught by the killers and not run. Kitty Collins, the femme fatale of this film noir is played by Ava Gardner.
If you are a fan of film noir or looking for a movie that clearly shows what a film noir is then this is definitely one to watch. A movie like this, with a lot of flashbacks, can usually feel hit or miss, but The Killers clearly hits the mark and never muddles the storyline. We are carried through the story by Reardon. We learn what he learns, as every stone is unturned, as every film noir double cross is told.
Richard Siodmak directs a fantastic script by Anthony Veiller, based on the story by Ernest Hemingway. The script has some of the very best dialogue, the opening scene in the diner especially. Lancaster as the mysterious Swede also makes a great fallen hero with Gardner sizzling as the femme fatale our hero becomes besotted with.
You can see, while watching the movie, that maybe Tarantino is a fan.
I watched the fantastic Arrow release of the remake earlier in the year and it's a great movie but, for my taste, the original is the better movie.
It really is a fantastic film and very worthy of your time. It does the one thing every movie should do, it keeps you engaged, entertained and wondering what is going to happen next. In fact, more happens in the movie than most movies nowadays can only dream of.
BLU RAY REVIEW
For a film made in 1946, Arrow have done quite an incredible job on this edition. It looks and sounds fantastic. I admit it's a first time watch for myself, but can say, I’m sure its never been better seen. It's presented in it’s original frame and, most importantly for a film noir, the shadows are dark. The movie was restored from the original Universal elements.
Arrow have once again proved that when it comes to delivering the goods, they more than succeed. They clearly have a love for their product and will only give us the very best.
Yet again, Arrow also deliver on the special features. For a movie that is now 68 years old, there is a wealth of supplementary material, with the cream of the crop being a very interesting analysis by film noir expert Frank Krutnik.
Run Time 103mins
Subtitles: English SDH
Aspect Ratio 1.37:1
Black and White
SPECIAL FEATURES HD
Newly restored High Definition (1080p) presentation of the feature, transferred from original film elements by Universal
Original uncompressed PCM mono 1.0 audio
Isolated Music & Effects soundtrack to highlight Miklós Rózsa’s famous score
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
Frank Krutnik on The Killers, a video piece by the author of In a Lonely Street, which introduces the film and offers a detailed commentary on four key scenes
Heroic Fatalism, a video essay adapted from Philip Booth’s comparative study of multiple versions of The Killers (Hemingway, Siodmak, Tarkovsky, Siegel)
Three archive radio pieces inspired by The Killers:
The 1949 Screen Director’s Playhouse adaptation with Burt Lancaster and Shelley Winters;
A 1946 Jack Benny spoof;
The 1958 Suspense episode ‘Two for the Road’ which reunited original killers William Conrad and Charles McGraw
Stills and posters gallery
Trailers for The Killers, Brute Force, The Naked City and Rififi
Reversible sleeve featuring one of the original posters and newly commissioned artwork by Jay Shaw
Collector’s booklet containing new writing by Sergio Angelini and archive interviews with director Robert Siodmak, producer Mark Hellinger and cinematographer Woody Bredell, illustrated with original production stills
Written by Paul Crowson