The Killing

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In the world of film noir, crime never pays – except for the filmmakers. Rarely has it paid as well as in this killer cult classic that helped launch Stanley Kubrick’s career. After the independent Fear and Desire (1953) and Killer’s Kiss (1955), Kubrick joined with producer James Harris to make his first film with a professional cast and crew. The resulting thriller, propelled by a tricky fragmented time structure later used in such neo-noirs as Reservoir Dogs, follows the assorted crooks and lowlifes involved in a complicated racetrack robbery, and stars a steely Sterling Hayden at his coldhearted best. Also starring such great ‘50s character actors as Timothy Carey, Elisha Cook, Jr. and Marie Windsor, and featuring hardboiled dialogue by pulp legend Jim Thompson, The Killing was relegated to the bottom half of a double bill by its distributor, but the wickedly dark (and darkly humorous) flick so impressed Kirk Douglas that he hired Kubrick to direct Paths of Glory. (Dir. by Stanley Kubrick, 1956, USA, 85 mins., Not Rated) 35mm