Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Killers

Ernest Hemingway's The Killers : The Criterion Collection is about as complete a collection as I have encountered- 2 feature length editions of the Killers- the 1946 black and white noir version directed by Robert Siodmak starring Burt Lancaster,Edmond O'Brien & Ava Gardner,the 1964 version starring Lee Marvin with a supporting cast that includes Claude Akins(sheriff Lobo), John Cassavettes, Norman Fell(Mr.Roper), Angie Dickinson & future president Ronald Reagan.Both versions have merit- the 46 version features a great performance by Burt Lancaster as the doomed Boxer Ole Anderson,tons of great Siodmak shots and the lovely Ava Gardner.The 1964 version is very different - it strays far afield from the Hemingway short story( the screenplay is by future Star Trek exec Gene L. Coon)- the athlete is now a race car driver- we see Lee Marvin in a dry run for his future role as cold-blooded killer in Point Blank and we see the oddest group of supporting actors all doing a good job- Ronald Reagen as the plotting and scheming bad guy- with his sidekick Norman Fell- we see Claude Akins loyal to the point of tears- we also get a disturbing opening and a great ending- it is a flawed movie- but worth seeing.I am not going to say the 46 is flawless- but it is gripping from the opening dinette scene to the climax.The DVD also features a student film version of the Killers by Andrei Tarkovsky, an audiobook reading by Stacey Keach and a radio theater version with Lancaster and Shelley Winters.The DVD also has essays on film noir and a video essay by Stuart Kaminsky. A

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