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The Killers (1964)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 30 May 1964 (Japan)
Surprised that their contract victim didn't try to run away from them, two professional hit men try to find out who hired them and why.

Director:

(as Donald Siegel)

Writers:

(story), (screenplay)
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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Sheila Farr
...
...
Lee
...
...
Mickey Farmer
...
...
Miss Watson
...
Mail Truck Driver
...
George Fleming
Kathleen O'Malley ...
Miss Leslie - the receptionist
Ted Jacques ...
Gym Assistant
Irvin Mosley Jr. ...
Mail Truck Guard (as Irvin Mosley)
Jimmy Joyce ...
Salesman
...
Maître D'
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Storyline

A remake of The Killers (1946) which itself was inspired by the Ernest Hemingway short story. Told instead from the hitmen's point of view, the killers decide to find out why their latest victim (a race car driver) "just stood there and took it" when they came to shoot him. They also figure on collecting more money. Ronald Reagan plays a rich, double-crossing financier. Lovely Angie Dickinson plays the femme fatale. Written by Mark Logan <marklo@west.sun.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

There is more than one way to kill a man! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 May 1964 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Ernest Hemingway's The Killers  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Eastman Color by Pathé)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Don Siegel, it was the policy at Universal at the time to shoot the last scene of the film first. On that first day of filming, according to Siegel and Clu Gulager, Lee Marvin arrived late and had been drinking, but because he had no dialogue, the scenes were used as shot. See more »

Goofs

Towards end of film, camera shadow is visible on Jack Browning's rifle case as he exits his car. See more »

Quotes

Charlie Strom: [referring to Mickey Farmer] He knows me. I had to lean on him once.
Lee: You know 'em all, don't ya?
Charlie Strom: You never know them all.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Icarus Descending (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Too Little Time
Music by Henry Mancini
Lyrics by Don Raye
Sung by Nancy Wilson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Lee Marvin vs. Ronald Reagan--What a matchup!
31 March 2005 | by (Fly-Over Country) – See all my reviews

One of Hollywood's greater contract directors, Donald Siegel, brought Hemmingway's short story to TV, but NBC turned it down because, for 1964, it was too damn brutal. Although it pales in comparison to the 1946 original, this cheap (thanks to the gawd-awful production values of Universal in the sixties) remake holds it own.

When button-men Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager show up at a school for the blind to empty their silenced revolvers into former race-car driver John Cassavetes, they don't expect him to just stand there and take it. Marvin, exuding clean-smelling and lean menace and Gulager, a carrot-juice swilling sociopath travel cross-country in their search for Cassavetes' story. They find that the race driver, washed up after a near-fatal crash gains employment with mobster Ronald Reagan (I can just see Ronnie giving Gorbachev the same look at the 1986 summit that he gives Cassavetes when the driver challenges the mobster for control of Reagan's girl, Angie Dickinson). After lots of double-crosses and a fair amount of "why did he or she do that?," Marvin comes calling at Reagan's door.

Lee Marvin was excellent when portraying a killing machine and he holds the movie together. He and Gulager are there to punctuate the sometimes good and sometimes not-so-good flashbacks and they are suave and eerily debonair grim reapers. If anything, they're more interesting than the flashbacks; all good action flicks need good bad guys and Reagan looks too bored with the whole thing. Is it possible that, after seeing him so successful and upbeat for eight years in the White House, a grim and petty Reagan seems anachronistic? Yet, it really is Marvin who makes this movie rise above the cheap production values, the cheesy matte photography, and the canned John(ny) Williams score.

Marvin was about to begin a string of successes that would last into the early seventies. That voice is so distinctive! When he talked, he sounded, as another reviewer once said, "like a dinosaur growling." He is so evil and you can't stop liking him. Although Marvin and Robert DeNiro are completely different actors, they both have the same effect on me when they inhabit the screen--I stop doing everything else and just watch them. Pure charisma. When asked by David Letterman why he was so popular, Lee Marvin simply grinned and, with his index finger extended, growled, "Ratatatat!" Don Siegel would go on to make other tough movies; his style was clean, tough, and with just enough style to leave the audience with a satisfied taste in it's mouth. Under his direction, Clint Eastwood would establish himself as a superstar. One can only imagine how far Marvin would have gotten under the command of the button-man director!


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