"Often unfairly dismissed as a minor prelude to Stanley Kubrick
's work from his attention-demanding antiwar indictment Paths of Glory
onwards, 1956's The Killing finds the master imposing Big Direction on Small Ideas," argues Vadim Rizov at GreenCine Daily. "Instead of the headier themes associated with Kubrick — nuclear war, Vietnam, extraterrestrial monoliths — here is an 84-minute noir, adapted from a Lionel White
novel by expert nihilist Jim Thompson
, confined to the bare minimum of sets and a few street exteriors. The dialogue has Thompson's characteristic mean-spirited tone: when Sherry Peatty (Marie Windsor
) tells her lover Val Cannon (Vince Edwards
) about her meek husband George's (Elisha Cook Jr) upcoming involvement in a robbery, he scoffs. 'That meatball?' Sherry corrects him: 'A meatball with gravy.'"
"The first product of the reportedly strained, multi-film collaboration between Kubrick and Thompson, their incendiary script for The Killing remains cinematic legend, lightning trapped in