Film Notes: The Killers (1946) directed by Robert Siodmak


Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

This entry is a contribution to November crime fiction of the year meme hosted by Rich Westwood over at his blog Past Offences. The year chosen for November was #1946.

USA / 97 minutes/ BW / Universal Pictures Dir: Robert Siodmak Pro: Mark Hellinger Scr: Anthony Veiller Story: taken from a short story by Ernest Hemingway Cine: Woody Bredell Mus: Miklos Rozsa Cast: Burt Lancaster (Swede), Ava Gardner (Kitty Collins), Edmond O’Brien (Riordan), Albert Dekker (Colfax), Sam Levene (Lubinsky), Jack Lambert (Dum Dum), John Miljan (Jake), Charles McGraw (Al), William Conrad (Max). Release Date: 28 August 1946 (USA)

https://i2.wp.com/www.filmsite.org/posters/killers3.jpgThe Killers is a 1946 American film noir directed by Robert Siodmak and based in part on the short story of the same name by Ernest Hemingway. The film stars Burt Lancaster in his film debut, Ava Gardner, Edmond O’Brien, and Sam Levene. The film also features William Conrad in his first credited role, as one of the titular killers. An uncredited John Huston and Richard Brooks co-wrote the screenplay, which was credited to Anthony Veiller. In 2008, The Killers was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant“.(from Wikipedia)

Plot summary: A pair of contract killers arrive to a small town looking for a man known as “the Swede” (Burt Lancaster). The Swede’s co-worker warns him but he just makes a laconic remark about having done one bad thing in the past. And, strangely enough, he makes no attempt to escape. They kill him. An insurance detective Jim Reardon (Edmond O’Brien) is assigned to the case. He’s determined to reconstruct the life of the Swede, interviewing many of those who had known him. It turns out that he was a broken-down boxer who fell into crime and became involved in a major robbery.

The film structure is reminiscent of Citizen Kane. The story is told through flashbacks where those who had known “the Swede”, give their side of the story to an insurance detective. Despite some flaws in the plot, the story is very powerful thanks to an excellent film directing and an effective interpretation. Highly recommended.

Read more about The Killers at Filmsite Movie Review

Notas de cine: Forajidos (1946), dirigida por Robert Siodmak

The Killers (Forajidos) es una película estadounidense de 1946 dirigida por Robert Siodmak y basada en parte en el cuento de Ernest Hemingway del mismo título. La película está protagonizada Burt Lancaster en su debut cinematográfico, Ava Gardner, Edmond O’Brien, y Sam Levene. La película también cuenta con la participación de William Conrad en su primer papel como uno de los asesinos a sueldo. John Huston y Richard Brooks participaron en el guión aunque no figuran en los títulos de la película en donde sólo se menciona como guionista a Anthony Veiller. En el 2008, The Killers fue seleccionada para su conservación en el Registro Nacional Cinematográfico de los Estados Unidos por la Biblioteca del Congreso por su importancia cultural, histórica o estética. (De Wikipedia)

Argumento: Un par de asesinos a sueldo llegan a un pequeño pueblo en busca de un hombre conocido como “el sueco” (Burt Lancaster). Su compañero de trabajo le advierte pero él sólo hace un lacónico comentario de haber hecho una cosa mal en su pasado. Y, por extraño que parezca, no tiene intención alguna de escapar. Lo matan. Un detective de seguros Jim Reardon (Edmond O’Brien) es asignado al caso. Reardon está decidido a reconstruir la vida del sueco, entrevistando a muchos de los que lo habían conocido. Resulta que era un boxeador acabado que cayó en la delincuencia y se vio envuelto en un importante robo.

La estructura de la película recuerda a Ciudadano Kane. La historia está narrada a través de flashbacks donde los que habían conocido a “el sueco”, dan su versión de los hechos a un detective de seguros. A pesar de algunos defectos en la trama, la historia es muy potente gracias a una excelente dirección cinematográfica y a una interpretación eficaz. Muy recomendable.

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2 thoughts on “Film Notes: The Killers (1946) directed by Robert Siodmak

  1. A classic of its era – the opening, which is pretty much the entire short story, may even be the most faithful depiction of Hemingway in a Hollywood film though after that it does get incredibly complicated – great stuff, beautifully shot by Woody Bredell – and Siodmak was a master at this kind of stuff.

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