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The Killing (Criterion Collection)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Sterling Hayden, Vince Edwards, Elisha Cook Jr., Timothy Carey, Coleen Gray
  • Directors: Stanley Kubrick
  • Writers: Lionel White
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: August 16, 2011
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005152C9G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,768 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack

New video interview with producer James B. Harris

Excerpts of interviews with actor Sterling Hayden from the French television series Cinéma cinémas

New video interview with film scholar Robert Polito about writer Jim Thompson and his work on The Killing

Restored transfer of Stanley Kubrick’s 1955 noir feature Killer’s Kiss

New video appreciation of Killer’s Kiss with film critic Geoffrey O’Brien

Theatrical trailers

PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film historian Haden Guest and a reprinted interview with Marie Windsor on The Killing


Editorial Reviews

Stanley Kubrick’s account of an ambitious racetrack robbery is one of Hollywood’s tautest, twistiest noirs. Aided by a radically time-shuffling narrative, razor-sharp dialogue from pulp novelist Jim Thompson, and a phenomenal cast of character actors, including Sterling Hayden (Dr. Strangelove), Coleen Gray (Red River), Timothy Carey (Paths of Glory), and Elisha Cook Jr. (The Maltese Falcon), The Killing is both a jaunty thriller and a cold-blooded punch to the gut. And with its precise tracking shots and gratifying sense of irony, it’s Kubrick to the core.

Customer Reviews

One of the best films I have ever seen is The Killing.
Mad Zack
This is the first film by Stanley Kubrick and it is a very well done film noir for having such a low budget.
K. Booth
While everything seemed to go just perfectly, in the end there is a bad case of karma.
blindreality

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on October 27, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
An ex-con engineers a race track heist in "The Killing," a taut and suspenseful film noir from director Stanley Kubrick. Johnny Clay (Sterling Hayden) is fresh out of Alcatraz after five years, and immediately goes to work on a job he figures to be worth upwards of two million dollars. He puts together a gang who are not real criminals, just "Some guys with problems and a little larceny in them." Marvin (Jay C. Flippen) is good for some front money Johnny needs; George (Elisha Cook Jr.) is a cashier at the track, and Mike (Joe Sawyer) is a bartender there; Randy (Ted de Corsia) is a cop with loan shark payment problems. Clay's got it all figured out, a precision plan that can't go wrong as long as everyone does his part and keeps quiet about it, before and after. But George has a wife, Sherry (Marie Windsor), who wants nice things, and he can't resist the temptation to let her know it's all going to get better real soon. Trouble is, Sherry has a boyfriend, Val (Vince Edwards), who has more than a little larceny in him, as well. As it is with all "perfect" plans, there are, after all, imperfections. The presentation of this film is not one of them, however; Kubrick keeps the tension high throughout, working with a tight narrative and an out of sequence chronology through which he dispenses bits of information, building the suspense, until it all fits together in the end like pieces of a giant puzzle (Much the same as Tarantino would do with "Pulp Fiction" many years later). The stoic delivery, coupled with the stark black and white photography of the film, creates an almost surreal, fatalistic ambience that works so well with this material; especially at the end, for it underscores the climax and heightens the drama of the final moment, all of which makes for a truly unforgettable scene.Read more ›
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57 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Brian A. Glennon on November 13, 2002
Format: DVD
The movie: THE KILLING (1956) by Stanley Kubrick, was the film which brought the twenty-eight year old director to Hollywood's attention. Based on the 1955 crime novel CLEAN BREAK by Lionel White (and re-named THE KILLING for its 1988 redistribution), director Kubrick incorporated the author's use of the staggered time interval (which began in chapter eight) within this well balanced and tightly paced story of seven disparate characters brought together to orchestrate a logically planned two million dollar robbery of a race track in broad daylight.
A brilliant effort of film making by Stanley Kubrick as he demonstrated an impeccable choice in cast selection, choosing established 'B' movie actors such as: Elisha Cook, Jr. as George Peatty and Jay C. Flippen as Marvin Unger (both actors had appeared in "The Three Stooges" skits more than once); then Sterling Hayden as the main character, Johnny Clay: though one of the beauties of this film is that all of the actors had such memorable performances. The limited acting abilities of these stars only added to the subtle gritty reality of their lumpenprolitariat roles which carried this film as much as any special effect.
While Stanley Kubrick wrote the screenplay and maintained a number of elements from the book, he eliminated Lionel White's character of Maurice Cohen and had Johnny Clay assume those duties; and also replaced the boxer, Tex, with the burly (and hairy) wrestler Maurice Oboukhof for the spectacular bar room fight diversion. In the book, Marvin Unger deeply despised Johnny Clay; but in the movie, Unger demonstrated a fatherly pride and deep paternal admiration for Johnny Clay - the movie is noted for its admirable male commeraderie!
Read more ›
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 18, 1998
Listen up Noir fans - get this film! The Killing is nothing short of brilliant. This little-known gem is also the U.S. directing debut of - hold onto your fedora - Stanley Kubrick! True fans of Noir crime fiction will also appreciate this: guess who wrote the screenplay? The master himself, Jim Thompson (also wrote the novels The Grifters, Aftter Dark..., The Killer Inside Me, Heed The Thunder). This film is a classic "caper" flick with Sterling Hayden giving us his terse, gruff best as the leader of a gang who wants to pull a payroll heist. Trouble, big, violent, ugly trouble ensues. I won't spoil it for you, but I promise this flick delivers in a big way and it is surprising how much they got away with given the year this baby was shot. Unlike many movies of the era, this thing pulls no punches and is about as subtle as a brass-knuckle sandwich. Footnote: real fans of the noir genre may also appreciate this. James Ellroy, author of L.A. Confidential (to name just one of his many outstanding novels), cited The Killing as his favorite film of all time and the inspiration behind many of his stories and characters.
ENJOY!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By ixta_coyotl on October 23, 2004
Format: DVD
If you haven't seen this yet, do yourself a favor and watch John Huston's Asphalt Jungle (1950) first. The Killing is an informal sequel/tribute which in my humble opinion is even better. I must admit I am not a big fan of Stanley Kubrick but I thought this film was great. It lacks star power but the performances are all excellent nonetheless and the story is innovative, tightly wound, and thoroughly entertaining. I should also mention that I thought Tarantino & Avary were primarily influenced by the likes of Melville, Truffaut, & Godard, but I now see that this film was at least as influential upon his neo gangsteresque mojo movement as anything from the French new wave. In fact it looks as if Tarantino borrowed excessively from here for the non-linear plot structure of his Pulp Fiction. In my opinion Stanley Kubrick's The Killing deserves a spot somewhere behind The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, and Touch of Evil as one of the better film noir efforts ever produced.
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