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The Killing (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (1956)

Sterling Hayden , Vince Edwards , Stanley Kubrick  |  NR |  Blu-ray
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Sterling Hayden, Vince Edwards, Elisha Cook Jr., Timothy Carey, Coleen Gray
  • Directors: Stanley Kubrick
  • Format: Blu-ray, Black & White, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • 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 (157 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005152C78
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,000 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
65 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kubrick Does Noir 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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55 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Did THE KILLING make a CLEAN BREAK from the Brinks'job? 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!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty noir classic, A lost Kubrick Gem! November 18, 1998
By A Customer
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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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
While not his first film, I do believe The Killing (1956) was the first film by writer/director/producer Stanley Kubrick to really showcase his talents and earn him the public, critical, and professional accolades that would eventually lead to bigger, more lavish productions like Spartacus (1960) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Based on a novel called "Clean Break", by Lionel White, the film was co-written and directed by Kubrick (Jim Thompson, who wrote the novel "The Grifters", wrote the dialog). Starring in the film is Sterling Hayden, whom I'll always remember best as the character of Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper from one of Kubrick's later films, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), and his stance on fluoridation (he was against it). Also appearing is Jay C. Flippen (Oklahoma!), Elisha Cook Jr. (House on Haunted Hill, Rosemary's Baby), Marie Windsor (Support Your Local Gunfighter), Vince Edwards ("Ben Casey"), Coleen Gray (The Leech Woman), Ted de Corsia (20000 Leagues Under the Sea), Joe Sawyer (The Challenge of Rin Tin Tin), Timothy Carey (One-Eyed Jacks), and Kola Kwariani, former professional wrestler `Nick the Wrestler' and chess expert, in his only silver screen appearance.

The story here details that of a `daring and methodical' heist of a horseracing track, which begins as we meet the principal participants...there's Johnny Clay (Hayden), the brains of the operation, Marvin Unger (Flippen) the money man, George Peatty (Cook) and Mike O'Reilly (Sawyer), both inside men (meaning they actually work at the track), and Randy Kennan (de Corsia), a crooked cop, who rounds out the core group.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Near perfect Noir
Hits every Noir note perfectly, Surprisingly pithy dialog between the sexes as well. This female lead can hold her own. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Karen Weeks
5.0 out of 5 stars IMPRESSIVE! A great "film noir" about a daring robbery - and...
I was very impressed with this 1956 "film noir", adapted from the novel "Clearn Break" by renowned crime novelist Lionel White, which was also the real debut of... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Maciej
5.0 out of 5 stars Review-in-a-nutshell: The Killing
THE KILLING: The Killing is a riveting, impeccably crafted and action packed film-noir-cum-heist-flick from early Stanley Kubrick. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Anthony L.
5.0 out of 5 stars great genre film
I enjoy old genre films and this was one of the best as was Sterling Hayden. I recommend it to those who like this kind of film
Published 2 months ago by MsJazz
5.0 out of 5 stars I know you know this, but Kubrick is unparalleled
The Killing is a must see for Kubrick fans. This movie is beautiful, moves at a thrilling pace, and contains one of my favorite lines from film to date, "Eh, what's the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Tom nord
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic film noir
This movie, a black and white film noir tale, is told as if being reported, and that technique gives tension even to scenes shown more than once. Well done, and well acted by all.
Published 2 months ago by Bearwife
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
A fun, heist film, one of those movies where you are rooting for the bad guys all along (no spoilers!).
Published 2 months ago by B. Storm
5.0 out of 5 stars Man do I love this film...
A solid 5 out of 5... This is one of the great Noir films ever made. Nothing but character actors in this film. Sterling Hayden is just part of a really great cast. Read more
Published 2 months ago by B. Sebastian
5.0 out of 5 stars Eh, what's the difference?
What can I say? It's a Kubrick film, if you haven't seen it yet, go and buy the Blu-ray, you will love it.
Published 2 months ago by S. E. Hermo
5.0 out of 5 stars A must see
The brilliant Stanley Kubrick is at his directorial best with this. Sterling Hayden stars in a heist movie to end all heist movies, and this isn't just a film noir by any stretch. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jamie Legon
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