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The Killers

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The Killers (1964)

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There is more than one way to kill a man!

Don Siegel directed this intensely pessimistic re-make of Robert Siodmak's 1946 film noir masterpiece The Killers, based upon a story by Ernest Hemingway. As the story opens two professional looking men in business suits -- Charlie (Lee Marvin) and Lee (Clu Gulager) -- push their way into a school for the blind and terrorize a secretary until she reveals the whereabouts of Johnny North (John Cassavetes). When Charlie and Lee trace Johnny to an automobile repair class, Johnny just stands there as the two men gun him down. Afterwards, Charlie wonders why Johnny just stood there, accepting his death. He also starts to wonder about his hefty paycheck for the murder and rumors that Johnny was involved in a million-dollar heist. He decides to pay Johnny's old friend Earl Sylvester (Claude Akins) a visit at his auto shop in Florida. Earl recalls the summer day long ago when former race car driver Johnny caught the eye of the rich and beautiful Sheila Farr (Angie Dickinson). Johnny has been preparing for a race, but Sheila's attentions sidetrack him. The day of the big race, Earl notices that Sheila is visited by a group of rich gangsters, headed by Browning (Ronald Reagan, in a very surprising performance). During the race, Johnny is involved in a terrible crash, effectively ending his racing career. However, it seems Browning is arranging a mail heist and hires Johnny to drive the getaway car.

The Killers, sometimes marketed as Ernest Hemingway's The Killers, is a 1964 crime film directed by Don Siegel, starring Lee Marvin, John Cassavetes, Angie Dickinson and Ronald Reagan, and released by Universal Studios. The movie remains notable for being future U.S. president Reagan's last theatrical film before entering politics as well as the only one in which he plays the role of a villain.

The picture is the second Hollywood adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's short story of the same name, following a version made in 1946 starring Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner.

At the time of its release, Marvin said that it was his favorite film.[1] The supporting cast features Clu Gulager, Claude Akins, and Norman Fell.

Charlie and Lee, two hired killers, go to an institution for the blind where they shoot Johnny North, a teacher there. Curious to know why they were paid so highly to kill a man who made no resistance and suspecting that North had been involved in a million-dollar robbery some years earlier, the killers piece together his past and begin following his former associates in hopes of finding the money. They learn that North had been an ace racing driver until he had become involved with Sheila Farr, a girl kept by a middle-aged gangster named Browning, who is now masquerading as a respectable businessman. (Disillusioned when he learned of Sheila's involvement, and injured in a crash, North worked as a mechanic until Sheila found him and persuaded him to drive the car in a robbery planned by Browning. She and North had supposedly doublecrossed Browning and absconded with the money.) Charlie and Lee find Sheila and learn that she had actually doublecrossed North by leading him direct to Browning, whom she had married, and that North was shattered by her betrayal. The killers confront Browning with Sheila. Browning kills Lee and wounds Charlie, but Charlie hunts Browning down and kills both him and Sheila before dying himself as he attempts to escape with the money.

Release Date: July 7, 1964

Distrib: Universal


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