The Killers (Universal 1946, Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner)

In The Killers┬áinsurance investigator (Edmund O’Brien) digs up crime, betrayal, and a glamorous woman (Ava Gardner in best femme fatale mode) behind an ex-fighter’s (and current gas-station attendant’s) death. Classic noir from Robert Siodmak, a master of the genre, scripted by Anthony Veiller with an uncredited assist from John Huston, based on a story by Ernest Hemingway (Huston and Hemingway were close friends). Burt Lancaster made a sizzling film debut in the role of Swede, the murdered boxer.

Miklos Rozsa’s main theme was later borrowed for the opening sequence of TV’s Dragnet.

Ava Gardner said of Mark Hellinger, the producer who cast her in The Killers: “Mark saw me as an actress, not a sexpot. He gave me a feeling of the responsibility of being a movie star, which I had never for a moment felt before.

The Killers Lancaster and Gardner

Academy Award Nominations: 4, including Best Director and Best Screenplay.

Cast: Burt Lancaster, Edmond O’Brien, Ava Gardner, Albert Dekker, Sam Levene, John Miljan, Virginia Christine, Vince Barnett, Charies D. Brown, Donald MacBride, Phil Brown, Charles McGraw, William Conrad,

Director: Robert Siodmak
Producer: Mark Hellinger
Director of Photography: Elwood Bredell
Editor: Arthur Hilton
Composer: Miklos Rozsa
Screenwriters: John Huston, Anthony Veiller
Costume Designer: Vera West

USA / Universal / 105 minutes / 1946

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