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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb crime thriller
One of the best crime thriller movies that's ever been made. Lee Marvin is at his most menacing in an understated violence in keeping with the original short story by Hemmingway. Increasingly difficult and expensive to get, it is nonetheless essential viewing for anyone interested in tense and amoral drama.
Published on 8 Jan 2010 by CB

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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great idea but only a good film (contains spoilers)
The original Killers (1946) is a classic noir but the remake is not as good it has great idea: to follow the story from the two hitmen's point of view as they follow the money trail but gets a bit lost in the execution of the story. Two hitmen (Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager) arrive at a blind home to kill one of the teachers, Johnny North, played by John Cassavetes but one...
Published 23 months ago by Joseph


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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb crime thriller, 8 Jan 2010
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One of the best crime thriller movies that's ever been made. Lee Marvin is at his most menacing in an understated violence in keeping with the original short story by Hemmingway. Increasingly difficult and expensive to get, it is nonetheless essential viewing for anyone interested in tense and amoral drama.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Decent pulp fiction..., 9 July 2010
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This was apparently meant to be the first TV movie but the violence pushed it into cinemas & despite no budget, uncomplicated acting & a screenplay drawn with a marker pen I still really enjoy it. Lean, mean & straight to the point, it's a good little keep-away-from-gangsters-molls story capped by the inimitable Lee Marvin as an intelligent hitman.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Killers, 4 Nov 2011
I first saw this movie when I was still young and impressionable and boy, did Lee Marvin impress! And, watching it again after at least 45 years I was pleased to see that both Lee and the movie have stood the test of time. This is probably the kind of film that is purchased because one remembers the effect it had when first viewed and I was not disappointed with watching it again after all these years. Well made, good production values and this copy only suffers by having Danish subtitles which are a little distracting. I wish there was some way to turn them off. That aside, for those who like to remember how things were before schlock/horror became the norm this film is (for this reviewer at least) well worth a place in the dvd rack!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Arrow BD - The Killers - The Best TV Movie ever made!, 1 May 2014
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This review is from: The Killers [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This great movie was intended to be the first ever TV Movie but was deemed too violent to be shown on US TV (in the wake of the Kennedy assassination in Nov 63). It was always intended to be released abroad and indeed it was shown in UK cinemas.

Watching it these days on BD (released by Arrow Films in the UK), you can see it was a low budget movie but it truly is a classic.

'The Killers' was based on a short story by Ernest Hemingway and already had been filmed in 1946 with Burt Lancaster. The 1964 film is much, much better than the 1946 version. With Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, John Cassavetes starring and Don (Dirty Harry) Siegel directing, it was always going to very interesting. The film has also become notable for being Ronald Reagan's last ever film role (thankfully). It was also the first movie that Lee Marvin was given top billing.

Marvin (despite being half cut, his alcoholism was getting out of control) steals this movie as one of the contract killers (Charlie Storm). He just oozes meanness and looks so cool in every shot. The scenes at the end really showcase what a quality actor Marvin was in this sort of role.

Playing Marvin's sidekick is Clu Gulager who does a really good job with an impossible role. Trying to out act and be as cool as Marvin was truly impossible in this film.

The femme fatale is played by the beautiful Angie Dickinson who gets injured racing driver Johnny North (John Cassavetes) involved in a robbery which is masterminded by arch crook and businessman Jack Browning (Ronald Reagan). Reagan is truly awful in this movie, he is wooden and totally unbelievable as a gangster. He didn't want the role but had to take it because he badly needed the money. Lee Marvin despised Reagan (they had worked together in the 50s) and enjoyed trying to make Reagan look bad in The Killers'. They would do several takes of each scene, Marvin would deliberately do something different each time to try and put Reagan off. It never worked because Reagan just said his lines like he was reading a newspaper aloud.

There is a lot of unconvincing back projection in the movie. Check out the go kart scenes. And as for the view from Reagan's office window! It is a really obvious painted backdrop. But this was a movie originally made for TV and the budget was set low accordingly. The film is mostly set in Florida but clearly filmed on the Hollywood Universal back lot standing city set and the Californian (used for Florida) countryside looks remarkably like Hazzard County. I half expected to see the General Lee.

The violence seems quite tame by today's standards but the opening scenes where Marvin and Gulager casually stroll into the school for the blind, terrorise the blind receptionist and carry out a hit is really powerful stuff.

The BD looks truly amazing (a few very minor marks on the print here and there) and I recommend this film to crime movie fans. The extras (as per usual for an Arrow release) are fantastic and very informative. 10/10.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE KILLERS (1964) BLU RAY RELEASE, ARROW FILMS, 23 April 2014
This review is from: The Killers [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
THE KILLERS (1964) BLU RAY RELEASE, ARROW FILMS
Based on the short story by Ernest Hemingway, Don Siegel’s movie was a remake of the 1946 Robert Siodmak film of the same name. Originally, the film was to be one of the first to be made for American TV; however NBC deemed the film too violent for TV and subsequently the film was shown in theatres. The move to theatres may have been considered as a blessing in disguise, as the film enjoyed some rather good reviews in America. In Europe however, it proved even more successful, in fact, in the UK, The Killers went on to receive a 1966 BAFTA for Lee Marvin in the Best Foreign Actor category. So it is with a great deal of excitement that we welcome Arrow’s new Blu Ray release of this cult classic and consider how it holds up some 50 years on.
Charlie Strom (Lee Marvin) is a cold blooded and experienced hit man. Along with his young partner Lee (Clu Gulager), we join them as they enter a suburban school for the blind. Suited smartly and wearing dark glasses, it soon becomes apparent that the nature of their visit is far from pleasant. After violently attacking the (blind) receptionist, Charlie and Lee proceed to search the corridors of the school in search of their prey Johnny North (John Cassavetes). North, a one-time big shot race driver, is now teaching car engineering at the school. Whilst North is alerted that two men are in the school and closing in on him, he makes no attempt to flee from the scene. After Charlie and Lee crash the classroom and get confirmation of their target, North stands there, unflinching in his fate – and openly receives the killers’ bullets.
It is obvious from these opening five minutes that we are witnessing something rather interesting. Firstly, there is the violence. Whilst Charlie’s attack on the blind receptionist takes place off camera, the heightened sound of her brutal attack plays havoc in the mind’s eye. The atmosphere is loaded to the max – witnessed first by Lee’s teasing tension building, the tipping of a vase of water over the her desk, the mocking gesture of his fingers in front of her blank, expressionless face. Suddenly, it becomes rather clear what may have been going through the heads of NBC bosses upon their initial viewing of the film! Secondly, Siegel cleverly employs the ‘Dutch Angle’ (or oblique angle) technique when focusing on his two hit men as they both survey the school corridors. Not only does he succeed in creating a rather unsettling POV for the audience – but arguably suggests that we are certainly observing a couple of ‘unbalanced’ characters. Originating from German expressionism in the 1920s, the procedure was (somewhat relevantly) used to depict ‘madness or unrest’ – making it a rather interesting choice of direction on Siegel’s part. Thirdly, there is Johnny North’s execution and the use of slow motion photography to showcase his death. While Sam Peckinpah (who was a protégé of Siegel) had used slow motion on TV in The Losers in 1963, Siegel’s use in The Killers is an extreme and early example of its use (particularly in such violent fashion) in American cinema.
Following on from the opening ‘hit’, Charlie and Lee are on a train, Charlie is somewhat troubled by North’s final actions, he’s never seen a man just stand there and take it. Figuring there may have been more to this than a simple hit, they decide to investigate deeper. They detour to Miami and track down North’s racing partner Earl Sylvester (Claude Akins) who spills the story of North’s involvement with the stunning Sheila Farr (Angie Dickinson). From here on, the back story of a mail heist is slowly revealed involving Mickey Farmer (Norman Fell) and Jack Browning (Ronald Reagan). Reagan appears here in his last film role before taking up politics and eventually becoming governor of California in 1966. Gathering up the information and setting the pieces of the jigsaw in place, Charlie and Lee track down the individuals in order to find the missing loot and retire on the proceeds. A path of deceit, revenge and double crosses soon begins to emerge and eventually leads to a bloody climax.
Arrow’s Blu Ray release of The Killers looks far better than I could have ever imagined. It is certainly a stylish presentation, apart from a very rare blemish or dirt spec it is a very nice, clean print which also benefits from a fine level of film grain. The Black detail is fairly consistent throughout, whilst colours are vibrant (as one would expect for a title of this period), resulting in a rich, realistic pallet with beautifully detailed flesh tones. Unlike a lot of 60s films, The Killers offers little room to hide in terms of detail, there are no soft focus shots when it comes to close ups of Angie Dickinson - but it remains clear, with great depth and fine texture. Obvious composites such as back projection on the train with Charlie and Lee can look a little fuzzier, but hey, this is the 1960s and representative of everything that we’ve come to love about the period. Sound is presented in clear, uncompressed 2.0 mono PCM audio.
Because the film was originally filmed in Academy Ratio (for TV) Arrow has had the good sense to present both the 1.33:1 version and the theatrical matted 1.85:1 (16:9) version. I have to say, after watching both versions I was very impressed by the matted version. I’m usually somewhat critical of this process, as of course the 1.33:1 contains more picture information. But the framing here is really very good indeed, and naturally this is down to director Siegel. I know he was good, but really, did he know something we didn’t! Nevertheless, with Arrow including both versions on their disc, they have certainly eliminated themselves from any negative criticism – ‘should have used this, shouldn't have used that…’ so top marks for making that decision.
There are also some very nice extras including Reagan Kills: an interview with New York Times bestselling writer Marc Eliot, author of ‘Ronald Reagan: The Hollywood Years’. Then there is Screen Killer: interview with Dwayne Epstein, author of ‘Lee Marvin: Point Blank’ a very entertaining and detailed 30 minute feature. Plus there is also a rare archive interview with Don Siegel (1984) from the French television series ‘Cinéma Cinémas’ and, to round off a very nice package, there is also a gallery of rare behind-the-scenes images.
The Blu Ray comes with a reversible sleeve containing both the wonderful original artwork (contained here) and a newly commissioned design by Nathanael Marsh. Again, Arrow seems to have covered every eventuality in this department, satisfying both the purists and those open to more modern concepts. Whilst unable to give full details, there is also a booklet featuring new writing on the film by Mike Sutton, extracts from Don Siegel’s autobiography and contemporary reviews plus illustrations of original lobby cards, which I'm sure, would have been a most enjoyable read. Overall, The Killers remains both an important and incredibly powerful film that continues to flex a whole lot of muscle. Lovers of 60s Cinema, Screen heroes, Don Siegel or simply great movies in general, will certainly lap this one up. Miss it at your peril!
Darren Allison, Cinema Retro Magazine
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best tv movie ever made, 25 Sep 2011
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Mrgvase - See all my reviews
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this started off being made for the us tv networks but was too violent in 1964,so went out first in the cinema,and it still feels tough,Clu Gulager is a real nasty hitman and plays it well,he oozes evil and for my money one of the best supporting actors ever.This was Renald Regans last movie and Lee Marvin has said his best film to work on.If you wish to watch an old movie make sure this is on your list,5 star in all departments,as for this thailand produced dvd 120% for picture and sound,a stunning copy all round fantastic picture, crystal clear colour reproduction and has some 5.1 surround on the soundtrack,no other copy has that,if new to world movie legends dvd video from the far east,no worries I have half a dozen and not one has let me down,try also PRIME CUT another Marvin film,on this series of disc`s,it`s better than any western produced dvd.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Killers, 4 Mar 2012
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John Graham - See all my reviews
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I've always liked this early made for TV movie.
The story is interesting and there are many great actors not normally seen together in a film directed for the small screen.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So Much Going On, 24 Sep 2010
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As an influential text for things to come there is so much going on in this film. This is a Scandinavian issue as it is obviously now becoming harder and harder to obtain. Well worth buying if you're somebody who likes to marvel at stuff related to gender modelling, violence, genre transformation, the iconography of past presidents and the cult of absolute cool in Hollywood films.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The only man who isn't afraid of dying is dead already., 21 Nov 2012
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
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The Killers is directed by Don Siegel and adapted to screenplay by Gene L. Coon from the short story written by Ernest Hemmingway. It stars Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, Clu Gulager, John Cassavetes, Ronald Reagan and Claude Akins. Music is by John Williams and cinematography by Richard L. Rawlings.

Hitmen Charlie (Marvin) and Lee (Gulager) enter a school for the blind and gun down motor mechanic teacher Johnny North (Cassavetes). He doesn't resist. Why? This question bothers Charlie and he sets about finding out...

It's difficult when reading the name The Killers to not think of the 1946 film made by Robert Siodmak, a film that is revered as one of the quintessential movies of film noir. But Don Siegel's film, a re-jigging of the plot, is well worthy of consideration as quintessential neo-noir.

Originally slated to be the first made for TV movie as part of a new era for movies on television, the film was pulled by NBC for being too violent. With the film also featuring a murder by sniper scene, the recent assassination of John F. Kennedy by sniper ensured The Killers was temporarily on unsafe ground. With Ronald Reagan making his last appearance on film before moving into politics, unusually playing a villain no less, the 64 version of The Killers has a bit of history.

It's a film about double-crossing, murder and fateful yearnings, featuring amoral characters in a wonderfully constructed story that is told in flashbacks! Photographed in bright, almost garish, colours, it's very much the polar opposite to Siodmak's version, well visually at least, but it is very effective and striking, almost enhancing the lurid nature of Coon's screenplay. It's an aggressive film where the violence packs a punch, and the ending has a considerable black heart.

The cast are mostly effective. Marvin and Gulager's hitman pairing are deliberately off kilter in terms of personality, and it's these two that propel the movie forward (backwards really). Cassavetes makes interesting work as live wire dupe Johnny, Akins does good as a pal watching on helplessly as Johnny loses his life footings and Dickinson sizzles as she fatalises the femme. Weak link is Reagan, who looks ill at ease playing a tough villain type. It's no surprise to learn later on down the line that he wasn't very fond of the role.

Good quality neo-noir crafted by a man who knew how to do the real deal back in the day. 7.5/10
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The killers, 4 Sep 2011
Lee Marvin at his menacing best. Interwoven stories of why the killers were hired to get even bring this crime thriller to an existing climax.
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