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The Killing [DVD]

4.6 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards, Jay C. Flippen, Ted de Corsia
  • Directors: Stanley Kubrick
  • Writers: Stanley Kubrick, Jim Thompson, Lionel White
  • Producers: Alexander Singer, James B. Harris
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish, English, German
  • Dubbed: French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English, German
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 15 July 2002
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000068C3E
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,673 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Johnny Clay (Sterling Hayden) gets out of prison after a five-year stint and begins to put together plans for a million dollar race track heist. As he gathers his crew together, it seems that Johnny's plan is fool-proof and is sure to go off without a hitch. However, when gang member George Peatty (Elisha Cook Jr) tells his wife (Marie Windsor) about the plans, and she in turn tells her boyfriend (Vince Edwards), the seeds are sown for the whole operation's undoing.

From Amazon.co.uk

Among Stanley Kubrick's early film output The Killing stands out as the most lastingly influential: Quentin Tarantino credits the film as a huge inspiration for Reservoir Dogs and just about any movie or TV show that plays around with its own internal chronology owes the same debt. This sort of convoluted crime caper had really kicked off with John Huston's The Asphalt Jungle in 1950. From then on, nouveau noir scripts kept trying to find new ways of telling very similar stories. Here the novel Clean Break is adapted for the screen in a jigsaw-puzzle structure that caught Kubrick's eye. With a dry narration we're introduced to the key players in a racetrack heist as it's being planned, but the story bounces back and forth between what happens to each of them during and before the big event. All of this keeps the audience guessing as to exactly how it will go wrong, while the downbeat telling, the unsympathetic characters and the excessively dramatic score clearly foretell that it will go wrong from the start. The denouement is comically daft no matter how many times you see it.

On the DVD: The Killing is a no-frills DVD transfer, in 4:3 ratio and with its original mono soundtrack. Criminally, just one trailer is all that's been dug up as an extra. --Paul Tonks

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
During a span of 46 years, Stanley Kubrick made only 13 feature films, from "Fear and Desire (1953)" to "Eyes Wide Shut (1999)". Although each has its own charm and unique taste and style, none looks much like the other in terms of genre and theme. "The Killing" represents Kubrick's entrance into the dark shadowy world of film noir. He was the master of exploring the dusky side of human nature in his pictures, focusing on crime, deceit, betrayal and morality. So, film noir & Kubrick: what a perfect fit.

The term "killing" refers to an elaborate heist of a race track. The robbery is masterminded by ex-Alcatraz inmate Johnny Clay, who rounds up a motley assortment of crooks, most of whom are small-timers as well as insiders in the race track lounge. Clay and his trusted accomplices have different stories and motives. We know a lot about them because the movie has an unusually convulted narrative structure, which was ahead of its time albeit outdated today. Flipping back and forth in time, he introduces a character, takes him a certain way where each gets a chance to tell his version of the story. Such kind of flashbacks and flashforwards are used in heist sequence, reflecting the various aspects of the robbery in different space and time.

That non-linear storytelling works well with Kubrick's deft directorial touch, but when the film was first released in 1956, United Artists dumped it on the grounds that it was too weird for average viewer and nobody would sit through that. Then Kubrick decided to re-edit the film. After watching new version he absolutely hated it, and put it back the way first edited it. It was his very first triumph to gain absolute control over his work.
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By SJT on 5 Aug. 2012
Format: Blu-ray
With typical Amazon misleading sloppiness, the Criterion Blu-ray edition of this film is described as "a no-frills DVD transfer, in 4:3 ratio and with its original mono soundtrack. Criminally, just one trailer is all that's been dug up as an extra. --Paul Tonks". But of course it isn't. It's a BD absolutely festooned with extras, one of which is a whole other Kubrick film remastered in HD, "The Killer's Kiss", thrown in for free together with the umpteen interviews, documentaries and fat booklet. Never trust a word on Amazon concerning contents: always refer to something like Bluray.com for accurate information.
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By A Customer on 22 July 2002
Format: DVD
An early piece of cinema from acclaimed director Stanley Kubrick (2001, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket etc.) The story tells of a group of men who come together to rob a race-track in the middle of their biggest race. Each character has his own part to play in the crime and the robbery can't go ahead unless they all perfom their own part.
When it comes to the actual robbery, we get to see the crime form each man's point of view, which means the time of day repeatly shifts to keep up. It's a style not unlike 'Pulp Fiction' (Quentin Tarentino has said on many occasions that this is one of the films that inspired him to write that film as well as Resevoir Dogs)
You could say that the acting is wooden, or 2-dimensional, but it seems to fit the film noir setting of the piece. There is a 'True Romance' style shooting and a final twist at the end thrown in for good measure.
If you haven't seen this film before, you are missing out on a cracking bit of drama. It comes with Tarentino's seal of approval, and it's a Kubrick, what more do you want !!
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This is maybete best noir ever made along with Siodmak's The Killers. The story and the way it unfolds is even quite similar, playing with steo back and forth in time, with crime and betrayals, and a sense of pending destiny that none can escape. Full of great scenes and a bitter, unpredictable and hopeless ending. Fantastic blu ray edition
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Killing is directed by Stanley Kubrick who co-adapts to screenplay with Jim Thompson from the novel Clean Break written by Lionel White. It stars Sterling Hayden, Marie Windsor, Elisha Cook Jr, Vince Edwards, Jay C. Flippen and Coleen Gray. Music is by Gerald Fried and cinematography by Lucien Ballard.

Ex-con Johnny Clay (Hayden) has a plan to make a killing at the racetrack, with some special inside help he plots to nab $2 million in an intricate robbery. It looks a good thing, the right people are in place, but there's a potential spanner in the works in the shapely form of Sherry Peatty (Windsor), the unfaithful and devious wife of one of the robbers.

Cheaply made by Kubrick and his producer partner James B. Harris, The Killing is a lean and mean mid 50's film noir. Poorly received at the box office and met with indifference by critics on its release, it's a film that has come to be noted as hugely influential; more so as Kubrick's reputation grew over the passing years. Clocking in at under 85 minutes, film is told in a fractured narrative structure that at the time was viewed as an oddity. Story is constructed around crosscut flashbacks as the robbery is planned and then executed, Kubrick's direction as meticulous as the actual robbery itself. It's not hard to understand why confusion was an issue back on its release, but now it comes off as something of a masterstroke. Even if Kubrick was forced to tinker with the final product, adding in a voice-over to aid those troubled by the nonlinear narrative (which the director despised).

In spite of some problems, such as the cheapo sets and some stiff performances from secondary characters, The Killing is quintessential film noir.
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