“The Killing” (1956) directed by Stanley Kubrick, starring Sterling Hayden / Z-View

The Killing (1956) 

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Screenplay: Stanley Kubrick; dialogue by Jim Thompson; based on CLEAN BREAK by Lionel White

Stars: Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Jay C. Flippen, Ted de Corsia, Marie Windsor, Elisha Cook Jr., Joe Sawyer, James Edwards, Timothy Carey, Kola Kwariani, Dorothy Adams, James Griffith, Joe Turkel, William ‘Billy’ Benedict, Charles Cane, Robert B. Williams and Vince Edwards

Tagline: These 5 Men Had a $2,000,000 Secret Until One of them told this Woman!

The Plot…

Johnny Clay (Hayden) has been a crook his whole life.  Now he’s ready to settle down and marry Fay (Gray). Johnny has planned one last score.  It will be big.  Two million dollars big. He’s going to knock over a race track.

Johnny has put together his team: two race track workers in need of cash, a cop on the take, a sniper and a pro wrestler.  Johnny has planned for every contingency… except one.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

The Killing is arguably Stanley Kubrick’s best film.  Kirk Douglas loved it so much, he got Kubrick to direct Douglas’ next film, Paths of Glory.  Two years later, when Douglas fired Anthony Mann early in the filming of Spartacus, Douglas turned to Kubrick to finish the film.

The studio didn’t like the non-linear structure of The Killing.  Re-editing only made things more confusing. So it was released in the non-linear form Kubrick wanted.  Quentin Tarantino claims The Killing is a huge influence on the format of  Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction.

Kola Kwariani (the chess playing pro wrestler) and Stanley Kubrick would often play chess in a chess/checker lounge as shown in the film.

In a film full of memorable co-star performances, Timothy Carey stands out for his uniquely strange acting.

The Killing (1956)  rates 5 of 5 stars.