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The Killers - 1946 vs. 1964

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Re: The Killers - 1946 vs. 1964

Postby ChiO » March 11th, 2010, 12:31 am

Are there examples of docu-noir hybrids that work better than these two films?


There are several. The ones at the top of my list are THE PHENIX CITY STORY (Karlson, 1955) and THE LINEUP (Siegel, 1958).
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Re: The Killers - 1946 vs. 1964

Postby MikeBSG » March 27th, 2010, 1:03 pm

I was channel-surfing this morning, waiting for the tree surgeon to show up, when I came across the 1946 "Killers" on TCM.

I came in at the end of Charleston's flashback. (Ah, Vince Barnett) I couldn't turn away from the movie. I watched Blinky's death scene, Riorden getting the drop on Dum-Dum, and enjoyed Lubinsky needling Riorden and saving his life. This is just one of my favorite noirs.

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Re: The Killers - 1946 vs. 1964

Postby movieman1957 » May 19th, 2011, 12:32 pm

I watched the 1946 version this morning. The plot dies get a little convoluted along the way. One thing I thought odd from the beginning was the time and effort into an investigation of a $2500 life insurance policy. Find the beneficiary and you're done. The transition to the bigger crime might have been accomplished sooner.

I think everyone is good. I thought O'Brien did well in the less glamorous role but one that was crucial and well played. The opening scene is good. Plenty of tension. I thought Conrad and McGraw were going to kill the three men anyway. Just toying with them gave them some fun. This is one you have to stay on top of or you'll miss the fact you're in a flashback. I enjoyed it.

Having never seen the '64 version I'll have to watch to compare.
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Re: The Killers - 1946 vs. 1964

Postby moira finnie » May 19th, 2011, 12:54 pm

movieman1957 wrote:I watched the 1946 version this morning. The plot dies get a little convoluted along the way. One thing I thought odd from the beginning was the time and effort into an investigation of a $2500 life insurance policy. Find the beneficiary and you're done. The transition to the bigger crime might have been accomplished sooner.

Yeah, but then again, Chris, wasn't $2500 more like $25k back then? And who would want to deprive Eddie "Sweaty" O'Brien of the sight and company of Kitty Collins (Ava Gardner)?

movieman1957 wrote:I think everyone is good. I thought O'Brien did well in the less glamorous role but one that was crucial and well played. The opening scene is good. Plenty of tension. I thought Conrad and McGraw were going to kill the three men anyway. Just toying with them gave them some fun. This is one you have to stay on top of or you'll miss the fact you're in a flashback. I enjoyed it.

Thanks for reviving this thread..."Bright Boy!" ;-)
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Re: The Killers - 1946 vs. 1964

Postby JackFavell » May 19th, 2011, 1:42 pm

I agree, it does get a little lost somewhere in the middle, partly because the beginning comes on like gangbusters... it's hard to top. Would have been nice to see a few more steamy scenes with Ava and Burt, but I don't think Burt could have taken it at the time. :D

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Re: The Killers - 1946 vs. 1964

Postby movieman1957 » May 19th, 2011, 2:06 pm

Moira said:
Yeah, but then again, Chris, wasn't $2500 more like $25k back then? And who would want to deprive Eddie "Sweaty" O'Brien of the sight and company of Kitty Collins (Ava Gardner)?

Even today $25K is practically nothing. You need a story though. It launches the rest of it. I didn't get a lot from Ava. She's lovely to be sure but I didn't think she had much to do until the climax of the film when she meets O'Brien. Then she shows some muscle. I wondered how the role might have been different, if at all, with another Noir lady in that part.

"Bright boy." I like it.

JackFavell said:
Would have been nice to see a few more steamy scenes with Ava and Burt,

I agree. Maybe that is why I didn't get a lot of feeling for Ava. It just doesn't seem like there was a lot for her to do until the end.
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Re: The Killers - 1946 vs. 1964

Postby Rita Hayworth » May 19th, 2011, 3:23 pm

Dear All,

I'll be brief here ... I did not know that there's a thread on this movie ... I have seen both versions and I tend to like the 1964 version a little better than the 1946 in terms of photography, screenplay, and direction. The 1946 version is better in terms of acting, love Ronald Reagan (he was pure evil, it was mentioned by someone in this forum, described by), and its has a better pacing of the film. I would love to see TCM to show both of these back to back so I can compare the two and get a better feel for it. But, both of these films are great and its been awhile of the last time I seen these two movies again. I would give the 1964 version 3 1/2 stars ... the 1946 version 3 stars.

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Re: The Killers - 1946 vs. 1964

Postby moira finnie » May 19th, 2011, 5:04 pm

kingme wrote: I would love to see TCM to show both of these back to back so I can compare the two and get a better feel for it. But, both of these films are great and its been awhile of the last time I seen these two movies again. I would give the 1964 version 3 1/2 stars ... the 1946 version 3 stars.

I think that TCM has shown these back to back in the past, but you can actually see both on one dandy Criterion Collection DVD, King. The DVD also features several fine bonuses along with the beautiful digital transfer, including the following:
Andriie Tarkovsky's 1956 student film version of The Killers
Video interview with writer Stuart M. Kaminsky
Screen Director's Playhouse 1949 radio adaptation, starring Burt Lancaster and Shelley Winters
Actor Stacy Keach reads Hemingway's short story
Production and publicity stills
Essay by Jonathan Lethem
Paul Schrader's seminal 1972 essay "notes on film noir"
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Re: The Killers - 1946 vs. 1964

Postby Rita Hayworth » May 19th, 2011, 5:26 pm

Moira - thank you for telling me about this. I have buddy of mine that works at Amazon and he can pick up a copy of this collection for a discount price. Thanks for telling me about this ... This one reason why this forum is so good ... members passing information to other members of stuff like this. This is great!

Friday Supplemental Update

Moira - My buddy got a copy of this and he will mail it to me in a day or two. Thanks for the assistance here!

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Re: The Killers - 1946 vs. 1964

Postby movieman1957 » July 10th, 2011, 1:04 am

I watched the 1964 version and I'll agree that the cast is uniformly terrific. Marvin is at his sadistic best. Roughing up innocent blind ladies ranks near the top of anything. Hanging Dickinson from a window is not far behind. Gulager is great is a crazy sideman to Marvin. Some of his bits of business are quite surprising. Wiping his glasses on a sweaty Norman Fell's hair was quirky and well within his character. It is the kind of role Cassavetes would be great in as well if he weren't busy with another role in the film.

Dewey is right when he talks about how good Reagan was in the film. He plays it calm and cool and smart. I certainly wasn't expecting it. Dickinson also is good as you never really quite can tell if she really loves "Johnny" or not. Kudos also go to Claude Akins. It's one of those secondary roles that really help carry the first third of the film. Cassavetes is terrific too as a guy who, one minute, you feel sorry for because he's being played, and the next you want him to get his.

I can see why they thought it too violent for TV in 1964. Marvin alone would have scared people to death.

I was afraid John Williams (Star Wars) was going to provide one of those awful 1960's weird jazz scores but managed to make a nice blend of styles.

Watch it.
Chris

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Re: The Killers - 1946 vs. 1964

Postby Rita Hayworth » July 10th, 2011, 10:24 pm

movieman1957 wrote:I watched the 1964 version and I'll agree that the cast is uniformly terrific. Marvin is at his sadistic best. Roughing up innocent blind ladies ranks near the top of anything. Hanging Dickinson from a window is not far behind. Gulager is great is a crazy sideman to Marvin. Some of his bits of business are quite surprising. Wiping his glasses on a sweaty Norman Fell's hair was quirky and well within his character. It is the kind of role Cassavetes would be great in as well if he weren't busy with another role in the film.

Dewey is right when he talks about how good Reagan was in the film. He plays it calm and cool and smart. I certainly wasn't expecting it. Dickinson also is good as you never really quite can tell if she really loves "Johnny" or not. Kudos also go to Claude Akins. It's one of those secondary roles that really help carry the first third of the film. Cassavetes is terrific too as a guy who, one minute, you feel sorry for because he's being played, and the next you want him to get his.


I watched both of these movies (got the DVD's from assistance from Moira here) back to back and I agreed with movieman comments that 1964 is better than the 1946 version. But, when Dewey made comments about Reagan of how good he is ... I have to admit both of these films are excellent. But, the 1964 is marginally better of Lee Marvin. Lee Marvin gives me creeps in this film, so did Reagan. So, therefore the 64 version is an A ... the 46 version is a B+ ... not much difference here.

So, in my own opinion ... you might as well flip a coin a 1000 times ... and out of a 1000 times .... pretty much it will be heads 500 times and tails 500 times ... and say to yourself that both of these films are surefire winners. I watched both of these films not to long ago (back to back) and safely say that both of them are GOOD!

I love them both ... Movieman ... I certainty enjoyed reading your posts on this thread. You made me think and rethink things over & to Moira for helping me getting these DVD's from Amazon.com.

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Re: The Killers - 1946 vs. 1964

Postby RedRiver » August 12th, 2011, 2:08 pm

Being a fan of noir is like being a character in one. It's all about THE CHOICE. Both these movies are quite good. The flashy, colorful look of the remake is refreshing. It's harsh and brutal; nervously edited. It does look like TV. But very good TV. And who hasn't wanted to slap the **** out of Reagan at one time or another?

The older version has a beautiful atmosphere. Almost perfect. Dark alleys. Dingy rooms. Diners. Every noir should have a diner! The cast is more exotic, if not better. Burt The Squirt. Ava. I'm not sure exotic is the word for Conrad, but I like him! The first half of the film is thrilling. Who's doing what to who? What are they hiding?

As mentioned, the plot becomes murky. The pace slows down. This prevents this fine drama from being a superb one. Many a good movie suffers from third act syndrome. It's the rare story that maintains the initial level of interest throughout the film. Even CRISS-CROSS falters in this sense; though, I agree, it is a superior show.

1964 is quite good from start to finish. 1948? Outstanding for an hour. Good enough after that. I'll take Siodmak's telling.

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Re: The Killers - 1946 vs. 1964

Postby Gary J. » August 14th, 2011, 10:05 pm

Watching Reagan in the 1964 version always reminds me of that SNL skit where Phil Hartman plays the President as a benign, doddering simpleton among visitors to the White House, but the moment that everyone clears out Reagan turns into a powerful force of nature barking orders to all of his underlings as he single-handedly dictates world political affairs. Then a group of children are ushered into the Oval Office and Reagan instantly reverts back to a doddering fool.
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