The Killing (1956) Plot
Alright, fellow movie fanatics, listen up ’cause I got a killer story for ya! The Killing revolves around Johnny Clay, a seasoned crook with one last grand heist in mind before he hangs up his boots and ties the knot with Fay. The plan? Swiping a whopping $2 million from the racetrack’s money-counting room during a big-time race!
To pull off this high-stakes operation, Johnny puts together a crew of diverse characters, including a crooked cop, a betting window teller (George Peatty) to sneak into the backroom, a sharpshooter to create chaos by taking down the favorite horse during the race, a wrestler to stir up trouble at the track bar, and a trusty bartender from the racetrack.
But hold on tight ’cause there’s a twist in the tale! George spills the beans to his wife, Sherry, about the impending heist. She’s not too pleased with him for not living up to the promises of wealth he made when they tied the knot. In a desperate bid to impress her and keep her from leaving, George shares the robbery plan with her. Sherry, with her lover Val Cannon’s help, decides to snatch the loot from George and his crew!
Despite the odds stacked against them, the heist goes down successfully, but it comes at a price as the sharpshooter gets taken down by a security guard. The remaining crew gathers at their meeting spot, eagerly waiting to split the cash with Johnny. But things take a deadly turn when Val and his partner show up for a shootout, leaving a badly wounded George as the sole survivor. He heads home, taking desperate measures to deal with Sherry before collapsing himself.
Meanwhile, Johnny realizes something’s amiss when he spots George stumbling in the street. Time is ticking, and he’s got to make a run for it with Fay. They race to the airport with a suitcase full of money, but here comes the gut-wrenching moment – the suitcase breaks open on the runway, and the wind carries away the cash.
Fay and Johnny desperately try to escape, but the cops catch wind of them. Fay urges Johnny to flee, but he bravely faces the music, accepting the inevitable. As the police approach, he mutters, “What’s the difference?” – a final testament to the twists and turns of fate in this intense, suspenseful tale.
So there you have it, folks! The Killing serves up a nail-biting rollercoaster of heists, betrayal, and unexpected consequences that’ll leave you breathless till the very end! You won’t want to miss this action-packed ride! 🍿🎬
The Killing (1956) Cast
- Sterling Hayden as Johnny Clay
- Coleen Gray as Fay
- Vince Edwards as Val Cannon
- Jay C. Flippen as Marvin Unger
- Elisha Cook Jr. as George Peatty
- Marie Windsor as Sherry Peatty
- Ted de Corsia as Policeman Randy Kennan
- Joe Sawyer as Mike O’Reilly
- James Edwards as track parking attendant
- Timothy Carey as Nikki Arcane
- Tito Vuolo as Joe “Piano”
- Joe Turkel as Tiny
- Jay Adler as Leo the Loanshark
- Kola Kwariani as Maurice Oboukhoff
- Dorothy Adams as Mrs. Ruthie O’Reilly
- Rodney Dangerfield as Onlooker (uncredited)
The Killing (1956) Review
About two decades back, I stumbled upon this flick, and now, it holds a special place in my heart like never before.
So, I just caught a YouTube countdown of Kubrick’s top-notch films. As expected, no mention of this early gem – instead, they raved about Eyes Wide Shut. Look, I adore Kubrick, so I won’t say much. I’d rather watch one of his slightly lesser works than most other filmmakers’ best efforts. Kubrick always pushed the boundaries, offering a fresh vision with each new project. But it wasn’t just about artsy ego-stroking; he had a story to tell, an experience to share with us. Even if we debated the meaning, it was a fiery discussion. He wanted to draw us in, make us more than passive onlookers; he wanted us to feel it, not just the actors.
His mastery of camera work and lighting conveyed emotions, enhancing the storyline. I never considered anything he brought to life as weak, just not superior. He poured his heart and soul into everything he did. The bar was set pretty high for him (and Orson, too). I doubt he buckled under outside pressure. He aimed to please himself, setting the bar sky-high and working tirelessly to achieve greatness.
I read that this film had a profound impact on Quentin Tarantino, another great filmmaker. In Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, just like in The Killing, the story unfolds in a non-chronological order, starting at the end. No need to shout, Spoiler Alert! The real mystery isn’t how it ends; it’s how the heck everything went so wrong?
This may be a small film, not on the grand scale of Spartacus or Paths of Glory. It’s noir – gritty, dark, just like its backdrop, the horse track. Apart from the winners in the circle, it’s a bunch of desperate losers, much like the men on this dangerous mission, clutching onto the desperate belief that one lucky moment will turn it all around, and their suffering will have meaning. They see their sins as means to an end, to be forgiven once their dreams come true.
But we, the audience, we know better. We’ve seen the end from the beginning. Right from the start, this film embraces its dark side. That’s why it’s called noir – the intriguing, shadowy world that captivates us all.
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