The Killers (1964)

Synopsis: In 1964, Don Siegel-initially slated to direct the 1946 version-took it on, creating the first-ever made-for-TV feature, but it proved too violent for broadcast in the wake of JFK’s assassination. This classic tale of amorality asks why a man silently welcomes his fate with the passivity of a man already dead.

The Killers (1964) 6.0

Admittedly, as a fan of Don Siegel, and a new fan of the original film, my expectations were pretty high – he’s made some of my all-time favourite films (Invasion of the Body Snatchers ’56 , Dirty Harry). To top it off, this interpretation features a pretty solid cast (the first appearance of Lee Marvin really impressed me, for instance).

But Marvin’s smokin’ performance coolled very quickly and he was stuck with a side-kick that reminded me of a poor-man’s Clint Eastwood/James Stewart hybrid. Not good. To top it off, the script is weak and the variations are not for the best – in fact, all the tension and mystery that made the original so good is completely gone.

2 responses to “The Killers (1964)

  1. I don’t agree, it is a very different vision of the original version and I think that this version should be seen as a predecessor of Tarantino’s movies. The violence is quite crued for a movie meant for the television.

    • You may be right, but I simply didn’t have this perspective while watching it. I was underwhelmed. Maybe if I had watched it in 1964, or not right after the original, things would have been different.

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