Cincinnati Babyhead

Speaks his mind on music & movies!

Movie : The Killing

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We open at a busy race track. Something is being set in motion that doesn’t feel right. A narrator starts to fill us in as we turn the clock back a few days. We meet a group of men as they plan a robbery of the race track, hoping to take 2 million in cash. Johnny Clay is the leader and he has the heist worked out to the minute. Everyone involved has a specific task which relates to the success of the job. We follow the build up the  day of the robbery as our group of criminals try to stay on task so they can go to the track and make a “Killing”.

Another film CB saw at his local rep theater. I was getting used to the kind of movies this place was showing so I knew it would be worth a watch. The draw for me was that Stanley Kubrick was the director and I’d seen a few of his later films and liked them. The movie has an off center style but it works.  Kubrick has Lucien Ballard by his side on camera which is a plus. Well shot and put together. Jim Thompson helped with the screen play and brings his unique dialogue and vibe to the flick. It’s adapted from a Lionel White novel. They even throw in narration for guys like CB that need help figuring things out. Regular folk with half a brain probably won’t need it.

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For CB the thing that really works is the casting. Sterling Hayden as Johnny Clay has a stiff delivery but it works. It fits his all business focus. Kubrick puts together a great group of character actors who bring their specific personalities to the film. Anytime you get Timothy Carey and Elisha Cook Jr in a film you have to watch it.  Carey is just plain crazy and off the wall (I wonder what 50’s audiences thought of this guy?). Elisha Cook is simply one of the best and when his character and Maria Windsor’s (also another CB fave) do their husband wife thing, it’s about as far away from marriage bliss as you can get. Poor Elisha.

One of those off beat crime films. So strap in for the caper, the score, ‘The Killing’ and remember, bad things happen to bad people.

21 comments on “Movie : The Killing

  1. Jim S.
    June 9, 2019

    Interesting. When you hear the name Kubrick, this movie never crops up and it doesn’t even seem like his genre.

    BTW, you’ll be happy to know we watched ‘Chinatown’ last night as the first our CB recommended films. I’d seen it before but so long ago I couldn’t remember all the details. My wife had never seen it. Great flick, of course. John Huston. Jesus.

    I’d forgotten what a great Oscar-nominated score it has, all that haunting noirish trumpet. I read that it had been nominated that year for 11 Oscars winning only for Robert Towne’s screenplay. But it was up against a behemoth called ‘Godfather II.’

    Liked by 2 people

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 9, 2019

      I would be curious how this film hit audiences when it came out. My guess that it would have been a little cold. So many things for me to like. It’s definitely an off beat film but that’s Kubrick. He takes big swings. The only film of his I’ve never seen is his last one. Did you see it?
      Oh Man, you didn’t go down to ‘Chinatown’. It really is a great film. Where do you start with that one. I always overlook the score. Good catch on that. Perfect music. The acting is so good. Great casting and Huston is. He stood into that performance and role. He didn’t waver did he. Oscars, shmoscars (Godfather ll is a good film)
      Doc’s Film Festival is officially open. Quite a few people liked that post.

      Like

      • Jim S.
        June 9, 2019

        As to the Oscars, Forget it, CB. It’s Hollywood.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 9, 2019

        Very good Doc. Just like “whores and politicians get respectable as they get older”. Something in that ball park. So many good lines in that one. Bit of a Kubrick feel also.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Yeah, Another Blogger
    June 9, 2019

    Morning, CB. What’s your opinion of Sterling Hayden as an actor? Is he kind of wooden in all his roles?

    I remember that my parents had a book that he wrote about his life. I think he was a big time sailor. Acting might have been a sideline for him. I’m not sure though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 9, 2019

      I think that’s his style (personality) and it works in certain films. He is certainly memorable in a few I like, Dr Strange Love, Godfather, Asphalt Jungle (same vein as The Killing).
      Interesting guy that I don’t know a lot about. Did know that he was a sailor (very cool that the parents had a book on old Sterling) From what I do know i think your last remark is true. He might have been a little like William Holden who, from what I gather was fed up with the whole acting thing especially near the end.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Chris
    June 9, 2019

    The end scene at the airport is unforgettable. I guess I’m overdue a rewatch as I’m struggling to remember anything else from The Killing. By coincidence, I just wrote about the Kubrick exhibition which I visited while in the UK.

    Liked by 2 people

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 9, 2019

      I had a visit scheduled over to your place. Very curious about the Kubrick take. That is a coincidence. Being a film guy you will get a lot more from the film with a rewatch. We probably come at it from some common ground plus from different angles. Like i said in the take I’m a sucker for Kubricks casting choices and what he got out (or let them do) of them.
      I’ll save some comments for your take like what you thought of his last film (The only Stan film I haven’t seen).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. 1537
    June 9, 2019

    You keep expanding my knowledge CB.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 9, 2019

      I don’t know about that but I do know that you like the off the beaten path choices and this has lots of that. Kubrick even hired a pro Wrestler for a part and it is perfect. Can’t understand a word the guy says but he kicks some ass. Just for certain scenes alone you’d dig it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. J.
    June 10, 2019

    This sounds great, CB. I need to see this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 10, 2019

      Yeah, I think it’s worth a watch J. You could do worse things with your time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        June 10, 2019

        I expect so. This clearly has all the hallmarks of my kinda flick, so count me in.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 10, 2019

        Some real cool choice by old Stanley on this one. Carey, Elisha, the wrestler etc.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Tony
    June 10, 2019

    I think… THINK… I’ve seen this one. I need to see it again if that’s the case though.
    When you open your own movie theatre can you do it within easy drive of my place?

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 10, 2019

      Yes I think you’d get something out of it if your bent this way.
      I will build it and you will come. You can work as a part time projectionist. Free admission to all your favorites. Plus all you want at the concession for all your snack needs. Plus an open bar.

      Like

  7. BuriedOnMars
    June 10, 2019

    Yeah… this is a really good one. In fact, this and Spartacus are the only two Kubrick movies I care for. I have a double DVD set in the collection. Good times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 10, 2019

      Two different types of films but yeah they both work for me. I need to get a copy of this film. One of those off beat things I like.

      Liked by 1 person

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