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Author Topic: The Killing (1956)  (Read 5493 times)
cigar joe
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« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2012, 03:05:31 PM »

It's not that I don't like it. It's that it doesn't add anything, and doesn't make the movie. I consider it neither an asset nor a detriment.

All these noirs I am watching are based on your recommendations; I am gonna have to go clean out my netflix queue now   Wink

Well...You may find one that actually meets all of your rigorous criteria.  Cheesy

« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 05:06:19 PM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2012, 02:25:12 AM »

Back to the ending of The Killing.

I never had any problems with the way it was actually done. But I generally don't like these crime(or greed)-does-not-pay endings in which finally only destiny thwarts the plans of the protagonists. Like the gone with the wind ending of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

But The Killing has other merits. 8/10

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« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2012, 05:26:02 AM »

Of course it would be practically impossible to make a movie where crime does pay and get it distributed in America between 1933 and 1960.


Of course, but I prefer a different kind of that kind of ending. An exception was maybe a film which is based on a well known true event.

The first US gangster films in which they get away with the loot are probably The Getaway and Charlie Varrick.  Both from !972.

An earlier film was the Robbery (GB, 1967) by Peter Yates, but that's one of the true event ones.
 

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« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2012, 09:05:07 AM »

I saw a 1957 film called "The Big Caper" with Rory Calhoun, in which they get the loot. (To be more accurate, the one "good guy" in the gang ends up with the loot. Oh, and he gets and the girl too  Wink )

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« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2012, 10:17:57 AM »

1) When I criticized the ending of The Killing, dj responded how this sort of thing is a convention of Noirs, rather than defending it on its own merit.

But that's only one way to defend it. Hey, I have a job, I don't have time to write an exhaustive defense of anything.

But since you insist: It certainly can be defended on its own merits. The fact of the suitcase opening and all the loose money flying out because of propwash provides a very powerful image. It is a tangible expression of the futility of Hayden's aspirations, to say nothing of illustrating something in the "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt" vein. No one watching the film is unaffected by that image, and everyone afterwards remembers it. Obviously, Kubrick wanted to put that bit of visual shorthand over and fixed the plot to make it happen. Yes, it required Hayden to very unwisely surrender the bag, and it necessitated the far-fetched bit with the little dog. There was a trade off: Kubrick surrendered some verisimilitude in order to achieve that image. I think most viewers, thinking the matter through, applaud Kubrick's decision. The money flying away speaks as loudly today as it ever did--the shot has itself become a kind of icon.

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« Reply #20 on: April 11, 2012, 11:07:04 AM »

But that's only one way to defend it. Hey, I have a job, I don't have time to write an exhaustive defense of anything.

But since you insist: It certainly can be defended on its own merits. The fact of the suitcase opening and all the loose money flying out because of propwash provides a very powerful image. It is a tangible expression of the futility of Hayden's aspirations, to say nothing of illustrating something in the "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt" vein. No one watching the film is unaffected by that image, and everyone afterwards remembers it. Obviously, Kubrick wanted to put that bit of visual shorthand over and fixed the plot to make it happen. Yes, it required Hayden to very unwisely surrender the bag, and it necessitated the far-fetched bit with the little dog. There was a trade off: Kubrick surrendered some verisimilitude in order to achieve that image. I think most viewers, thinking the matter through, applaud Kubrick's decision. The money flying away speaks as loudly today as it ever did--the shot has itself become a kind of icon.

I wasn't criticizing you or disagreeing with you for defending it only in the context of noirs. Rather, I was just using your defense  as an illustration of why I think Film Noir should really be viewed more like a whole different genre, rather than as a style of the crime drama genre: Since those films are evaluated in the context of the specific conventions/expectations of Noir, which are completely unlike the expectations/conventions of other crime dramas, I think it has little in common with other crime dramas, and should be viewed as an entirely different genre.


Anyway, as for the ending of The Killing: Maybe it does indeed show how our fate is not in our hands, and no matter how carefully calculated our plans are, a silly, freaky thing can screw it all up. (Reminds me of Patton , which I just saw again, partially with Coppola's commentary, and he discusses the sad irony of General Patton, who with all the wars he fought and all the danger he was in, died in a "dumb accident" to use Coppola's term). But IMO, Hayden lost the money the minute he checked in that suitcase. So it indeed was a screwup on his part, rather than a purely freak accident that happened to a man who made no mistakes. So it's unlike the ending of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, which really was a fluke.

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« Reply #21 on: April 11, 2012, 11:32:03 AM »

The finale of The Killing always reminded me of that of Asphalt Jungle. But what I can't stand in many of these caper movies is the fact that so careful planners botch it all for a trifle. Now, that can be accepted in a movie or two: for the sake of irony or of whatever you want. But this is just what it should be kept in mind (and it isn't most of times): the more a caper is carefully planned, the more incredible the hitch that wastes it will appear. That was why I was not enthusiastic about The Taking of Pelham One Two Three: that a meticulous planner should prove on occasion an imbecile put a great strain on my viewer's credulity.  

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« Reply #22 on: April 12, 2012, 06:08:58 AM »

The finale of The Killing always reminded me of that of Asphalt Jungle. But what I can't stand in many of these caper movies is the fact that so careful planners botch it all for a trifle. Now, that can be accepted in a movie or two: for the sake of irony or of whatever you want. But this is just what it should be kept in mind (and it isn't most of times): the more a caper is carefully planned, the more incredible the hitch that wastes it will appear. That was why I was not enthusiastic about The Taking of Pelham One Two Three: that a meticulous planner should prove on occasion an imbecile put a great strain on my viewer's credulity.  
Your point is well taken, and there's no doubt the device is over-used, but I'm just as annoyed by films where the planning is too incredibly good to be believed. One of the biggest offenders in this regard is the ending of your favorite, Charlie Varrick.

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« Reply #23 on: April 12, 2012, 11:48:46 AM »

Your point is well taken, and there's no doubt the device is over-used, but I'm just as annoyed by films where the planning is too incredibly good to be believed. One of the biggest offenders in this regard is the ending of your favorite, Charlie Varrick.

I could agree if the main character weren't played by a comedian: in comedic tones (which Pelham hasn't got).

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« Reply #24 on: March 05, 2013, 12:12:16 PM »

Watched this again today still a 10/10 in Noirsville, a lot of cinematic memory with most of the cast, veers competently back and forth between noir and soleil, great score.

Elisha Cook Jr. & Marie Windsor


to d&d -  I'm an artist at heart and tend to judge the visual storytelling with additional weight, where other crime films rely on story alone, others a balance of both, and additional films with audio, visual, and story components in varying degrees.  Just like the Ash Can School has the individual artists styles to distinguish between them, Crime Films at that period in time had a noir, gris, and soleil visual pallet, so I find that even a film with a great story can be dull visually, and films with simple or inferior stories can tell a visual story spectacularly.

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« Reply #25 on: March 05, 2013, 04:00:08 PM »

Watched this again today still a 10/10 in Noirsville, a lot of cinematic memory with most of the cast, veers competently back and forth between noir and soleil, great score.

to d&d -  I'm an artist at heart and tend to judge the visual storytelling with additional weight, where other crime films rely on story alone, others a balance of both, and additional films with audio, visual, and story components in varying degrees.  Just like the Ash Can School has the individual artists styles to distinguish between them, Crime Films at that period in time had a noir, gris, and soleil visual pallet, so I find that even a film with a great story can be dull visually, and films with simple or inferior stories can tell a visual story spectacularly.

 I never had a problem with how the story is told. IMO this movie is done well except for the dumb ending.

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« Reply #26 on: March 05, 2013, 04:29:04 PM »

I never had a problem with how the story is told. IMO this movie is done well except for the dumb ending.

I remember reading someplace (maybe a dj post) that the last two minutes of most noirs are usually compromised by either the Hayes Code or the studios to reflect, ie "crime does not pay".

Anyway a shout out to nut job Timothy Carey  Afro


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« Reply #27 on: March 05, 2013, 04:53:00 PM »

well as I discussed extensively earlier in this post, my problem is not with the "crime doesn't pay element" per se. My problem is with how it is done in this movie; the whole dog causing the porter to swerve causing the suitcase to fall, that's silly

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« Reply #28 on: March 10, 2013, 01:08:03 PM »

I finally got around to watching my copy of the bluray and I completely forgot how awful the narration is - it was much worse than I remembered. As for the ending, I think it can be torn to pieces from a logic standpoint - it's a stupid risk to carry hot money on a plane, and with everyone else eliminated from the picture, why not stash it away and let the heat die down? The bit with the dog is also really dumb and lazy, and the scene is too close to Sierra Madre.

With all that said, this is one of the best heist movies of all time and a top 20 noir imo. Kubrick's visuals, Thompson's writing, the amazing cast and the nonlinear story are more than enough to offset the final scene (which could have been studio interference), the 17th rate narration and the crappy score.

if I had to give it a number 9/10

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« Reply #29 on: December 07, 2017, 08:41:06 AM »

I saw this over at Criterion.  How good is it?

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