Wednesday, February 19, 2020

THE KILLING - "Suspense! Terror! Violence!" (1956)

It's a "Well, you can't know everything" Wednesday down in The Dungeon, and our feature tonight is an early offering from one of the biggest names in film making, Stanley Kubrick, and if for some reason you don't know who Stanley Kubrick is, here's a couple of titles to refresh your memory. Stanley Kubrick was responsible for a few minor inconsequential films like "2001: A Space Odyssey," "A Clockwork Orange," and "The Shining." If you're not familiar with any if those titles, then it's probably time to go back and finish taking your nap.

"The Killing" is an amazing piece of work, and is a story that revolves around a group of guys who got the stupid idea to try and rob a racetrack.

Not a whole lot has changed in horse racing over the years, they still use very similar starting gates, but instead of moving them around with draft horses, these days they use a John Deere tractor.

Horse racing is having a tough time these days because of all the deaths at the Santa Anita Race Track the last couple of years. This film doesn't help things much as the disgusting distraction the guys have come up with is to shoot the favored horse in a certain race.

 The race course used in the movie was located in San Mateo, Calif. and was called "Bay Meadows." It closed down it 2006. 
This is a picture of a wallet I inherited a few years ago.

"The Killing" has a killer cast that includes Elisha (Black Zoo, House On Haunted Hill) Cook, and Marie (Cat Women Of The Moon) Windsor.

Vince (Dr. Ben Casey) Edwards is the lover.

This is the core group headed by Johnny Clay as portrayed by Sterling (Dr. Strangelove, Johnny Guitar, The Godfather) Hayden. Besides this gang of five, they're going to hire two other guys to do some of the dirty work!

The whole original reason I wanted to watch this film was because Timothy Carey was in it as Nikki Arcane, a gun for hire, because Timothy very rarely fails to entertain. "The Killing" was no exception! Nikki is seen here with the shooting targets on his farm!

Nikki signs on to shoot the horse for a couple thousand dollars. You have to love the fact that this horrible killer is holding that cute little puppy the whole time the deal is being discussed. I guess nobody told the pup not to mug the camera!

Johnny Clay has got a very cool ride!

Russian born Kola Kwariani was a real professional wrassler by trade. He also loved to play chess at a chess club in New York called The Flea House that was also featured in this movie. As tough guy Maurice Oboukhoff, he's hired by Johnny Clay to start a fight at just the right moment to serve as a distraction. A very sad story is that in 1980 at the age of 77, Kola was leaving The Flea House and was severely beaten by a group of thugs, and ended up dying from the injuries he sustained!

Nikki Arcane holds up his end of the deal, but ends up getting killed in the process! It wasn't quite as simple a job as Johnny Clay made it sound like.

The horse is down, and the fight distraction is carried out, which allows Johnny to get in and steal all the money! It looks like this crazy plan just might work.

Unfortunately Elisha Cook's character told Marie Windsor's character, who told Vince Edwards' character, and now the robbers are set to get robbed themselves!

I'm just showing you this still so you can see what kind of dives Lenny Bruce had to play in his career!

Absolutely everything goes to Hell!

Johnny Clay and his girlfriend Fay, as played by Coleen (The Phantom Planet, The Leech Woman) Gray try to board a plane to get out of the country with a large suitcase full of money. Coleen gets co-star billing on the poster even though she's only in the movie a very short amount of time. The bag is too big for carry on luggage, and Johnny gets pretty angry that he has to be separated from his new fortune!

The suitcase goes off on a journey by itself, ends up falling off the cart and scattering money all over the runway!

I think the look on Johnny Clay's face says it all!

"The Killing" is a seriously good movie I suggest everybody see at least once, but just don't wait as long as I did. For those of you who have a Prime account, it streams for free, and you can't beat a deal like that!


K said...

Not into Kubrick, but this looks great. Black and white, the 1950s, film noir, and a cast of wonderful talented people, and to top it off, music score by Gerald Fried...that alone grabs me!

EEGAH!! said...

It's a pretty wild ride! I think you'd enjoy it.

K said...

I love most anything that's in black and white, so I'll enjoy it for sure!

K said...

(Speaking of "anything in black and white"):

The first time I saw the black and white work print of the STAR TREK pilot, "The Cage", it was Gene Roddenberry's own 16mm print that he carried under his arm into a sci-fi convention in Detroit, Michigan in October 1972. For all of us there, it was a revelation to see, and ever since, the damned franchise owners of STAR TREK have tinkered and tinkered to try to change the history of Roddenberry's creation! I just want to see that work print, splices and all, once more! To me in 1972, that was Gene Roddenberry's original vision, and the only one that meant so much to me. I told him that I wanted to make sci-fi films, I showed him a photo of my first sci-fi film set from earlier that year, and he kindly smiled and nodded, inspiring and encouraging this 17 year old kiddo to follow his dreams... I'm still trying, Gene, and thank you. Thank you all, Eegah and Tabonga, and everyone out there who may have connected with my wish to follow my dreams... dreams are happen to be in black and white... ;)

Robert M. Lindsey said...

Love this movie! It is not very Kubricky, so I suggest everyone check it out.

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