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New on Video: ‘The Killers’ (1946/1964)

The Killers

Written by Anthony Veiller

Directed by Robert Siodmak

USA, 1946

Written by Gene L. Coon

Directed by Don Siegel

USA, 1964

Ernest Hemingway’s 1927 short story, “The Killers,” inspired to varying degrees the 1946 and the 1964 screen versions of the same name. To varying degrees because the story is less than 3,000 words and essentially only covers the opening of the two films. A man—Ole “The Swede” Anderson (Burt Lancaster) in the first film, Johnny North (John Cassavetes) in the remake—is hunted down by two hired killers. Right before they shoot him, Ole and Johnny do something strange, or rather, they don’t do something they should: they don’t run, they don’t really move, they don’t even seem to care. Before Ole is killed, he admits he “did something wrong, once” (in film noir, that’s all it takes), and when Johnny is told two men are

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