Stanley Kubrick’s first foray into Hollywood is a tightly paced noir starring Sterling Hayden as tough-talking ex-con Johnny Clay, the mastermind behind a race track heist that goes off the rails. Hayden assembles a stellar crew of accomplices to set his plan in motion—meek cashier Elisha Cook Jr., slightly deranged sharpshooter Timothy Carey (en route to cult stardom), and crooked cop Ted DeCorsia. Unfolding non-linearly through interlocking scenes, the film’s high-contrast lighting, bravura tracking shots (executed by veteran cinematographer Lucien Ballard, the first professional cameraman to work with Kubrick), crackling, hard-boiled dialogue (courtesy of pulp novelist Jim Thompson), and Marie “bedroom eyes” Windsor’s turn as a scheming femme fatale all combine to make The Killing a solid, gritty crime classic. The film’s hyper-stylized climactic shoot-out, fragmented structure, and bitterly ironic ending burnish its genre credentials while also signaling Kubrick’s cinematic ambitions.
Bing Theater | $5 admission | Tickets: 323 857-6010 or purchase online.