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Criterion Collection: The Killing [Blu-ray] [Import anglais]
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Early Kubrick classic written by legendary pulp scribe Jim Thompsom. A bunch of crooks attempt to make a killing in an ambitious racecourse scam. However they don't count on the ambitions of a certain femme fatale...
Le troisième film de Kubrick prouve toute l'originalité du cinéaste. L'Ultime Razzia est l'histoire d'un hold-up sur un champ de courses, ce qui en soit n'a rien d'original. Mais la construction élaborée par Kubrick détaille successivement la journée de chacun des protagonistes jusqu'à leur intervention dans le hold-up. Combinant un montage alterné avec une narration linéaire en voix off, Kubrick construit un puzzle complexe qui s'organise et se désorganise à mesure que le film avance, révélant les enjeux personnels de chacun des participants. Malgré une photographie noir et blanc léchée, une femme fatale et un sombre Sterling Hayden en personnage central, L'Ultime Razzia rompt avec la forme classique du film noir et dévoile le style novateur de Kubrick. --Christophe Gagnot --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
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Memorable scenes between Elisha Cook and Marie Windsor set the stage of events.
Sterling Hayden simply doesn't get the credit he deserves.
Under the production staff of:
Stanley Kubrick [Director/Screenplay]
Jim Thompson [dialogue]
Lionel White [novel "Clean Break"]
James B. Harris [Producer]
Alexander Singer [Associate Producer]
Gerald Fried [Original Music]
Lucien Ballard [Cinematographer]
Betty Steinberg [Film Editor]
Ruth Sobotka [Art Director]
Harry Reif [Set Decoration]
1. Stanley Kubrick [Director]
Date of Birth: 26 July 1928 - New York City, New York
Date of Death: 7 March 1999 - Harpenden, Hertfordshire, England, UK
2. Sterling Hayden [aka: Sterling Relyea Walter]
Date of Birth: 26 March 1916- Upper Montclair, New Jersey
Date of Death: 23 May 1986 - Sausalito, California
the cast includes:
Sterling Hayden - Johnny Clay
Coleen Gray - Fay
Vince Edwards - Val Cannon
Jay C. Flippen - Marvin Unger
Ted de Corsia - Policeman Randy Kennan
Marie Windsor - Sherry Peatty
Elisha Cook Jr.Lire la suite ›
La minutie de la réalisation, la tension montante, la prestation des acteurs (Sterling Haydn éblouissant).
Stanley Kubrick montre très tôt ses talents de réalisateurs et en même temps ce film démontre l'influence qu'il a pu avoir par la suite. L'excellent "Reservoir dogs" de Tarentino est complètement enraciné dans ce type de cinéma.
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A brilliant effort of film making by Stanley Kubrick as he demonstrated an impeccable choice in cast selection, choosing established 'B' movie actors such as: Elisha Cook, Jr. as George Peatty and Jay C. Flippen as Marvin Unger (both actors had appeared in "The Three Stooges" skits more than once); then Sterling Hayden as the main character, Johnny Clay: though one of the beauties of this film is that all of the actors had such memorable performances. The limited acting abilities of these stars only added to the subtle gritty reality of their lumpenprolitariat roles which carried this film as much as any special effect.
While Stanley Kubrick wrote the screenplay and maintained a number of elements from the book, he eliminated Lionel White's character of Maurice Cohen and had Johnny Clay assume those duties; and also replaced the boxer, Tex, with the burly (and hairy) wrestler Maurice Oboukhof for the spectacular bar room fight diversion. In the book, Marvin Unger deeply despised Johnny Clay; but in the movie, Unger demonstrated a fatherly pride and deep paternal admiration for Johnny Clay - the movie is noted for its admirable male commeraderie!
But how much more was Stanley Kubrick influenced for this movie outside of the Lionel White novel was suggested during the actual stick-up scene performed by Sterling Hayden's character, Johnny Clay. In the book, Johnny tied a loose handkerchief around his face as a disguise, but this was changed in the movie to a full rubber clown mask - almost an exact duplicate of the masks published in police photographs used by the bandits in the 1950s Brinks robbery in Boston; a robbery that was then nationally advertised as "The Crime of the Century"! The similarities continued as the Brinks building was robbed of two million dollars by seven armed men in rubber masks and got clean away. This is too strong a resemblance to be ignored, and the well-read Stanley Kubrick may have also been influenced by this event, coupled with the novel CLEAN BREAK, to produce his advanced and visionary robbery debut film.
Still, the movie: THE KILLING by Stanley Kubrick, is a brilliant and typically Kubrickian ahead-of-its-time work of art which is a *must* watching experience in black & white for all its lasting and provocative scenes.
The story here details that of a `daring and methodical' heist of a horseracing track, which begins as we meet the principal participants...there's Johnny Clay (Hayden), the brains of the operation, Marvin Unger (Flippen) the money man, George Peatty (Cook) and Mike O'Reilly (Sawyer), both inside men (meaning they actually work at the track), and Randy Kennan (de Corsia), a crooked cop, who rounds out the core group. Each man is your fairly average Joe type (except maybe for Clay, who just spent a nickel in the joint), drawn into the plan by their own, particular circumstances, for example, George, a somewhat spineless weasel of a man, is married to a real manipulative piece of work named Sherry (Windsor), who becomes a pivotal part of the story later on...anyway, the setup is solid, but things become complicated as George, perhaps in an effort to prove his manhood to his generally disinterested wife, lets loose with some of the details, to which she relates to her even more manipulative gigolo boyfriend Val (Edwards), with the intent being on taking George's cut after the score and running away together, but Val's got the greedy eyes for the bigger prize...the job does end up going down as relatively planned, just like clockwork, but the major complications develop afterwards, proving yet again the hyperbole "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley"...that last bit basically means `often go wrong'.
All in all The Killing is a most excellent film, featuring some really innovative direction in terms of non linear storytelling, a style which people may often associate with director Quentin Tarantino's films, particularly Reservoir Dogs (1992) and/or Pulp Fiction (1994), but it's a technique that's been around for awhile, one that he basically copied, and quite well...come to think of it, much of his stuff is copied from other films, but I digress...the main difference between one of Tarantino's films and this one, to me, is the near seamless quality in switching between timeframes. Here it feels completely natural, and doesn't disrupt the flow of the story. In the other examples I mentioned, it's a bit more hectic and random, which isn't a criticism but an observation (I dig Tarantino's stuff immensely, but I do get annoyed when people seem to believe he actually developed they very stylized techniques displayed within his films). Within the notes, it's actually stated, after Kubrick finished this film, he was pressured to edit the film in a more linear fashion, which he did, and, after viewing the newly edited version, it confirmed to him his original version was much stronger, and that's what ended up getting released. This non-linear aspect isn't present throughout the entire film, but rather primarily used during the actual heist sequences. One aspect that is present through much of the film is narration, providing details and a bit more depth to a particular action or character. I'm curious how this film would have played out if there'd been no narration. The movie plays out extremely well, feeling a little like a documentary given the narrative and blending in of stock racing track footage with the shot footage. The performances were strong all around, especially Sterling Hayden as the no nonsense brains of the operation. It did feel a little strange near the end that he should have thought of everything so very carefully only to miss out on a key detail with regards to that cheap suitcase (if you've seen the film, you know what I mean)...I know it sets up for the wonderfully ironic ending, but it still, it felt a little out of character. Check out the scene where Johnny Clay nails Sherry to the wall with his astute and completely accurate observations with regards to the type of person she truly is...another performance I really liked was Marie Windsor's character of Sherry, acid tongued, wife to George. She knew exactly how to work him, but then the suffered the exact, same treatment from her boyfriend Val...as the worm, turns, I suppose...she also had some of the best lines in the film, none of which I'll post here as there's no way I can duplicate the delivery, which is just as vital as the lines themselves. One most excellent scene to watch for is when George's wife is caught snooping as the gang is reviewing their plans, and, in a effort to find out how much he shared with her, one of the members gives George a much deserved, massive slap upside his fool head (it looked pretty realistic to me), all in a beautiful close up shot. Check out the startled, moonfaced expression on George's face...and then pause it on that frame...I may get a print of that and put it on a t-shirt. If you like strong, stylish, no nonsense crime dramas, this is one definitely worth seeking out. I've watched it twice so far, and it was just as good the first time as it was the second.
The film is present in full screen, which I do believe is keeping with the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, and the picture is very sharp and clear with no noticeable flaws. The Dolby Digital mono audio is strong and comes through extremely well. As far as special features, there is an original theatrical trailer, along with a four-page booklet insert highlighting the making of the film, along with providing details with regards to Kubrick's style, technique, and creative vision. Pretty skimpy, but know this film was released to DVD sometime ago (I think in 2001), and the inclusion of special features weren't as prevalent than as it is now, or, at least that's my opinion. The film alone is worth getting this DVD, and if you're really interested in learning more, your local library, or the Internet, are both viable sources of information.
By the way, I'm most definitely not an advocate of animal cruelty, but, if I were the character of Johnny Clay in this film, the urge to throttle that ugly, little dog (and its owner), featured near the end, would have been undenialable.