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Posts Tagged ‘Ernest Hemingway’

The Killers (1964)

Friday, December 11th, 2009

tn_thekillers64The ’64 version of THE KILLERS doesn’t have much to do with the original and even less to do with the Hemingway story. And maybe it’s not quite the solid punch to the nose you’d hope for from the combination of Lee Marvin, Don Siegel and that title. But on the other hand it might be some kind of subtle dim mak punch because it stuck with me and seemed better and better the more I thought about it. Anyway, it’s damn good.

After I wrote about the ’46 version I listened to the extra on the DVD where Stacy Keach reads the Hemingway story, and it explained alot. That movie was a good mystery, but nothing in the main story approaches the perfection of that opening, the tense scene with the two strangers coming into the diner, talking shit, then taking everybody hostage and saying, “I’ll tell you what’s gonna happen. We’re gonna kill the Swede.” I know now that’s because the Hemingway story is only the opening, the rest is all extrapolated from there. In the story you don’t find out what the Swede did to get killed. Adding a whole story to explain the short story really goes against the spirit of the thing, because to quote Jack Skeleton about Christmas presents, “That’s the point of the thing, not to know.” (read the rest of this shit…)

The Killers (1946)

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

tn_thekillers46To tell you the truth it was the Lee Marvin/Don Siegel version of this Ernest Hemingway story that I was interested in, but Criterion released the two versions together, so I watched this Robert Siodmak/Burt Lancaster one first. Way to go, Criterion – expanding my ignorant horizons.

This is one of those movies I wasn’t sure about watching but then the opening was so great it could’ve turned into a round table discussion of agriculture subsidies and I probly would’ve kept with it. It starts with two out of town assholes walking into a diner and giving the proprietor a bunch of shit. They sit there in their coats and fedoras, ridiculing the menu, the policies, the customers, keep calling everybody “bright boy” and ask them condescending questions. It soon comes out that they’re not there for the steak sandwiches, they’re hired killers waiting for “the Swede” (Lancaster) who works at the gas station across the street to come in for lunch so they can ply their trade on him. (That means kill him. They are killers.)

He doesn’t show up, though, so the killers leave, and the “bright boy” customer who happens to work with Swede races to his house to warn him. But the Swede already knows, and he just lays in bed, resigned to his fate. So they show up and kill him. (read the rest of this shit…)