THE KILLERS (1946)
1946, Universal, 103 min, USA, Dir: Robert Siodmak

The CITIZEN KANE of film noir that begins with the ending - "I did something wrong ... once" - and moves backward through interweaving flashbacks to reveal the layer of double crosses that led to the opening scene. The script by Anthony Veiller (with an uncredited assist from John Huston) takes the first 10 minutes from Hemingway's short story and then spirals into the noir netherworld that Robert Siodmak depicted better than any other director. The smoldering sexuality between Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner catapulted both to super-stardom. With Edmond O’Brien and Jeff Corey.


THE PROFESSIONALS
1966, Sony Repertory, 117 min, USA, Dir: Richard Brooks

Writer-director Richard Brooks earned a pair of Oscar nominations for this vastly underrated film. A Texas rancher enlists a team of mercenaries to rescue his wife, who has been kidnapped by a Mexican bandit. But the hired guns - Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan and Woody Strode – soon learn that their employer hasn’t told them the whole story (the outstanding cast also includes Ralph Bellamy, Claudia Cardinale and Jack Palance). Beautifully shot by Conrad Hall, THE PROFESSIONALS is an irresistible mix of action, intrigue and humor that ranks among the very best Westerns of the 1960s.


SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS
1957, MGM/Park Circus, 96 min, USA, Dir: Alexander Mackendrick

Tony Curtis gives his greatest performance as cutthroat press agent Sidney Falco, willing to sell his soul to syndicated columnist Burt Lancaster for a few lines of copy, in director Alexander Mackendrick’s dark, glittering gem of a movie - one of the most frightening and seductive films of the 1950s. Brilliantly scripted by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman, with stunning, mood-drenched black-and-white photography by the legendary James Wong Howe. “Match me, Sidney …


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