THE KILLERS (1964)
1964, Universal, 93 min, USA, Dir: Donald Siegel

This second adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway short story features Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager as hit men puzzled by the calm demeanor of their latest victim (John Cassavetes). The dead man held the secret to a million-dollar heist, and the missing loot draws the killers into the worlds of femme fatale Sheila Farr (Angie Dickinson) and mob boss Jack Browning (Ronald Reagan, in his final film role before turning to politics).


THE DIRTY DOZEN
1967, Warner Bros., 149 min, USA, Dir: Robert Aldrich

Lee Marvin whips a group of unruly criminals (including John Cassavetes and Charles Bronson) into shape for a WWII suicide mission, and the result is an action epic that deals with issues of race, class and war in a massively entertaining context. Ernest Borgnine is an ornery general making Marvin’s life hell.


EDGE OF THE CITY
1957, Warner Bros., 85 min, USA, Dir: Martin Ritt

Another gritty exploration of life on the Manhattan docks that’s also a powerful look at 1950s race relations. Sidney Poitier and John Cassavetes play working-class pals driven apart by ignorance and racism (exemplified by a virulent thug, played brilliantly by Jack Warden). Martin Ritt’s stunning directorial debut, based on Robert Alan Aurthur’s 1955 teleplay “A Man Is Ten Feet Tall.” Not entirely noir, but a smart and suspenseful drama overdue for rediscovery!


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