Buy Now: THE KILLERS
Ernest Hemingway’s 1927 short story The Killers provided inspiration for two motion pictures—the first being Robert Siodmak’s critically acclaimed, Academy-Award-nominated 1946 film, and the second Don Siegel’s 1964 neo-noir. Incidentally, Siegel was initially hired to direct the first version, but was subsequently let go. When he got the chance to make the 1964 neo-noir, it was supposed to be the first “made-for-TV movie” (entitled Johnny North), but was ultimately deemed too violent by the NBC, resulting in Universal Pictures releasing it in theaters.
The Killers follows two hitmen trying to get to the bottom of why their latest victim did not try to escape. With a screenplay written by Gene L. Coon, Siegel’s The Killers takes some liberty when it comes to certain aspects of Hemingway’s story, but the end result is nonetheless highly energetic and dynamic. The movie stars Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager as the titular killers, John Cassavetes as Johnny North, the man who refuses to run when confronted with death, Angie Dickinson as Johnny’s lover and, of course, Ronald Reagan in the role of gangster Jack Browning, which was both the only time he portrayed a villain and the last film role he ever played before going into politics.