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The Killing

(1956 b 84')

En: 6 Ed: 6

Stanley Kubrick adapted the novel by Lionel White and directed this narrated drama about a gang involved in a carefully planned robbery of a horse-track.

         At a race track Marvin Unger (Jay C. Flippen) has a betting system and is given an address by the bartender Mike O’Reilly (Joe Sawyer). Marvin copies it on a betting ticket and takes it to the Winner window and gives it to George Peatty (Elisha Cook), who gives him $25.

         At a restaurant policeman Randy Kennan (Ted de Corsia) tells the loan shark Leo (Jay Adler) he has a chance at big money and needs a loan. Leo wants to be paid back but gives him two weeks to pay back the $2600 plus $400 extra interest.

         At 7 p.m. Johnny Clay (Sterling Hayden) has a bottle of beer and tells Fay (Coleen Gray) that Unger is letting him stay there as she is getting dressed. Johnny says he is planning a big heist. She says she waited for him while he was locked up for five years, and she begs him not to leave her alone again. He tells her to stay out of the way until it is over, and then they will get married. Marvin comes in, and Johnny suggests that Fay leave. A half hour earlier Mike comes home and finds his wife Ruthie (Dorothy Adams) asleep.

         At 7:15 George arrives at his apartment and kisses Sherry Peatty (Marie Windsor), who asks him to fix her a drink for her pain. George tells her about a couple he saw who call each other Mama and Papa, and she acts condescending toward him. George asks Sherry why she married him. She was hoping that he was going to make big money. George says he is going to have hundreds of thousands of dollars, but he cannot talk about it. Sherry wants to know more about it and asks why he does not trust her after five years. She implies she may not be there when he comes home. George says she has to promise to keep quiet about it.

         Sherry enters the apartment of Val Cannon (Vince Edwards), and he puts his arms around her. He says he never tried to pin her down. She is concerned that he is not always there for her. They kiss, and she asks if he likes money and love. She says they are going to have a lot of money. She says George is connected to the mob and a robbery of a racetrack. Val says he is crazy because it has never been done. Sherry says she is going to be leaving George. Val says he could take George’s cut away from him. Val says he wants to learn about the overall plan in order to get more.

         Sitting around a table, Johnny tells Mike, George, Marvin, and Randy about the two hoods with the guns. Johnny shows them a map of the track and says they will get about two million in cash from the office before an armored car picks it up. He says two armed men will come in the car to get the money, and they will stick them up. Suddenly they hear a woman, and they find Sherry on the bed in the next room. Johnny asks George if he told Sherry about the job. George tries to deny it and says she is checking up on him. Johnny tells Randy and Mike to take George home to his apartment. Marvin asks Johnny what he will do, and Johnny tells him Marvin to take a walk. Randy and Mike drive off with George, and Marvin walks away past a car with Val and another man.

         Inside Johnny questions Sherry why she is there. Johnny does not believe her and says she is no good. He knows she likes money and tells her she will get most of George’s share. She offers to kiss Johnny, but he tells her to beat it.

         In their apartment Sherry tells George everything is all right as she puts cold cream on her face to remove her makeup. George says he made an alibi for her. Sherry says she told him what happened. George tells her he is dropping out because he is afraid. She wants him to get the money if he loves her. George says he would do anything for her, and he agrees to go ahead with the deal. He asks if she loves him, and she says she does. They kiss.

         Three days later Johnny goes into a restaurant looking for a friend. He finds Maurice Oboukhoff (Kola Kwariani), and they sit and talk. Maurice says Johnny is not very bright, but he loves him. Johnny offers him $2500 for taking care of two private dicks by getting them into a fight. Maurice says he would go to jail, but Johnny says he would probably get only sixty days. Maurice wants more money, and Johnny offers to buy him coffee.

         At a shooting range Johnny offers Nikki Arcane (Timothy Carey) $5,000 to kill a horse with a rifle. Johnny tells him to kill a racehorse in the $100,000 handicap. Red Lightning will be leading and is to be shot. Johnny says it is not murder and offers him half the money in front.

         Johnny gets out of his station wagon and says he is looking for motel manager Joe Piano (Tito Vuolo) for a place to stay for a while. Joe gives him a cabin and says there will be no maid service. Johnny pays him $10 for a week and goes in the room, leaves his stuff, and goes out.

         Four days later Sherry gets out of bed and puts on a robe early in the morning. George is having breakfast and says he is nervous. She says things will be different when they get the money. She asks if it is today, and he denies it. He tells her not to pester him, and she says Johnny threatened her if she buts in. George says only Randy hit him. Sherry tells him about Johnny and that she could not stop him.

         At seven in the morning Johnny wakes up Marvin and says goodbye until tonight. Johnny says they will probably never see each other after they split the money. Marvin says Johnny is like his own kid. He suggests they go away together with the money instead of Johnny getting married. Johnny tells Marvin to stay away from the track.

         Johnny buys a plane ticket at seven, buys flowers, and stops at the motel at 8:15. He tells Joe that he will come back and pick up a bundle that a cop will leave off. Johnny says he will get it about 6:30. John goes in the room and puts a rifle under the flowers in the box. Then he drives to the bus station at 8:45. He puts the box of flowers in a locker.

         At 9:20 Johnny arrives at Mike’s apartment. Mike is ready at 11:15 and says goodbye to Ruthie. He says they are going to be rich, and she will have fine doctors. He says he will be home late, about ten. She advises him not to drink too much beer, and he says he won’t be drinking. He gets his mail and leaves. Mike enters the bus station at 11:29 and takes the box of flowers from the locker. He takes a bus to the track, arriving at 12:10. In the locker-room Mike says the flowers are for his wife. George takes a revolver out of his locker. Mike makes sure no one looks at the flowers and puts them in his locker. George sees Mike and walks out. Mike changes clothes and sees men in uniforms wheel something into an office.

         Horses race, and Mike becomes busy working at the bar. Marvin acts tipsy and asks Mike for a double bourbon, but Mike says he has had enough. Policeman Randy makes a phone call on a street and gets in his patrol car. A woman runs up and tells him to come quick because they are killing each other; but he drives off to the race track. He arrives just in time for the race with Red Lightning.

         Earlier at 2:30 Maurice is at the chess club. He asks a friend to call him and ask for his services.

         The seventh race is announced as the $100,000 sweepstakes. Maurice walks to the bar. The horses approach the starting gate. Maurice demands service and starts a fight with the bartender Mike. Two policeman try to stop it, and Maurice fights them and a bartender. George leaves the $5 window. Johnny is watching and goes in a door after police come out. Several police drag out Maurice at 4:23.

         At 11:40 that morning Nikki left his farm and arrived at the track at 12:30. The parking attendant (James Edwards) tells him to use another parking lot. Nikki says he is a paraplegic from the war and gives him money. His car is let through the gate, and he parks near the track. The attendant brings Nikki a program, and Nikki advises him to bet on Red Lightning.

         The seventh race is about to begin, and the attendant comes over to Nikki again to thank him by giving him a horseshoe. Nikki calls him a “Nigger” in order to make him leave. The race begins. Nikki gets out his rifle. He aims and shoots Red Lightning. Nikki starts his car and tries to leave, but an officer shoots him dead.

         Johnny arrives just before the seventh race. Near the betting windows he sees Marvin and Maurice at the bar. Maurice starts the fight, and police are called to stop a riot. They come out a door, and Johnny goes in to the employee locker-room. He uses a key and takes the box of flowers out of Mike’s locker. He takes out the rifle and puts the box back. Johnny puts on a mask over his face and gloves. He opens a door and orders men in the office to put their hands up. He tosses them a bag and orders a man to fill it with money. Then he asks for the money in the safe. The man spills some of the money but fills the bag. He orders the men to go into the locker-room. He puts his mask and gloves in the money bag with his coat and then throws the bag out the window. As he comes out of the door, a policeman with a gun stops him; but he knocks him down and walks away.

         In an apartment Randy, George, Marvin, and Mike hear on the radio that the racetrack was robbed. Nikki was fatally shot. They do not know how the bandit escape with the duffle bag of money. Randy says he took the bag as soon as it came out of the window and put it in his cop car. Randy says the captain knows he was drunk, and he will have to take his punishment. Randy says he dropped it with Joe at the motel. George is drinking and says Johnny was supposed to be there at seven. He is worried the timetable broke down when they are supposed to get their shares. Someone knocks, and Val barges in with a rifle and another man. George shoots Val and the other man while Val shoots Randy, Marvin, and Mike.

         Johnny arrives at the motel at 6:25, fifteen minutes late. He uses his key and gets the duffle bag. He arrives at the meeting place and sees George come staggering out and get in his car. Johnny decides to leave with the money. He buys a large suitcase and drives into the country. He dumps the most of the money into the suitcase and locks it.

         Sherry hears the door and tells Val she is there. George comes in, and Sherry calls him stupid. Wounded George asks if Val is his name. He asks her to call an ambulance, but she tells him to go. George shoots her in the stomach. She calls it a bad joke and falls. George dies too.

         At the airport Johnny meets Fay. Johnny says he wants to take the suitcase with him, but the attendant tells him it is too big. Johnny asks to speak to his supervisor, who tells him it is against regulations. Johnny says he can’t make the trip without it. The supervisor says they can give him a full rebate on his tickets. They offer to insure it, but Johnny says they can check it through. A dog causes the baggage car to turn, and the suitcase falls off and opens. The money scatters in the wind. Johnny and Fay see this and leave the airport. The supervisor sees them and receives a call about the money. Outside Fay tries to get a taxi. The supervisor points at them, and two men come out with guns to arrest them.

         This crime drama portrays the actions of several men and one woman who act desperately to try to become rich in one big heist, but the gang is betrayed by others who try to rob them. The loot reflects the large amount of money that is spent by people at the race track.

Copyright © 2010 by Sanderson Beck

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