John Williams is probably the only composer whose music is very known to almost everyone. John Williams career has lasted snice the 1950’s. He is among my favorite composers of all time list as he always tops it as i can almost name so many of his soundtracks top of my head. So today i join you to review The Killers (1964) which has a wonderful soundtrack by John Williams for The John Williams Blogathon.
The Killers (1964) or the Killers 64 was a remake of an earlier noir classic movie of the same name. It was orginally set to be a tv show on nbc but as they saw the final product they deicided againist that option to choose to release it on the big screen. The decision proved to be a beneficial one, as the film performed well at the box office and earned Lee Marvin a BAFTA Award for Best Actor. As it changed everything which helped make it feel like its own thing instead being a remake of a classic movie.
The diffrences between 1946 version and 1964 version as the former 1946 version opens at the diner. The former opens with a Hopperesque diner, and culminates with the shooting of boxer Swede Anderson in a seedy motel. Clean and professional, like clockwork. The latter takes place at an institute for the blind, where hitmen Charlie (Lee Marvin) and Lee (Clu Gulager) saunter through the lobby, bullying hapless patients in the place. It shows you form start that the killers 64 has something else on its mind. It savors the anarchy of its lawless characters and invites us to do the same. The overriding mood of the original was doom, but here, it’s psychotically gleeful to the killers.
The rest of the film unfolds with similar irreverence as the 1946 orginal killers movie. Charlie and Lee are confused by the ease with which Johnny North accepted his fate, and decide to look into his past. They already got paid, so they kill time by looking up Johnny’s best friend Earl (Claude Atkins) and on/off girlfriend Sheila (Angie Dickinson). What makes the hese interrogation scenes so memorable is not the discovery of information, but the brutish way Charlie and Lee go about getting it. These are the men that ended Johnny’s life and here they are dangling Sheila out of a window because she’s refusing to disclose his secrets as it truly stands out on flim.
Coon’s screenplay was quietly radical in terms of how it stitched seemingly incongruent noir tropes together. In the past, hitmen had been dismissed as loners or psychopaths, doomed to die before the final reel. By contrast, private detectives were seen as trustworthy, and given access to exclusive information. Charlie and Lee are given the access of the more congenial private detective, but their homicidal tendencies lead them to abuse their power and belittle their various witnesses. We never know what they’re going to do next, and the result is as sickening as it is exciting as this screenplay really is something boldly new. If there’s one element of The Killers ‘64 that pales in comparison to the original, it’s the casting of Ronald Reagan as the antagonist. Reagan is the gangster who romances Sheila and pushes Johnny into the heist, despite not possessing the moxy to do either as he really does nail the role down greatly. He’s hopelessly outmatched in scenes opposite Cassavetes, and given that he retired from acting soon after the film’s release, one can assume his heart wasn’t invested in his work.Fortunately, the limitations of Reagan’s performance are salvaged by the finale, where Siegel delivers some of the most brutal and stylized directorial work of his career as it is his best work on screen yet still limiting overall compared to others in this remarkable flim. The soundtrack of this movie as done by john willams is quite good as does really work for this remarkable flim.
The Killers ‘64 was one of the first noir remakes to go into production, and it’s a testament to its quality that it remains one of the finest. The decision to use the original premise as a jumping off point for another story was inspired, and the nimble execution by Siegel and Coon qualifies it as some of their best work. The 1946 version may still have the upper hand as its one of finest noir classics all time yet this remake and movie stands the test of time as its quite a gem of a movie. 5/5 A classic movie that stands test of time.
I thank you for joining me today to review this classic movie as i hope to catch you again soon for another review soon.
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I’d be curious to see that remake, especially for John Williams’s music!
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I can’t imagine Reagan as a gangster–that doesn’t seem to be his style. Still, it looks like a good one. Thanks again for joining the blogathon with this great review! 🙂