The Killers! Tonight!

Ava Gardner and Burt Lancaster in Robert Siodmak’s The Killers (1946)

Join FIU film studies director Andrew Strycharski at Miami Beach Cinematheque tonight (11/14) at 7:00 PM for a screening of the classic film noir The Killers (1946). Andrew Strycharski’s introductory comments will focus on film noir story structure, the shock of the present and piecing together the past, and the experience of European (and especially Jewish) immigrants and exiles in the aftermath of World War II.

Based on the Hemingway short story of the same name and directed by German Jewish exile Robert Siodmak, The Killers is one of the best film noirs ever made. After two hitmen show up in the small town of Brentwood, NJ to kill The Swede (Burt Lancaster), insurance investigator Jim Reardon (Edmund O’Brien) tries to assemble the pieces of his mysterious past, including shady activities with a criminal gang led by “Big Jim” Colfax (Albert Dekker) and his girlfriend, Kitty Collins (Ava Gardner). Innovatively structured as a series of flashbacks as Reardon interviews the Swede’s associates, The Killers set new standards for noir story structure in its screenplay from Oscar-winning screenwriters Richard Brooks and John Huston. Its brilliant low key cinematography from Woody Bredell, who also shot the noirs Lady on a Train (1945) and The Unsuspected (1947), perfectly sets the tone and compliments Ava Gardner’s turn as Kitty Collins, film noir’s quintessential femme fatale.

The screening, part of the Miami Jewish Film Festival’s Noirvember/Masters of Jewish Cinema series, is also part of a month-long celebration of Miami Beach Cinematheque’s “1940s/Film Noir” portion of its Interactive Digital Archive. An opening and reception will follow the screening of Ida Lupino’s The Hitch-Hiker (1953) next Thursday, 11/29.