The Killers
Still from The Killers, part of Cinema Rediscovered

The Killers

classified PG

When Europe Made Hollywood: From Sunrise to High Noon


Please note: This was screened in July 2022

Robert Siodmak
Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien
105 mins, 1946, USA
Primary language

Adapted from a Hemingway short story, The Killers is essential post-war existential cinema where our doomed hero (Burt Lancaster in his screen debut starring alongside Ava Gardner) awaits his inevitable violent death.

Like Billy Wilder, with whom he collaborated in 1920s Berlin, director Robert Siodmak was born into a Jewish family and like Wilder, fled Germany with the rise of Nazism.

In Siodmak’s case, he was forced to flee following a public attack by the Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels of his 1933 film Brennendes Geheimnis. He worked in Paris for six years before making his way to America and Hollywood. Once there he established a reputation for making economical sharp B features with a distinctive Expressionist style which would inform and influence the evolving noir mood of American cinema.