Blu-ray, DVD Release: The Killers

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: July 7, 2015
Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95
Studio: Criterion

Ernest Hemingway’s simple but gripping short tale The Killers is a model of economical crime and film noir storytelling—and it’s not surprising that two directors adapted it into pair of unforgettably virile features.

Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner in 1946's The Killers

Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner in 1946’s The Killers

The first was directed in 1946 by Robert Siodmak (The Dark Mirror), yielding a film that helped define the noir style and launch the acting careers of Burt Lancaster (Sweet Smell of Success) and Ava Gardner (On the Beach). Next, Don Siegel (Private Hell 36) took it on in a brutal 1964 version, starring Lee Marvin (The Commancheros), Angie Dickinson (Dressed to Kill), and John Cassavetes (Rosemary’s Baby), that was intended for television but deemed too violent for home audiences and released theatrically instead.

The first is poetic and shadowy, the second direct and harsh as daylight, but both get at the heart of Hemingway’s existential classic.

Criterion’s DVD and Blu-ray editions of the two films include the following features:

  • New high-definition digital restorations of both films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays
    • Andrei Tarkovsky’s short film adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s “The Killers,” made when he was a student in 1956
    • Interview from 2002 with writer Stuart M. Kaminsky about both films
    • Piece from 2002 in which actor Stacy Keach reads Hemingway’s short story
    • Screen Director’s Playhouseradio adaptation from 1949 of the 1946 film, starring Burt Lancaster and Shelley Winters
    • Interview from 2002 with actor Clu Gulager
    • Audio excerpt from director Don Siegel’s autobiography, A Siegel Film, read by actor and director Hampton Fancher
    • Trailers
    • Essays by novelist Jonathan Lethem and critic Geoffrey O’Brien



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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.