Blu-ray Review: The Killing + Killer’s Kiss

The Killing

Stanley Kubrick is one of the greatest film directors of all time. He’s been widely acclaimed for his later post-Dr Strangelove work, including 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, A Clockwork Orange and Full Metal Jacket. However, his earlier work is often overlooked. It didn’t take Kubrick long to find his feet as a director with Paths of Gory and Spartacus following his first great film: The Killing.

Johnny Clay (Sterling Hayden) is planning one last job before settling down with his wife. He plans to rob a racetrack and assembles a team to pull off the heist. This includes a corrupt cop (Ted de Corsia), a sharpshooter (Timothy Carey), a wrestler (Kola Kwariani),a bartender (Joe Sawyer) and a teller, George Peatty (Elisha Cook Jr.). Whilst the scheme looks foolproof, George’s devotion to his unloving wife (Marie Windsor) threatens to derail it.

Most of the actors involved in The Killing made their names in film noir, and it undeniably fits into that genre. However, this is Kubrick so nothing is quite that simple. As usual, he’s well ahead of his time. There’s an undeniable overture toward the future French New Wave of filmmaking, both in The Killing and Killer’s Kiss. There are elements in both which you’ll find in his later work. The Killing is the first major film from Kubrick. An impressive entrant into a distinguished body of work.

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the feature
Stanley Kurbrick’s second feature, Killer’s Kiss (1955), presented in High Definition (1080p)
Original uncompressed mono PCM Audio on both films
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing on both films
The Evolution of a Master – critic Michel Ciment discusses Kubrick’s 1950s output
An extract from the French television series Journal de la cinéma featuring an interview with Sterling Hayden
An appreciation by filmmaker Ben Wheatley (Kill List, Sightseers)
Theatrical trailers for both films
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist
Collector’s booklet containing new writing by Peter Kramer, Barry Forshaw and filmmaker Ron Peck, illustrated with original archive stills

The Killing + Killer’s Kiss is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Films today.

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