Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

The Killers

(Robert Siodmak - 1946, Andrei Tarkovsky - 1956, Don Siegel, 1964)

 

Robert Siodmak's 1946 version launching the careers of Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner. Student Andrei Tarkovsky tackled the story with a faithful 19-minute short in 1956. In 1964, Don Siegel-initially slated to direct the 1946 film created his version. It starred Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson and John Cassavetes.

 

Ernest Hemingway’s simple but gripping short tale “The Killers” is a model of economical storytelling. Two directors adapted it into unforgettably virile features: Robert Siodmak, in a 1946 film that helped define the noir style and launch the acting careers of Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner; and Don Siegel, in a brutal 1964 version, starring Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, and John Cassavetes, 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.

***

Ernest Hemingway' wrote a short story called "The Killers". It has penetrated the interest of readers and filmmakers since it was initially brought to the public.  First in film in 1946, by director Robert Siodmak with his adaptation of 'The Killers'. It was the epitome of the term 'film noir'. In 1956, then-film student Andrei Tarkovsky brought the world his version in a 19-minute short and then in 1964, Don Siegel (originally on tap to direct the 1946 version) took the reigns for yet another version. The Criterion Collection has included all three unique takes on Hemingway's text in a zenith point of  immaculate restoration in one DVD (two disc set).  I was anxious to see it and it didn't let me down.

 

Posters

Reviews of 1946 Version                                                 Tarkovsky Student Shorts                                           Reviews 1964 Version 

 

Criterion Collection  Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Covers

   

  

Distribution Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC  Spine # 176 Criterion Collection - Spine #176 - Region 'A' Blu-ray
Runtime  Siodmak 46' Version:  1:42:36 /   Tarkovsky 56' Student Film  21:18 / Siegel 64' version 1:34:48 Siodmak 46' Version:  1:42:38.986 /   Tarkovsky 56' Student Film  0:20:38.445 / Siegel 64' version 1:34:48
Video

Disc # 1

1.37:1.00 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.46 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc # 2

1.37:1.00 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.0 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,246,289,991 bytes

1946 Feature: 19,282,182,144 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.50 Mbps

1956 Feature: 2,154,332,160 bytes

Video Bitrate: 13.00 Mbp

1964 Feature: 17,805,821,952 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.50 Mbp

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Bitrate: Criterion Disc 1

Bitrate: Criterion Disc 2

Bitrate: Criterion 1946 Blu-ray

Bitrate: Criterion 1956 Blu-ray

Bitrate: Criterion 1964 Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) /  Disc #2 - Dolby Digital Soundtrack or alternate digital music and effects track

1946 + 1964 versions:

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

1956:

Dolby Digital Audio Russian 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, None English, None

Features

Release Information:
Studio: Home Vision Entertainment / Criterion
Total Run Time: 196 minutes

Aspect Ratios:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.37:1 for all films

Discographic Information:
DVD Encoding: Region 1
Layers: Dual

Edition Details:

Disc # 1 - Siodmak and Tarkovsky versions
Features for The Killers (1946 Version):
• New digital transfer
• Andrei Tarkovsky's 1956 student film version of The Killers ( 21:18 )
• Video interview with writer Stuart M. Kaminsky ( 4:3 - 17:58 )
Screen Director's Playhouse 1948 Episode # 22 radio adaptation, starring Burt Lancaster and Shelley Winters ending with an interview with Robert Siodmak ( 29:36 )
• Actor Stacy Keach reads Hemingway's short story ( approx. 20:00 minutes )
86 production and 47 publicity stills
• Essay by Jonathan Lethem
• Paul Schrader's seminal 1972 essay "notes on film noir" ( static screens )
• Sidomak ( unrestored Black and White 4:3 - except 'Cobra Woman' ) Trailers including 'Son of Dracula' ( 1:32 ), 'Cobra Woman' ( 1:55 ), 'The Killers' ( 1:53 ), 'Cry of the City' ( 2:18 )and .Criss Cross' ( 2:19 )

Disc # 2 - Features for The Killers (1964 Version - Don Siegel Version):
• Reflections by star Clu Gulager ( 18:39 )
• Excerpts from Don Siegel's autobiography ( audio only 19:09 )
• Production correspondence including memos, broadcast standard reports, and casting suggestions
• Production and 23 publicity stills , 9 Behind-the-Scenes stills, 4 posters
• Essay by Geoffrey O'Brien
• Un-restored :59 second trailer
• Number of discs: 2

 

DVD Release Date:  February 18th, 2003
Double Keep Case
Chapters: 21 for 1946 version / 19 for 1964 version

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,246,289,991 bytes

1946 Feature: 19,282,182,144 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.50 Mbps

1956 Feature: 2,154,332,160 bytes

Video Bitrate: 13.00 Mbp

1964 Feature: 17,805,821,952 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.50 Mbp

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Andrei Tarkovsky’s short film adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s “The Killers,” made when he was a student in 1956 (20:38)
Interview from 2002 with writer Stuart M. Kaminsky about both films (17:46)
Piece from 2002 in which actor Stacy Keach reads Hemingway’s short story
Screen Director’s Playhouse radio adaptation from 1949 of the 1946 film, starring Burt Lancaster and Shelley Winters (17:43 + 29:42)
Interview from 2002 with actor Clu Gulager (18:46)
Audio excerpt from director Don Siegel’s autobiography, A Siegel Film, read by actor and director Hampton Fancher (19:32)
Trailer for 64' (2:23)
PLUS: Essays by novelist Jonathan Lethem and critic Geoffrey O’Brien

Blu-ray Release Date: July 7th, 2015
Transparent Keep case

Chapters: 21, 4, 19

 

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were obtained directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray June 15': Criterion have taken their 2003 The Killers triptych package of films from SD and transferred them to 1080P.

The 46' Siodmak The Killers - Arrow and Carlotta Blu-rays are compared separately HERE. This comparisons indicates that these two European transfer produce the same sterling results (As Michael Brooke confirmed: "The clean-up of Universal's HD master was a joint Arrow-Carlotta effort, so Arrow's disc will look pretty much identical (minor and probably invisible encoding issues aside). The new Criterion 1080P shares the disc with the Tarkovsky 56' student film and Siegel's 1964 version, so it has a less space/bitrate and, therefore, lesser image quality. But it still looks very solid to me - and impressive in-motion, although the Euro editions win on image. You can see the difference by expanding the screen captures below. This is less so with Siegel's' 1964 version where Arrow used both 1.85:1 and 1.33:1 aspect ratios (you can see that Blu-ray review HERE.) Criterion stay with the 1.33:1 AR and it has the same bitrate as the 46' version that it shares the dual-layered disc with. Again Arrow may nudge ahead with the image but US transfer still looks great with true, bright colors and warmth in the skin tones. Criterion are the only one to offer the 56' Tarkovsky student film and it also gets the upgrade to 1080P although with a very low bitrate and only lossy Dolby sound (as I suspect it is all they have - source-wise.) It is in the original Russian mono.

Both 1946 + 1964 version get a linear PCM mono transfers on the Criterion. For the Siodmak the iconic Miklós Rózsa score (The Lost Weekend, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, Double Indemnity) adds so much to the film experience - demonstratively in uncompressed. I can identify no difference from the other Blu-rays and this is also true of the 64' - there is some aggression that gets bass response, but the clarity is more notable in some of the music; Henry Mancini's Too Little Time sung by Nancy Wilson and the score composed by the iconic John Williams and an un-credited Fred Steiner (Twilight Zone) who did quite a bit of television work. No weakness here at all - it is predictably flat and audible. Criterion also offers optional English subtitles on all three films and their Blu-ray disc is coded for region 'A'.

Extras duplicate much of their excellent 2003 DVD with a few omissions (see bottom of paragraph). We keep the 18-minute, 2002 interview with writer Stuart M. Kaminsky about both films, Stacy Keach reading Hemingway’s short story, the audio Screen Director’s Playhouse radio adaptation from 1949 of the 1946 film, starring Burt Lancaster and Shelley Winters ( I LOVE these!), an interview from 2002 with actor Clu Gulager, a trailer for the 64's version and an audio excerpt from director Don Siegel’s autobiography, A Siegel Film, read by actor and director Hampton Fancher. Plus there is a liner notes booklet with essays by novelist Jonathan Lethem and critic Geoffrey O’Brien. What we lose that is on the old DVD - are the isolated music and effects tracks for each feature, galleries (publicity stills etc.), Paul Schrader’s “Notes on Film Noir essay, and - most glaringly - the 6 letter production correspondence with script notes by Don Siegel, NBC’s Broadcast Standards warnings etc.. I don't know why they were left off. Seems odd although perhaps the rights for those supplements have disappeared after a dozen years.

Criterion certainly stack this package with content - all three films in 1080P and substantial extras. Upgrading from the DVD should be a no-brainer and we can absolutely endorse this unique and value-packed Blu-ray.

***

ON THE DVD: It's hard not to be overwhelmed by this DVD. On the first disc the image quality reminds me of the latest Hitchcock Criterions (Spellbound, Rebecca, Notorious) Pitch perfect blacks - absolute superlative contrast (especially in shadows)- sharpness where it was thought impossible for films this old. Unbelievable is about all I can say. The Tarkovsky student film had a line running through most of it, but everything else about these two discs is perfect. The extras are enough to go through for weeks. The Siodmak version is the gem here, but the Siegel version is no slouch either with beautiful visible film grain. My goodness, just look at the captures below. I am almost willing to say Criterion have raised the bar again for DVD production (check out the bitrates!). Imagine if all older films could look this good on DVD! I better stop rambling... enjoy... this is another essential disc for DVD-o-philes. (cause I don't have a 6!)  out of      

Gary W. Tooze


Recommended Reading in Film Noir (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 



DVD Menus

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Also out in Germany as of December 2014:

 

 

 

   

 

Screen Captures

 

1946 Robert Siodmak Version

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Carlotta - Region 2 - PAL  - SECOND

3) Carlotta - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Carlotta - Region 2 - PAL  - SECOND

3) Carlotta - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Carlotta - Region 2 - PAL  - SECOND

3) Carlotta - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Carlotta - Region 2 - PAL  - SECOND

3) Carlotta - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1956 Andrei Tarkovsky Student Film

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/tarkovsky.htm

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


 

1964 Don Siegel Version

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - DVD - NTSC TOP

2) Arrow - 1.33:1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Arrow 1.85:1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - DVD - NTSC TOP

2) Arrow - 1.33:1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Arrow 1.85:1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - DVD - NTSC TOP

2) Arrow - 1.33:1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Arrow 1.85:1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Hit Counter

Box Covers

Distribution Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC  Spine # 176 Criterion Collection - Spine #176 - Region 'A' Blu-ray

 

 



 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...