Re: RARA-AVIS: poppa and pauline

Date: 12 Mar 2002


Re you comment below:

> As I recall, Hemingway's "The Killers" bears little
> resemblance to the
> movie, acting as little more than prologue. In the
> book, it's all about the
> waiting, knowing the killers are coming and not
> doing a damn thing about it.
> In the movie, it's all backstory and told almost
> completely in flashback.

Your memory's fairly accurate. However, I disagree that the 1946 film bears little or no resemblance to the story. In fact the first 20 minutes is virtually a word-for-word replay of the story. It IS treated as though it's the first chapter of a novel, rather than a self-contained short story, but it's a very faithful rendition.

What follows is, for all practical purposes, an original screenplay, with Edmund O'Brien as a Continental Op-like insurance investigator (another Hmmett/Hemingway connection, though the character's resemblance to the Op may have been coincidental) trying to fathom the reason's behind the victim's murder. It's not Hemingway (though it does make use of Hemingway's reference to the victim having been a prizefighter), but it's very good. In fact I'd say it's one of the best PI films ever made.

Hemingway is reported as having thought that THE KILLERS was the best film adaptation of any of his work.


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