RARA-AVIS: Re:Killers

From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 14 Jun 2007


One of my all-time favorites, one of the things that's overlooked about THE KILLERS is that it's one of the best PI films of the '40's. And also a damned good caper movie, on a par with THE ASPHALT JUNGLE and THE KILLING.

It's basically an original screenplay, except for the first 20 or so minutes which is a very faithful dramatization of Hemingway's short story, but Anthony Veiller, the script-writer, treats that source material as though it was the first chapter of a novel rather than a self-contained work, and then go on to write that novel.

The hero of that "novel," is insurance investigator Jim Reardon, who puts together the victim's past life
(CITIZEN KANE-style), and manages to solve a long unsolved crime in the process, the long-ago payroll robbery of a factory.

I've always wondered whether Edmund O'Brien's turn as the claims cop might have been what got him hired as the first actor (or at least one of the first) to play the title role of "America's Free-Lance Insurance Investigator" on the best of all radio private eye shows, YOURS TRULY, JOHNNY DOLLAR.


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