Saturday, April 22, 2017

THE KILLERS - The First Made-For-TV Movie (1964)

Tonight's Saturday Night Special is loaded, and I'm going to take the silencer off the muzzle!
I told you last Wednesday that this was the first official made-for-TV movie, but it never reached it's intended destination because it was deemed to be way too violent for 1964 TV, and so they went ahead and released it to the theaters instead! Not only the first, this might also be the best made-for-TV movie too!

It's called "The Killers,"
 and I'll tell you what, this really ain't that bad of a film!
It's masterfully written..........................

.............and it has a killer cast indeed!

 Lee Marvin and his apprentice pal, Dungeon Super Hero Clu Gulager are hit men, and their first stop is a home for the blind!

All the employees are also blind, and Lee ends up decking this receptionist!
Yeah, I think beating up defenseless blind women is not even acceptable by today's rotten standards, much less a movie made-for-TV in 1964!

These two guys are just badass! They're mean cold-blooded killers, and they've come to do a job!

On the train ride after the hit, they try to figure out why the guy they hit named Johnny North didn't resist, but just took it! There has to be something else going on, and the smell of money is in the air!
I'm a little colourblind, so I see things different than most people, so I don't know about you, but I love the colours in this shot!

This is a killer portrait of Lee Marvin!!
Lee Marvin was Detective Lt. Frank Ballingerin in 117 episodes of "M Squad" from 1957 to 1960! He was in in two "Twilight Zone" episodes, "Steel," and "The Grave."  He was Liberty Valance, and he was one of "The Dirty Dozen!"

Now it's time to go back and piece this story together in a series of flashbacks! John Cassavetes is the guy who just got killed, race car driver with a sordid future named Johnny North, and his career is about to go South in a hurry! John was serious about his work, from acting in "Rosemary's Baby" to writing, directing and producing "Faces." Shamefully, John only made it to age 59 taken down by cirrhosis of the liver!

Angie (Police Woman) Dickinson is a race car driver groupie pursuing him!

The beautiful Nancy Wilson performs a dreamy song written by Hank Mancini!
I love Nancy for all the music she recorded with pianist extraordinaire George Shearing!

None other than Ronald Reagan is Angie's sugar daddy!
Three years later, Ronald Reagan would become the Governor of California, and then would go on to be the President Of The United States in 1981!
And in the "Talk About Freakin' Weird Department," President John F. Kennedy was assassinated during the time period that "The Killers" was made, which for obvious reasons slowed down production! I was in High School when Kennedy was killed, and I distinctly remember that all that was on TV for a week or more was news etc, and it was really a bummer, so on the weekend, I went to the movies to see a double feature matinee, and when it was over, I stayed and watched the first movie again, knowing there was nothing going to be on TV when I got back home but bad new. Just for the record, it cost 20 cents to go to the movies back then, and the country was in turmoil!

I think this kind of interrogation led to the demise of the individual steam bath!
Norman Fell had 167 acting credits to his name, but he will probably always be remembered most for being grumpy landlord Stanley Roper on the hit TV show "Three's Company!"

While not exactly a ménage à trois, this threesome are still dependent on one another if they want to get this job done! It's all about the money!

Wow, that's a really complicated plan! Maybe they got the six year old Ron Jr. to draw it out for them!

You have to admit, Ronnie looks pretty spiffy as a fake Sheriff!

Too violent for TV? First they smack her around, and then they almost throw Angie out a third story window!

Dark and Gritty by anybody's standards........

The ending of "The Killers" isn't any happier than the beginning!

This Indian poster I found at "The Evening Class" blog did a good job of encapsulated "The Killers" into only three photos! Check out that site for more international posters from this movie and a Helluva lot more!
 
 "The Killers" was a remake of the same story from 1946 called "The Killers" that starred Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner! They were both also released under the title, "Ernest Hemingway's The Killers!" The 1964 version is kind of rare, and the best deal I could find was here, where you can get DVD's of both the 1946 and the 1964 versions for about 20 bucks! That's actually a pretty killer deal!

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