Monday, August 1, 2022

The Killing – Kino Lorber (4k UHD)

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1956
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Writers: Stanley Kubrick, Jim Thompson, Lionel White
Cast: Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards, Jay C. Flippen, Ted de Corsia, Marie Windsor, Elisha Cook Jr., Joe Sawyer, James Edwards, Timothy Carey, Kola Kwariani

Release Date: July 26th, 2022
Approximate Running Time: 83 Minutes 54 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 2160 Progressive / HEVC / H.265 / Dolby Vision HDR10
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $39.95

"With fascinating detail, legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange) lays bare the inner workings of a bold racetrack robbery. Among the crooks are Sterling Hayden (The Asphalt Jungle, Naked Alibi) as the deadly cool mastermind, Elisha Cook Jr. (The Maltese Falcon) as a shy teller and Timothy Carey (Paths of Glory) as a puppy-loving sharpshooter. The plan is set. Nothing can go wrong. Or can it?." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 5/5

Here’s the information provided about the transfer, "From 4K Scan of the Original Camera Negative."

The Killing comes on a 66 GB dual layer 4K UHD

Disc Size: 58.7 GB

Feature: 51.1 GB

The source used for this transfer looks excellent, and when compared to its previous home video releases, it is a noticeable improvement in every way. Most notably, there are no issues related to chroma noise that plagued previous home video releases. Image clarity, contrast, and shadow details are solid; there are no issues with compression; and the grain looks organic.

Audio: 4.75/5

This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English, and included with this release are removable English subtitles. The audio is in great shape; dialog comes through clearly; everything sounds balanced and robust when it should.


The extras for this release include reversible cover art, a limited-edition slipcover, an audio commentary with author/film Historian Alan K. Rode, and theatrical trailers for Killer’s Kiss (1 minute 46 seconds, DTS-HD mono English, no subtitles), The Killing (1 minute 46 seconds, DTS-HD mono English, no subtitles), and Paths of Glory (3 minutes, DTS-HD mono English, no subtitles).


Stanley Kubrick had directed two feature films, Fear and Desire and Killer’s Kiss, before The Killing. For me, his true debut as a professional filmmaker will always be The Killing. Instead of being a one-man operation behind the scenes like he had been with Fear and Desire and Killer’s Kiss, with The Killing, he would finally get the resources he needed, a creative partner in producer James B. Harris, and the first of many films where he would get to work with a solid cast.

The thing that immediately grabbed me while watching The Killing was Stanley Kubrick’s growth as a filmmaker from Killer’s Kiss to The Killing. One would be hard pressed to name a filmmaker whose growth was more substantial than Stanley Kubrick’s between these two films.

For The Killing, Stanley Kubrick would return to familiar ground, the crime film genre. And though he had a good test run with Killer’s Kiss He would take elements and themes from Killer’s Kiss and more fully flesh them out with The Killing.

Stanley Kubrick was known for being a meticulous filmmaker who knew what he wanted and would keep looking for it until he got it, even if it meant sacrificing actors, who were merely props in the grand scheme of his cinema. That said, Stanley Kubrick was always able to put together impressive casts who were all up to the challenges he put before them.

The Killing features an amazing cast who are great in their respective roles, especially Sterling Hayden (Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb) in the role of the protagonist, Johnny Clay, a felon who has come up with a scheme to rob a race track for two million dollars. Other notable performances include Timothy Carey (The World's Greatest Sinner) in the role of Nikki Arcane, a gunman hired to kill a racing horse, and Marie Windsor (Chamber of Horrors) in the role of Sherry Peatty, the backstabbing girlfriend of one of the men hired for the heist.

Though all elements are important in a Stanley Kubrick film, when discussing Stanley Kubrick's cinema, nothing stands out more than the visuals. That said, The Killing would mark the first time Stanley Kubrick worked with a cinematographer, and though The Killing is visually filled with imagery that would become synonymous with the cinema of Stanley Kubrick, one must not overlook cinematographer Lucien Ballard’s (The Wild Bunch) contributions to The Killing.

From a production standpoint, The Killing is a textbook example of a filmmaker's clicking on cylinders. Content-wise, The Killing does a superb job exploiting all the elements that are synonymous with film noir. Another area where The Killing excels is its brilliant use of narrative structure and a sensational ending that provides a perfect coda. Ultimately, The Killing is an exceptional film that is arguably one of the best Film noir's ever made.

The Killing makes its way to 4K UHD via an excellent release from Kino Lorber that comes with a solid audio/video presentation and an exceptional audio commentary that is filled with insight about The Killing and Stanley Kubrick, highly recommended.

                                                          4K UHD screenshots.

Written by Michael Den Boer

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