Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Killers (1946) @ the Brattle

I finally got an opportunity to take my mother to The Brattle Theatre yesterday. They had a 1 pm screening of the classic film noir The Killers (1946) and not only did it work for both of our schedules, neither of us had seen this gem and getting to watch it on the big screen was a treat.

For every 1 classic film I watch, my mother watches 3. She's just the consumate consumer of old movies and she gave up Mexican telenovelas permanently to catch flicks on Turner Classic Movies. We both approach classic films in different ways. My mother watches, enjoys, discards and moves on to the next film. I, however, pore over minute details, do research and try to stretch out the film experience as much as I can. I think we both get different things out of classic films but bond over our mutual love for them.

So on Saturday I took my mom to Harvard Square, where we had a quick lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant and picked up coffee and macaroons at a new coffee joint. We headed over to the theater to pick up our tickets.

I directed my mom up to my favorite seats in the theater (balcony, last row, far right corner) and we did some pre-show bonding as she snacked on some popcorn.

When the lights dimmed, we were in for a treat. The Killers (1946) is an engrossing and suspenseful film noir. Burt Lancaster plays Swede, a former boxer and con artist who is killed by two hit men. Insurance investigator James Riordan (Edmond O'Brien) traces the complex trail of clues to piece together the events that led up to Swede's murder. Swede had been caught up with femme fatale Kitty Collins (Ava Gardner) and various other con artists in a heist that went terribly wrong, in the way that heists do in film noirs. I highly recommend this film to anyone who hasn't seen it yet.

Mom's reaction to the movie in her own words: It was good. Very suspenseful. It was interesting that they start with the murder and worked backwards.

After the film, we headed back to my car which required a subway trip outbound (parking in Harvard Square is a nightmare!). Funny enough, I saw my favorite T guy at the station. I introduced him to my mom and he was gracious enough to let us through for free! Come to find out, he's a big film fan and watches old movies on AMC and TCM! Us classic film fans are everywhere I guess.


If you live in the Boston area, make sure you check out The Brattle Theater if you haven't already done so. Here are some upcoming showings that film noir enthusiasts will want to see.

The Killers (1946) - 4 showings today Sunday April 18th
Criss Cross (1949) - 2 showings Tuesday April 21st
Phantom Lady (1944) - 2 showings Tuesday April 21st
The File on Thelma Jordan (1950) - 3 showings Thursday April 23rd


  1. "The Killers" is a fantastic film-- looks like you & mom had a wonderful time!

  2. Thanks John! I'm surprised neither of us had seen it but I'm glad we had not. It was a treat to see it with her and up on the big screen.

  3. Then I must see it! Cute pictures of you and your mom. I love to bond with my family in that way, through mutual interests! It was watching Casablanca with my mother that inspired my classic film interest.
    Nice to have a favourite theatre seat and a favourite T-man!
    Like the Newman picture on the top, too ;)

  4. What a nice saturday excursion! I wish my mum or dad were more intersted in film. I will go with my son later when he finally comes off the Wall-E trip... :)

  5. Such a marvelous film and a noir I can watch over and over. Must have been wonderful to see the film on a big screen and with your mother :)

  6. I love Boston and haven't been there in far too long (2001). (My dad lived in Waltham for a couple years due to a job. I also have a close friend in No. Easton.) Wish I could see THE KILLERS or CRISS CROSS in a theater, although I do have them available on tape or DVD...there used to be many revival theaters in L.A. and Orange County, and when I was a teen we went to see old movies in theaters several times a month. (Keep in mind this was the '70s/early '80s and for most of that time there wasn't video or cable TV...!)

    There's nothing like seeing a film up on the "silver screen." :) So great you could enjoy the experience with your mom.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Best wishes,

  7. Your mom reminds me of my fiance's mother. Being originally from Ecuador she watches all the telenovelas but she'll always stop for a classic like a John Wayne/John Ford film.

  8. It's good you finally got to see The Killers, and on the big screen too! It is one of my favourite films noir.

  9. Nice one to see on the Big Screen. Seeing a movie with mom is so retro, I love it! I can think of only one or two movies I saw with my mom. Enjoy these things while you can.

  10. Great movie, glad you saw it. Must have been really cool on the big screen. Check out the Hemingway short story too (I found mine in a collection of Nick Adams stories), it's only a few pages and left me even more blown away by the "adaptation."

    I'd never seen the 1964 remake myself until the DVD release of both--that one's worth it just to see Norman Fell and Ronald Reagan sharing scenes together (they kind of went their separate ways after that!).

  11. Lolita - Thanks!

    Jonas - Wow, your son has been on the Wall-E trip a while now huh?

    Sebina - Yes, it was quite special to share this with my mom.

    Laura - If you make it out to Boston again, let me know! Yes watching old movies up on the big screen is really a treat.

    Robby - Ha! I'll tell my mom that, I'm sure she'll like it.

    Mercurie - I think it's one of my top faves now too.

    Bill - I appreciate all these moments with my mom and am always planning more.

    Traveler - I would watch the remake just for Angie Dickinson!

    Cliff - I'll definitely check out the short story. Thanks for the heads up.

  12. I'll definitely check out the Brattle Theater. A friend of mine is a "lukewarm" classic film fan, so I'm pretty sure it'll be easy to talk her into going with me.

  13. I've seen it a couple of times and like all have said, its a very good bit of Noir. So with nothing to add on the film, let me just say I really like the current banner. :-)

  14. Wow - I haven't seen your mother in years. She looks great, and certainly thrilled to be out and about with her daughter.

  15. Sounds like a wonderful day, Raquelle!


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