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Born to Kill

Born to Kill(1947)

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  • Great film noir full of nasties

    • Michael
    • 7/4/14

    Loved this film with it's duplicitous leading lady who in the pure sense of the film noir femme fatale is interested in number one and money and thats about all! A couple of scenes between her and Tierney playing her match, a violent impulsive man are quite overtly sexual and to my mind would have pushed the production code limitations of the day. Esther Howard, one of the 1940's most interesting character players (she put in a wonderful little appearance as the somewhat sleazy older lady after Joel McCrea in Sullivan's Travels) again presents a splendid turn as the ageing alcoholic out to avenge the killer of her precious Laurie Palmer (played by Isabel Jewel). Add in solid supporting players Elisa Cook Jr (did he ever provide us with a sub par performance?), Walter Slezak and the very decorative Audrey Long and you have quite a good ensemble of players led by Robert Wise directing who understood from his editing days at RKO for Val Lewton how important it is to get a narrative across to an audience. Only Philip Terry, quite wooden here as Trevor's fiancee, is a bit below par. Throw in some interesting dialogue and you have a nicely spent 90 minutes. Suspend disbelief and enjoy this classic with its collection of fairly unlikeable characters led by Trevor - remember it was produced in 1947!

  • Film Noir

    • bugsy
    • 7/31/13

    Thought film starred Scott Brady,then saw Tierney and Brady are brothers.Liked this movie,even if main character is very violent and jealous.

  • Born To Kill

    • bergy7
    • 11/14/12

    Just watched this movie and it is just plain awful.....only redeeming points are the star studded cast of Tierney(Straw Dogs/Seinfeld),Walter Slezak, Claire Trevor and the inimitable Elisha Cook Jr.

  • Unbelievable plot

    • Frank
    • 4/1/12

    Major spoiler alert!I cannot believe that this film has received so many positive reviews. It is one of the worst-written mainstream Hollywood films I have ever seen. I can forgive the highly stylized acting, as it was the norm for movies of that period. There is no excuse, however, for a screenplay so full of holes.Let's start with the fact that "Helen" (Claire Trevor) comes home late at night to find the bodies of her neighbor and the neighbor's boyfriend, and instead of reacting with shock, reacts as calmly as if this were a normal occurrence. Even if we are to believe that she does not call the police, because she does not want to be involved in the investigation, one would think that she would at least be concerned that the murderer might still be lurking about. Instead, she goes about her business nonchalantly, and proceeds to board a train to San Francisco.Coincidentally, the killer, Sam (Lawrence Tierney) (whom she does not yet know is the killer), just happens to be on the same train. Sam is creepy and controlling. Yet, for some reason, when he shows up at the mansion that Helen shares with her wealthy foster sister, Georgia (Audrey Long), she and Georgia feel comfortable enough to invite this total stranger in. The next thing you know, despite Sam's continued creepiness, Georgia falls in love with him and marries him. (Is this beautiful, rich woman really so desperate for love?)Meanwhile, back in Reno, Helen's former landlady has hired a private investigator (Walter Slezak) to investigate the murders. (Where are the police?)And so it goes. Throughout the movie, there is one situation after another that caused me to think, "Am I really supposed this? Certainly, Robert Wise turned out to be a great director. Unfortunately, "Born to Kill" is not an example of one of his better films.

  • Fabulous!

    • JulieinGeorgia
    • 4/1/12

    What a romantic movie- didn't realize I was watching "Film Noir" but after reading the reviews, I am undoubtedly a FAN of Film Noir... the gorgeous sets, dark characters, sparkling jewelry and snappy conversation, the handsome leading man and the chemistry between him and Trevor- smoking hot movie! Loved it!

  • Born To Kill

    • Steve K
    • 3/19/12

    Film noir doesn't get any better than this. 'Born To Kill' ranks up there with 'Out Of The Past', 'The Killing' and 'Detour' and features my favorite film noir femme fatale, Clair Trevor. While Lawrence Tierney portrays probably the most despicable screen character ever (rival's Henry Fonda in 'Once Upon A Time In The West'), he shares the stage with a host of vile characters, ably portrayed by Elisha Cooke and Esther Howard, not to mention Trevor. Other than the sweet faced and guilable Audrey Long, it's hard to find a 'good' person in this movie. Don't look for anything warm and fuzzy here. What a great film noir.....four stars.

  • One of the Best Noirs

    • Andy Moursund
    • 7/10/10

    With the two main characters being both loathsome and murderous, it's easy to rate Born to Kill as one of the "purest" of noirs. I loved it when I tuned in an old Seinfeld re-run and discovered Lawrence Tierney playing Elaine's father---and playing the part with every bit as much coldbloodedness as he brought to the Sam Wild character in this movie. Perfect casting in Tierney and Trevor make for a film whose pace never lags for a second from beginning to end.

  • Tough film noir

    • Ross
    • 4/11/09

    Maltin describes this as "super tough film noir", and he is right on! This is a gritty, well paced, and exciting little film. Sure to be very enjoyable for fans of the genre. Audrey Long is gorgeous in her role as the younger sister!

  • Born to Kill

    • Mike
    • 8/9/06

    Esther Howard, Elisha Cook, Jr. and notable cast provide normalcy while Tierney and Trevor spin out of control in a censored production.

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