You’re a fan of classic Hollywood cinema, you’ve seen all the greats that show up on Turner Classic Movies, but did you know about the first “real” Kubrick film? The Killing (USA, 1956, United Artists) is a heist film about a horse-racetrack robbery with steel-jawed Sterling Hayden navigating a twisty, time-traveling narrative that inspired Reservoir Dogs. This film has it all — tough-talking sharpies, dames you shouldn’t turn your back on, and a wonderfully complicated plan for the robbery. Oh, and possibly my favorite final line of a movie! Available on iTunes and Amazon Video.
The Sweet Smell of Success (USA, 1957, United Artists) comes down to talent: British director Alexander Mackendrick, a script by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman, the acid-tongue dialogue performed by Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis, and a brilliant score from Elmer Bernstein. One of the great cynical films of the era, where the slick ’50s jazz façade covers the dark ways people treat each other. Available on iTunes and Amazon Video.