I planned on holding off my thoughts on Robert Siodmak’s The Killers for a while just because it’s such a quintessential noir. And because I knew I would have a lot to say about it. But my plate was clean today of freelance work, so fuck it, let’s rumble. Honestly, guys, this is the Citizen Kane of film noirs. Adapted from the short story by Ernest Hemingway (arguably the granddaddy of the hard-boiled school of writing), The Killers is an exemplary example of Siodmak’s refined blend of Hollywood talent and German expressionistic leanings. The character played by Burt Lancaster also strongly defines the classic Hemingway hero who accepts his fate in the face of death.
Talk about a blueprint for film noir, Robert Siodmak’s Criss Cross lays down an impenetrably stark view of the Los Angeles underworld and one poor sucker who gets trapped in its web. What lured him there? A woman, duh. The title refers to the barrel of bluffs characters dip their heads into – bobbing for salvation. While film noir is known for its doomed heroes and hopelessness, Criss Cross transcends these motifs and reaches this surreal nightmare of despair, obsession, and betrayal unmatched in the golden era.