Born to Kill
Directed by Robert Wise. US. 1947. NR. 92 minutes. Warner. 35mm.
Sun., April 24, 2016
Lawrence Tierney, who had recently made a name for himself as a very tough guy in the title role of Dillinger (1945), stars in this exceptionally brutal and forceful film noir, playing the appropriately named Sam Wild, an ex-boxer with a hair-trigger temper and a propensity for murder. After marrying an insecure young woman for her money, Sam goes after her sister, played by famed femme fatale, Claire Trevor. Needless to say, this leads to even deeper levels of betrayal and violence. Featuring Walter Slezak as a shifty private eye, and Elisha Cook, Jr. (forever remembered as the weasely gunsel, Wilmer, in The Maltese Falcon) as Sam’s best friend, this is a thriller not to be missed. (Interestingly, the savage and often vicious Born to Kill was directed by Robert Wise, who went on to later fame for helming the likes of The Sound of Music, West Side Story and Star Trek; The Motion Picture. Go figure.) (Bill Roth)