Born to Kill

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A touch of the old mutilated ecstasy, this. One of the B movies that Wise directed before his career took off, it's an unthrilling noir thriller about a psychopathic slum kid (Tierney) marrying into wealth, and his relationship on the side with a woman (Trevor) who gets her kicks from living dangerously. Not a frame of it is convincing at the intended level, but it is consistently fascinating in its relentless emphasis on cruelty, degradation and duplicity - and the scene in which a lurid description of two corpses provokes paroxysms of lust in Tierney and Trevor is a classic of its kind. It also boasts Slezak as a rotundly philosophical (and corrupt) gumshoe, Elisha Cook as the usual fall-guy with a viciousness all his own, and a lot of surprising 'dirty' talk for the period. The pervasive misogyny is given some engagingly fresh angles too.

Release details

Duration: 92 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Robert Wise
Screenwriter: Richard Macaulay, Eve Greene
Cast: Elisha Cook Jr
Audrey Long
Philip Terry
Isabel Jewell
Esther Howard
Walter Slezak
Claire Trevor
Lawrence Tierney
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