7.2/10
4,252
84 user 41 critic

Born to Kill (1947)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 3 May 1947 (USA)
A calculating divorcée risks her chances at wealth and security with a man she doesn't love by getting involved with the hotheaded murderer romancing her foster sister.

Director:

Robert Wise

Writers:

Eve Greene (screenplay), Richard Macaulay (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Claire Trevor ... Helen Brent
Lawrence Tierney ... Sam Wilde
Walter Slezak ... Albert Arnett
Phillip Terry ... Fred Grover
Audrey Long ... Georgia Staples Wilde
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Marty Waterman
Isabel Jewell ... Laury Palmer
Esther Howard ... Mrs. Kraft
Kathryn Card ... Grace
Tony Barrett ... Danny
Grandon Rhodes ... Inspector Wilson
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Storyline

In Reno a man kills a girl he likes and her boyfriend out of jealousy; it may not be the first time. A woman whose divorce has just come through finds the bodies then decides not to become involved. The two meet next day on the train to San Francisco unaware of this link between them. They are attracted to each other, and the relationship survives his marriage to her half-sister for money and status. It even survives the woman discovering that he was the murderer, though she may not realize how easily someone who has killed this way before can do so again. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

THE COLDEST KILLER A WOMAN EVER LOVED! (original poster-all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 May 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Deadlier Than the Male See more »

Filming Locations:

Reno, Nevada, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filmed partially on location at Jewett Estate, 1145 Arden Road, Pasadena, California. See more »

Goofs

The stunt doubles getting on the train in Reno are obviously not Lawrence Tierney and Claire Trevor. See more »

Quotes

Helen: [to Sam, approvingly] You're not a turnip, are you?
See more »


Soundtracks

I Haven't a Thing to Wear
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Revel
Tune on the radio when Helen discovers the bodies
See more »

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User Reviews

 
If there's hard-core noir, this is it!
21 June 2000 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

Robert Wise does not come to mind as a master director of film noir, but he came through with flying colors (all black) in this gem, starting out in Reno, Nevada, and ending up in San Francisco. Claire Trevor, the dark spider of so much noir, outdoes herself in cold malevolence here (she should have copped the Oscar for this film, not Key Largo). Her evenly matched partner is the frightening Lawrence Tierney (who last showed up as Elaine Benes' author dad on Seinfeld, not to mention in Prizzi's Honor and Reservoir Dogs). The supporting cast, for once, earns its keep (though Walter Slezak, as a corrupt detective, is oddly irrelevant to the story). If you're a fan of these dark post-war films, Born to Kill is central to the canon.


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