The Killing (1956, USA, Stanley Kubrick)
I have seen it--I own the damn thing--and I really dig it. As you say, real Kubrick. Funny, hard-nosed, smart. I really liked the way he edited some of the sequences too, though I can't remember exactly which ones since it has been awhile. Noir it most definitely is, though the crime caper element means it could also be considered a hybrid of sorts. It is influenced by some of the French films of the period by Melville and Dassin, I think, which is intersting cuz they were clearly riffing on the American films in the same genre, but adding their distinctly Euro-decadence to the mix. So, like Ford influencing Kurosawa who then influences Leone, we have a cinematic cultural phenom.
And Hayden's really cool. He has a fascinating personal history, being a war hero who ran was an undercover agent who ran guns to Yugoslav partisas to fight the fascists in Croatia. Won a Silver Star for his heroism, and had a deep admiration for the communist partisans, briefly holding a membershp in the party. However, he ended up ended up co-operating with the HUAC, and even hough the people he fingered were apparently all already known to the committee, Hayden admits in his autobiography that he hated himself for naming names.
His transformation from matinee idol to character actor began once he returned from the war, and by the time he made The Killing, his screen persona as a very tough dude was well established due to numerous appearances in both films noir and westerns like Johnny Guitar and Asphalt Jungle. His most famous work was to come, of course, in Godfather, but more significantly, as the deranged villain Gen. Jack D. Ripper in Dr. Strangelove.
I should have figured you had seen it, what with Kubrick being the auteur who stole your cherry.
If I had to pick one term to decribe the emotional characteristic of Noir I would pick "cold sweat." So Kubrick should be a natural for the genre. And he is - almost. It's the same as always with him. In The Killing he's all over the "cold" part but the "sweat" part isn't all there. It's a lustless business.
If ever an American belonged in Britain, it's he. Isn't their national motto "No Sex Please, We're British"?
Turns out the Yanks need their dicks yanked. And Noir is as American as apple pie.
Yeah, but it took the French to point it out to them. That's gotta gnaw at 'em.
Here's the trailer for The Killing: