Terence Stamp's Scotch Pancakes w/Bramble Jelly
A version of this post appears at the Criterion Collection website
This is the fourth movie I've featured that was released in 1984, which like previous multi-film posts, I have no idea why this year is rearing its head so often. And it's my second Criterion post of films from 1984. The four are: Broadway Danny Rose, Paris, Texas, Blood Simple, and now The Hit. I'll leave this to my biographers to work out someday.
I have enjoyed this movie so much over the years. It not only grows, but continues to blossom, with every viewing. It's all so very Zen.
Since I first saw The Hit, I have been convinced that it was a third version of Ernest Hemingway's The Killers. (The first two versions - are availabe in a lovely box set by Criterion, hint hint.) In the first version (starring Burt Lancaster), the killers are in and out, and the story of why the man died without a fight is left to an investigator. In the second (starring Lee Marvin, John Cassavetes & Ronald Reagan), the killers go on an adventure to figure out why the man they just shot didn't put up a fight. This would be the third, in which the killers explore the subject with the victim before they kill him. In researching the film for this post, I found several other folks who feel the same way. (One fellow noted: "If Jean-Paul Sartre had adapted Hemingway’s The Killers, [such a movie] might play like this."
Now, about a decade ago, a dear friend of mine in London happened to mention to me he was going to interview Stephen Frears the following day. I begged him to ask Frears the one question I'd always wanted answered - was The Hit inspired by The Killers? The next day, I got my answer. Frears told my friend "Absolutely not." But, I still don't believe it and you won't convince me otherwise. But even if it wasn't conscious, even if Frears and Prince were unaware of, nor seen either version of the The Killers, it is still in my mind a further exploration of that story.