The Killers is based on an Ernest Hemingway short story. Burt Lancaster, making his film debut, plays Swede, a broken-down ex-fighter waiting in a sleazy room to be assassinated. He does not resist when two men empty their guns into him. It becomes the job of insurance investigator Edmond O’Brien to discover why Swede had given up. He pieces together an elaborate look at a man who became the fall guy for gangsters and a seductive, unscrupulous woman (Ava Gardner). A taut Miklos Rozsa score (with a theme later used in Dragnet), an Anthony Veiller screenplay (with, uncredited, John Huston), and the brilliant artistry of director Robert Siodmak make this a stunning tale of cross and double cross.