MovieChat Forums > The Killers (1946) Discussion > why did the Swede just wait to be killed...

why did the Swede just wait to be killed?


Even though he was warned that two hit men were after him, the Swede didn't do anything to protect himself. He just waited to be killed. Why?

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His life was over when he was jilted. He tried to commit suicide but was stopped. He knew he would eventually be found if he ran. Hemmingway's novels dealt with life and death and how a man reacts at the end of his existence. The original story ended with the death of Swede. The movie created a really good story explaining why Swede became so depressed.
What are you gonna do? Kill me? Every body Dies. John Garfield (Body and Soul)

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I absolutely agree with your take on the matter. From the moment Lancaster sets eyes on Gardner he is totally obsessed and captivated. In jail he is seen playing with the scarf she gave him and it becomes a center of focus in the investigation taken up by O'Brien. By the time "The Killers" are closing in on Lancaster, despite the warnings, he has long been "a dead man" from a psychological perspective. The Swede was clearly never the same after the suicide attempt and the loss of Gardner after the events of Atlantic City. (In a strange way, it could be said that it simulated a similar obsession that Sinatra had after his divorce to Gardner)

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Because he was a moron.

Not sure why we needed another ~95 minutes of flashback which do nothing other than reinforce that point. Might as well have left it as a 10 minute short film.

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The answer is the essence of film noir...fatalism.

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Why do trollish types like Navaros even *bother* posting when a much-admired and even much-loved movie - in this case, the brilliant The Killers - apparently yields nothing to their baffled gaze, nothing whatsoever, nothing to admire, still less to love?

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combining to the idea of fatalism, you must also remember that the swede still thinks that kitty (alone) double-crossed him; he didn't know she was still in cahoots with her husband, big jim colfax. so the swede felt that he got what was coming to him after stealing from the other thieves which he thinks includes colfax. i think it's the "masculine" code that many noir films possess.

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I first read the Hemingway story as a HS Senior in English class. I asked the same question as I was shocked by what I took as the Swedes hopeless resignation to his situation. In the movies the hero, the good guy, always fought and won. As an 18 year old I myself was ready to take on the world. Problems existed to be solved. You never give in. Sure bad things happened to people but it was because those people did not handle the situation right. Now after more than 40 years of living I know things are not that simple. There are problems that can't be solved. Circumstances can overwhelm you. Sure you always try your best but in some situations your best is not good enough. The question becomes can you solve the problem or can you only run from the problem. I think the Swede considered it, saw there was no solution and decided he was not going to run. As to whether there was a solution I don't know. Personally I like the idea of redemption. As to the decision to stop running, I'm a little more sympathetic to the Swede now.

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An awful lot of blather about nothing. The Hemingway story ends the same way. Swede has decided he's through running. You don't know from what or why. That's the point. There are no easy explanations in life. That's why it's a great story!

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[deleted]

You know you are just a thoughtless prick! DO NOT PUT SUCH SILLY PLOT SPOILERS AS YOUR TITLE! What are you, 12? You really spoiled the movie for me! I know I could have enjoyed the movie a lot more if I didn't scroll down the first time I checked the IMDB entry... Thanks for your help!

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Come on, he got killed within the first 15 or so minutes of the film. Not too much to "spoil" there.



"facts are stupid things" - Ronald Reagan

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nimesh-nambiar (Wed Apr 18 2012 14:34:55)
You know you are just a thoughtless prick! DO NOT PUT SUCH SILLY PLOT SPOILERS AS YOUR TITLE! What are you, 12? You really spoiled the movie for me! I know I could have enjoyed the movie a lot more if I didn't scroll down the first time I checked the IMDB entry... Thanks for your help!

franzkabuki (Mon Apr 23 2012 06:28:45)
UPDATED Mon Apr 23 2012 06:48:20

Come on, he got killed within the first 15 or so minutes of the film. Not too much to "spoil" there.

I'm with you franzkabuki. This is the intriguing part of Hemingway's story that, according to an earlier post, was brought forward in the screenplay. No wonder the screenwriter won an Oscar.

The way the Swede seemed to want to die was one of the points taken into the 1964 re-make http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058262/; which, by the way, is a huge disappointment and not recommended at all.

Lancaster played that scene brilliantly. I've never seen a more depressed person on the screen. In fact, Lancaster was magnificent throughout the film; and it was his first film too.

9/10 Excellent.

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To put it simply "the Swede was tired of running.

As for spoilers the title of the movie is "The Killers" What do you think is going to happen?

TAG LINE: True genius is a beautiful thing, but ignorance is ugly to the bone.

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It's the inevitability of fate, a common noir theme. If it wasn't today that they got him, it would be tomorrow or a thousand tomorrows. It was a blessing for him, he no longer had to live each day looking over his shoulder.

Like Jeff Bailey, played by Mitchum in Out of the Past, the Swede is discovered working in a gas station some years after his transgression against a gangster. Bailey initially went through the steps that he thought would enable him to survive, but as long as the gangster and/or the dame were around, his life didn't belong to him.



It ain't easy being green, or anything else, other than to be me

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Suicide by hit-man.

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

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I wonder if this was a foreshadowing of Hemingway's own suicide. A psychological ending forcing a physical one.

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Didn't you watch the movie? He explained that he was tired of running. They would just find him eventually. And he never got over Kitty.

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maybe so...



🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴

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"I wonder if this was a foreshadowing of Hemingway's own suicide. A psychological ending forcing a physical one."


Yes. Maybe not so much forcing it as simply reflecting what was already going on in Hemmingway's head. Not to dismiss the power of neurotransmitters, but I wonder if there was also a woman behind Hemmingway's suicide?

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