A gritty 1956 film noir about a racetrack heist, The Killing (Criterion), now out on DVD, was a turning point in director Stanley Kubrick's career. The film stars Sterling Hayden as a man fresh from a five year stretch in prison, who is, once again, grabbing for the brass ring. In this case, it's a carefully plotted race track robbery. It goes beautifully, but what happens afterwards is a nightmare. Based on the novel Clean Break by Lionel White, there is a brilliant time structure to the film flashing backwards and forwards around the crime. And the dialogue was written by the great pulp novelist Jim Thompson (The Killer Inside Me) which adds a nasty bite -- particularly in the scenes with Marie Windsor as the venomous wife of milquetoast Elisha Cook Jr. But it's a seamless film -- dark, and suspenseful and bitterly ironic. This Criterion two-disc DVD collection includes Kubrick's 1955 noir Killer's Kiss, interviews with Hayden and a great interview with author Robert Polito about Thompson and his Hollywood years. This film has never looked better.