Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

VIOLENT SATURDAY


VIOLENT SATURDAY (1955). Director: Richard Fleischer.

While a group of criminals gather in Bradenville to plan and commit a robbery, we are treated to vignettes about some of the townspeople. The problem with this caper movie is that it wants to be something else, a small town drama, with the robbery almost being incidental [it fact it takes place in only a couple of minutes]. The soap opera gets in the way of the caper story, and the look at small town life -- a man (Richard Egan) with a philandering wife, a librarian (Sylvia Sidney) with debts, a mousy bank manager (Tommy Noonan) who's sort of a peeping tom -- isn't all that interesting. There are so many actors hardly any of them really get a chance to shine. Victor Mature is the nominal hero; Stephen McNally is the head of the crooks; Ernest Borgnine is an Amish farmer [!]. J. Carrol Naish and Lee Marvin are as flavorful as ever as two members of the gang. Virgina Leith is a pretty nurse who arouses passions before becoming The Brain That Wouldn't Die. A much better Richard Fleischer film was Fantastic Voyage.

Verdict: Not worth the time it takes to tell. **.

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