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. **.

4 comments:

Pekkala said...

I was fortunate to have seen this film on the big in the Viennale Festival so I was treated to a powerful visual experience. The colours and compositions in this film are truly reminischent of Edward Hopper'canvases. I found the film to be gripping and involving. The way the lives of the characters were intertwined up until the robbery climax was well done, and IMHO ahead of its time. This film has quite a following in Europe.....One of the rare Noirs in Colour....

William said...

Apparently this film just didn't work for me as I don't even remember it that well. But your comments have made me want to check it out again, so I appreciate your opinion. I will look for it and who knows I may find something more to admire in it.

Pekkala said...

Hi, I guess the full screen format instead of DVD really helped the experience. Thanks for your great blog....

William said...

Thank you!