EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|VIOLENT SATURDAY (director: Richard Fleischer; screenwriter: based on the novel by William L. Heath/Sydney Boehm; cinematographer: Charles G. Clarke; editor: Louis Loeffler; music: Hugo Friedhofer; cast: Victor Mature (Shelley Martin), Richard Egan (Boyd Fairchild), Stephen McNally (Harper), Virginia Leith (Linda Sherman), Tommy Noonan (Harry Reeves), Lee Marvin (Dill), Margaret Hayes (Mrs. Emily Fairchild), J. Carrol Naish (Chapman), Sylvia Sidney (Elsie Braden), Ernest Borgnine (Stadt), Dorothy Patrick (Helen Martin), Boyd Morgan (Slick), Brad Dexter (Gil), Bill Chapin (Steve Martin); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Buddy Adler; Twilight Time; 1955)|
pic that has Ernest Borgnine as a pacifist Amish farmer plunging a
pitchfork into the back of the devil character played by Lee Marvin,
could have won me over on that alone."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Richard Fleischer ("The Boston Strangler"/"Soylent
Green"/"The Jazz Singer") skillfully
directs this well-crafted atmospheric violent bank heist pic. It's
based on the story by William L. Heath (it appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine in
February 1955) and is written with great dialogue by Sydney
Boehm (for example, a heartbroken
Richard Egan cries out in
bewilderment to his new flame, "She
looked awful, didn't she? Like she'd never been alive," after viewing his wife's corpse and
recalling that just four hours ago he reconciled with her).
The action scenes are right on target, but the overheated and contrived melodramatic subplots are unconvincing and slow things down considerably. But any pic that has Ernest Borgnine as a pacifist Amish farmer plunging a pitchfork into the back of the devil character played by Lee Marvin, could have won me over on that alone.
Three vicious bank robbers --
cold-blooded candy-chomping safecracker Chapman (J. Carroll Naish), the
inhaler sniffing killer Dill (Lee Marvin), and the ruthless master-mind gang leader
Harper (Stephen McNally) -- are strangers posing as traveling salesmen
in the small Arizona mining town of Bradenville, who case the bank prior to pulling...
a Saturday afternoon holdup at closing time. The trio hole up in the Bradenville
Hotel and scheme the heist for a day or so, which gives us a chance to
observe life in this quiet town. Twerpy married bank manager Harry Reeves (Tommy Noonan) has the hots for the new hottie nurse in
town, Linda Sherman (Virginia
Leith), and creepily stalks
her. Wealthy young mine owner Boyd
Fairchild (Richard Egan) is unhappy and drinks too much because
his wife Emily (Margaret Hayes)
is unfaithful. Mine supervisor Shelley
Martin (Victor Mature) is a happily married family man, whose only
concern is that his 10-year-old son (Bill Chapin) questions him why he was not in the war,
and sullen librarian Elsie
Braden (Sylvia Sidney), from a prominent family, is humiliated
to find herself in debt and is so desperate she steals a purse.
It all leads to the climactic
robbery, where the trigger happy gun-toting robbers kill one customer
and wound a
bank employee before making their escape in Shelley's car, with him
held as a hostage in an Amish farm outside of town. That's where the
gang intends to transfer the stolen loot into a truck carrying hay,
while they ride off in the stolen vehicle. The only trouble is Martin
got loose and a bloody shoot-out occurs at the
REVIEWED ON 4/19/2011 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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