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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Violent Saturday (1955)

Into a small Arizona copper mining town comes a trio of bank robbers: Lee Marvin as a sadistic, woman hating hypochondriac, Stephen McNally, J. Carrol Naish. As they plan the robbery, the various townspeople who will play out their lives in this crime drama are introduced. The wealthy alcoholic (Richard Egan) married to a nymphomaniac (Margaret Hayes) who is having an affair with a bachelor (Brad Dexter) who preys on married women, a librarian (Sylvia Sidney) in financial trouble who resorts to theft, an Amish farmer (Ernest Borgnine) and his family, a sexy nurse (Virginia Leith), a bank manager (Tommy Noonan) who turns into a Peeping Tom at night, a father (Victor Mature) who is considered a coward in his son's eyes. Their lives eventually converging toward the eventual bank heist on violent Saturday. This is a terrific crime thriller directed by Richard Fleischer, usually the most generic of directors. Fleischer keeps the tension taut and tight and at the forefront. Of course, some of the cliches are tiresome like the town tramp having to be punished for her promiscuity or the man of peace who is forced into a violent act against his principles. Handsomely shot in CinemaScope by Charles Clarke (CAROUSEL) and solidly scored by Hugo Friedhofer. With Dorothy Patrick.

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