Retrospective 2016

Violent Saturday

Richard Fleischer
USA 1955
90 min

In the unique marriage of heist caper and overheated melodrama, VIOLENT SATURDAY, a trio of bandits enter the quiet small Arizona mining town of Bradenville led by criminal mastermind Harper who is masquerading as a costume jewelry salesman. Joined by Dill and Chapman, Harper and his gang hole up in the Bradenville Hotel where they plot their robbery of the local bank. But in many ways, the heist is secondary. For Fleischer and Boehm, far more interesting is their depiction of life in Bradenville, an on-the-surface peaceful small town which in fact harbors a number of feverish, sordid personal stories.
Boehm based his screenplay on a story by William L. Heath, which appeared in “Cosmopolitan” magazine in 1955. Fleischer composes scrolling studies in horizontality, grabbing one of the most ravishing train shots in cinema. Everything keeps swirling inexorably toward the zero-hour heist, thanks to Boehm, who gets in some of his gristliest lines: “She looked awful, didn’t she? Like she’d never been alive”. (Felicia Feaster)

  • Victor Mature - Shelley Martin
  • Richard Egan - Boyd Fairchild
  • Stephen McNally - Harper
  • Virginia Leith - Linda Sherman
  • Tommy Noonan - Harry Reeves
  • Lee Marvin - Dill
  • J. Carrol Naish - Chapman
  • Ernest Borgnine - Stadt
  • Sydney Boehm
  • based on a story by William Heath
  • Charles G. Clarke
  • Harry M. Leonard
  • E. Clayton Ward
  • Louis R. Loeffler
  • Hugo Friedhofer
  • Lyle R. Wheeler
  • George W. Davis
  • Kay Nelson
Twentieth Century Fox
35 mm
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