Violent Saturday

The day all Hell broke loose !

Drama Crime
90 min     7     1955     USA


Three men case a small town very carefully, with plans to rob the bank on the upcoming Saturday, which turns violent and deadly.


John Chard wrote:
The Brandenville Broth. Violent Saturday is directed by Richard Fleischer and adapted to screenplay by Sydney Boehm from the novel of the same name written by William L. Heath. It stars Victor Mature, Richard Egan, Lee Marvin, Stephen McNally, J. Carrol Naish, Tommy Noonan, Ernest Borgnine, Virginia Leith and Sylvia Sidney. Music is by Hugo Friedhoffer and cinematography by Charles G. Clarke. Stand Pat and Resist Evil. A simmering powder keg of criminality told in beautiful De Luxe and CinemaScope, Violent Saturday is one of the definitions of a slow burn movie that pays off with explosive aplomb. The town of Brandenville is the scene of a planned bank robbery by a trio of baddies led by Harper (McNally). The narrative has the trio arrive in town and plan for the robbery, as they move about the populace, a whole bunch of sub-plots pop up to maintain maximum interest and to of course set up the drama involving the robbery and the subsequent attempts at a getaway. I don't blame him – she moves like a Swiss watch. The characters are prime noir dwellers, they range from thieving dames and tramp wives, to a peeping tom, a drunkard husband and also a guilt ridden father, and this before we even get to the villains! Who, with Marvin in prime Benzedrine sniffing scumbag mode (he thinks nothing of hurting children), are truly shifty operators personified. The Arizona locale is beautifully utilised by Fleischer and Clarke, belying the harsh side of the human condition that comes roaring out the Brandenville traps as the pic enters the final third. There's some murky moralising in said last third that irritates, more so when it involves a badly miscast Borgnine as a Quaker! While one character strand is annoyingly left dangling. So it's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. In fact some of the cast were less than enamoured with either their work on the film or the attitude of others around them. Yet, and while understanding the reticence of some to not afford it film noir status, it has the requisite characterisations and nasty bite to keep noiristas very happy indeed 7.5/10