I know there must be hundreds of noir thrillers in colour but still it felt weird not having the smokey dark backlit, black and white photography that goes so well with the genre. The thing that hits you right from the start of Violent Saturday is the simply gorgeous colour print. I read that at the time of filming it was one of the cheapest movies made using the CinemaScope wide-angle lens and the De Luxe colour print, it really shows. The photography brings out the beautiful deep bright hues in abundance. I wasn’t expecting it, as all I had seen before hand was black and white stills from the picture.
Basic outline of plot goes as this. Three dodgy looking men arrive in the small mining town of Bradenville with their eye on the local bank. Harper (Stephen McNally) is the charismatic leader, Dill (Lee Marvin) is the younger drug snorting addict with psychotic tendencies and Chapman (J Carrol Naish) is the almost lovable experienced older figure. The three hang around town staking out the joint.
During this time we see small stories appear from different residents of the town, all with differing troubles within their lives. Shelley Martin (Victor Mature) a good honest man but wishes for his son to be proud of him. There’s Boyd Fairchild (Richard Egan) and Emily Fairchild (Margaret Hayes) struggling with their marriage. There’s a beautiful nurse who’s on everyone’s minds called Linda Sherman (Virginia Leith) plus broke librarian Elsie (Sylvia Sidney).
Then to really mix things right up you get a peeping tom stalker in the form of the bank manager (Tommy Noonan) and saving the best to last, I was so happy when I worked out who the big framed man with large beard was, it’s was none other than Ernest Borgnine playing an Amish Farmer, I kid you not.
Director Richard Fleischer who made 10 Rillington Place, Soylent Green and the Bronson smasher Mr Majestyk to name just a few, works his magic perfectly in this film. Slowly edging the drama to it’s big finale and brings the V in the violent to a crashing crescendo. When it hits, it hits hard.
Taglines – The day all Hell broke loose….
I read a few critics at the time noted the extreme violence and undercurrent sexy vibe going on. In today’s standards it’s not that bad but it’s undeniably powerful and still packs quite the punch I felt. If you haven’t seen it before I really rated it. Or if you’ve seen it, what were your thoughts on the movie?
I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen Victor Mature before in a film or at least I hadn’t realised it was him. He was most excellent in Violent Saturday, is there any films of his I should look out for? Please feel free to let me know.
Thanks for popping on by. Keep on having fun finding new films to watch. Catch you soon. Mikey Wolfman.