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Author Topic: Violent Saturday (1955)  (Read 67 times)
Bounty Killer
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« on: January 03, 2018, 04:52:42 PM »

Watching this on bluray was like seeing a completely different movie. This is one of the better directed movies I've ever seen in scope, there are so many efficiently beautiful longtakes that had to influence Spielberg. As for the TT bluray, it's a gorgeous transfer. It at least deserves an honorable mention on any best looking HD transfers from the classic era list. The lighting, direction, editing in this movie is phenomenal as well.  

The third act might not quite deliver like the way you want it to, but the set up to the heist was executed so well that it doesn't matter all that much. The minutes fly by here. I really can't say enough good things about this movie. This would make a great double bill with Bad Day at Black Rock with a "Not quite noir/not quite western movies from 1955" theme.

I highly recommend the TT bluray. It has been on sale for as little as 9.99 a few months back.

A- or 9/10

Here's DJ's much more coherent review:

Violent Saturday (1955) 9/10. Stephen McNally arrives by bus in “Bradenville” (played by Bisbee, AZ). Unwisely crossing the street in front of the parked bus, he’s almost hit by a sleek sports car driven by the town’s leading adulteress, Mrs. Boyd Fairchild (Margaret Hayes). Rearranging the golf bag in the front seat before putting her car back in gear, Mrs. Fairchild shoots McNally a murderous look –the irony!—and drives on. Their paths won’t cross again until Saturday, Violent Saturday. McNally finally makes it to the other side of the street, and there stands the bank he’s come to rob. But it isn’t yet Saturday (a Saturday which will be violent!), so he turns and walks past. As he goes, the bank manager (Tommy Noonan) raises the blinds of a picture window and looks out—he too has a date with Violent Saturday. McNally arrives at his hotel, and, checking in, spies Linda (Virginia Leith), the object to every man’s desire. A nurse at the local hospital, she forms a skein in Fate’s Tapestry as well (Fate’s Violent Tapestry!). Meanwhile McNally’s two henchmen, J. Carrol Naish and Lee Marvin (with a sinus condition), are on a train, Bradenville bound. Naish notices some Amish children in their car and gives them candy. We will learn that Naish often gives children candy. Marvin, by contrast, won’t pass up an opportunity later to step on a child’s fingers. Back in Bradenville, McNally is studying the lay of the land, on the relief map in the town library. Miss Braden (Sylvia Sydney), the librarian and, presumably, a descendant of the city’s founder, has fallen on hard times and is tempted to steal from a patron. McNally observes her with cynical relish, then steps outside to witness a fight between schoolboys. The father of one of the boys arrives—it’s Victor Mature!—and questions his son, then has to get back to work. He’s a vice-president at Fairchild Copper, Bradenville’s only industry. The other vice-president is Boyd Fairchild (Richard Egan), drunk in his office and sick about his wandering wife. He has his secretary put in a call for her at the country club—and CUT, there she is, golfing with her current squeeze, Brad Dexter. And so it goes, Rififi meeting La Ronde. When Naish and Marvin hit town, their paths too begin interweaving with those of the townsfolk. A final thread is supplied by an Amish farmer played by Ernest Borgnine in a funny beard (“I thank thee, neighbor.”). Borgnine enters the picture carrying a pitchfork, and seasoned theatergoers know that Chekhov has a rule about that: if you show a character in Act One carrying a loaded pitchfork, that pitchfork must go off by Act Three. And Act Three here is Saturday, Violent Saturday, the place where all paths converge . . . . . violently.

At one point Lee Marvin comments that Virginia Leith’s Linda is built like a Swiss watch, but the same could be said of Richard Fleischer’s film and its precision-instrument plot. Never have scenes been more artfully joined; never have Cinemascope frames been better composed; never have movements within those frames been more persuasively motivated or performed with such economy.

Twilight Time brought the movie out on DVD a while ago, using elements they claimed weren’t good enough for an HD transfer. But Carlotta in France has since produced this stunning Blu-ray from other elements. The transfer is mind-bogglingly great, a 10/10 (It makes“Color by De Luxe” actually mean something). I doubt the film looked this good even when projected in 1955.

There are two supplements, one in French without subtitles, but one in English, an insightful appreciation of the movie by William Friedkin [one has to wonder if the film didn’t influence Mr. Friedkin’s own Sorcerer]. The disc is region-coded “B”.

« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 04:54:54 PM by T.H. » Logged

Claudia, we need you to appear in LOST COMMAND. It's gonna revolutionize the war genre. What did you think of the script?
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