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: Violent Saturday (1955)  ( 1885 )
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« : 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”.

« : January 03, 2018, 04:54:54 PM T.H. »


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« #1 : November 20, 2018, 02:50:53 AM »

Heist meets melo. This is worth watching for the heist and barn sequence, masterfully done (if you can pass over Borgnine in hamisch attire: was it necessary to put him there? And you must not take into account the awkward way Mature is tied up in the barn and the way his guard is disposed of). But the melo parts? The hero-to-be initial  problems with his son? Seen a million times. The adulteress who doesn't know herself why she betrays her alcoholic husband? Is he maybe an impotent? No, on the contrary: he wants to have children and she doesn't. So she goes with other men: can anything be more absurd? (Of course we know that her adultery is only an excuse to occupy the  middle part of the flick and not show her as too whorish so that they can safely reconcile  and she die in peace. In facts we are not even certain she's having an affair with Dexter). And the moronic Noonan side-plot abetted by the same moronic Sidney subplot. But Marvin and Mature are great, the 2 females palatable, so it's 7/10.


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« #2 : November 20, 2018, 04:03:31 AM »

Heist meets melo. This is worth watching for the heist and barn sequence, masterfully done (if you can pass over Borgnine in hamisch attire: was it necessary to put him there? And you must not take into account the awkward way Mature is tied up in the barn and the way his guard is disposed of). But the melo parts? The hero-to-be initial  problems with his son? Seen a million times. The adulteress who doesn't know herself why she betrays her alcoholic husband? Is he maybe an impotent? No, on the contrary: he wants to have children and she doesn't. So she goes with other men: can anything be more absurd? (Of course we know that her adultery is only an excuse to occupy the  middle part of the flick and not show her as too whorish so that they can safely reconcile  and she die in peace. In facts we are not even certain she's having an affair with Dexter). And the moronic Noonan side-plot abetted by the same moronic Sidney subplot. But Marvin and Mature are great, the 2 females palatable, so it's 7/10.

Agree, was never that impressed with it.


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« #3 : October 03, 2022, 10:13:03 AM »

Quote
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 is 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 will not cross again until Saturday, Violent Saturday. McNally finally makes it to the other side of the street, and there stands the bank he has come to rob. But it is not 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 of 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, will not 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 the lead, 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 moves 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.


Another watch. This time it struck me how the bank robbers, prior to the action, circulate in town as witnesses to the depravity, such as it is, on display in Bradenville. When casing the bank, for example, J Caroll Naish gets an eyeful of Tommy Noonan's lust for Linda. As mentioned above, Stephen McNally witnesses Sylvia Sydney's theft at the library, and then the fight outside. Later, Naish and Lee Marvin are present when Richard Egan and Virginia Leith begin what could be the start an illicit relationship. None of these "acts of witness" are necessary for the story, the robbers don't need to be there, they certainly cannot put to use their knowledge of any of the actions they observe. For the first two acts of the film, they are like the angels in Wender's Wings of Desire.

But they are (unwittingly) avenging angels. Although they have no interest in the townsfolk, have come only for the bank and its money, they will inadvertently deal out punishment to the men and women of Bradenville: lecherous Tommy Noonan will get shot, larcenous Sylvia Sydney will be robbed, serial adulterous Margaret Hayes will be killed. The robbers themselves will be destroyed, but not before they've fulfilled their higher purpose.

Their presence, though, will also cause the good characters to rise to the occasion--Victor Mature and Ernest Borgnine end up acting heroically.

The robbers have an agenda quite apart from the goings on in Bradenville, but by being there they can't help acting like catalysts for a number of situations that are bubbling along. When Fleischer mixes crime and soap opera, the reaction is violence; the yield is 90 minutes of entertainment.



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