Over the weekend I managed to catch a film I’d been keen to see for a while, Richard Fleischer’s Violent Saturday. Made in 1955, it focuses on a bank robbery in small southern US town.
It’s not hard to see why it was so heavily criticised upon release. Apart from the violence there’s some pretty warts and all portrayals of the residents. The owner of the local copper mine, the town’s main business, is an alcoholic cuckold and the manager (Victor Mature) is ashamed because he never got to serve in WWII. The librarian’s a petty thief and the bank manager a peeping tom.
All this comes to a head when hoodlums (headed up by Stephen McNally and including a very young Lee Marvin) arrive in town to hit the local bank. They car jack Mature then take a local Amish family (Ernest Borgnine is the father) hostage so they can use their farm as a hide-out after the robbery.
As usual with Fleischer, a director who could walk and chew gum at the same time, it’s a good, solid effort. There’s gritty action and interesting, convincing characters.
Previously unavailable, Violent Saturday has been released by a new Melbourne outfit, Bounty Films. The DVD didn’t include any special features, just the movie.
Bounty’s website says they’re committed to producing films that both entertaining and culturally significant. Their catalogue includes war, Westerns, science fiction, adventure, crime and a large selection of queer film.
Crime fans should check it out. There’s some real gems. This includes the 1947 film noir, Kiss of Death, the little known 1973 police thriller Seven Ups, starring Roy Scheider, and Robert Aldrich’s Emporer of the North.
To the best of my knowledge, Emporer of the North has been unavailable on DVD until now. Set during the Great Depression, it’s about the struggle between Shack, a sadistic train guard (played by Borgnine) who prides him self on allowing no free riders, and A No 1, a hobbo freight hopper (Marvin).
I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on their website.