Violent Saturday

Richard Fleischer

T. It.: Sabato Tragico; Scen.: Sydney Boehm Dal Racconto Di William L. Heath; F.: Charles G. Clarke; Mo.: Louis Loeffler; Scgf.: George W. Davis, Lyle Wheeler; Cost.: Kay Nelson; Mu.: Hugo Friedhofer, Lionel Newman (Direttore); Int.: Victor Mature (Shelley Martin), Richard Egan (Boyd Fairchild), Stephen Mcnally (Harper), Virginia Leith (Linda Sherman), Tommy Noonan (Harry Reeves), Lee Marvin (Dill), Margaret Hayes (Emily Fairchild), J. Carroll Naish (Chapman), Syl­via Sidney (Elsie Braden), Ernest Borgnine (Stadt), Dorothy Patrick (Helen Martin), Billy Chapin (Steve Martin), Brad Dexter (Gil Clayton); Prod.: Buddy Adler Per 20th Century Fox; Pri. Pro.: Aprile 1955; 35mm. L.: 2452 M. D.: 90′. Col.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

American cinema often gives a sentimental view of small town life. During the ’40s William Saroyan, Thornton Wilder and Our Town preceded the years of Peyton Place. Violent Saturday shows the cruel anger hidden behind every small town through a prism. The lives of seemingly problem-free characters are actually a part of the failed collective social life; just below the cosy, reassuring surface lie alcoholism, voyeurism and adultery, along with hidden crimes, which are almost more stifling than those professional jobs that take place in plain sight. Just below the respectable surface lies a cold-blooded impersonality, the Murder Inc., which was founded on the anonymity of contract killers. At the same time this icy impersonality is the flip side of Eisenhower’s America. Violent Saturday sheds a new light on interpersonal relationships, reveals the oppression and injustice of the life hidden behind the facade of respectability, and describes a deep split in society. The violence increases almost to the point of a holocaust. It becomes unpredictable, the epitome of that cold-blooded impersonality seen in the contract killers of the Murder Inc. genre. What previously had gone on only in the shadows of night, in an allegoric setting typical of film noir, now takes place in daylight. This violence cannot be escaped. CinemaScope highlighted the objectified relationships of people and of society. Violence spread to the big screen, expanded in genre into sometimes absurd forms, and expressed in a sincere manner something essential and decidedly sad about the human condition.

Peter von Bagh

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