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Starring:  Victor Mature, Lee Marvin, Richard Egan, Ernest Borgnine
Directed By:  Richard Fleischer
Composed By:  Hugo Friedhofer

Limited to 3,000 units only

4 x 3 Letterbox
Aspect Ratio: 2.35.1
Audio: Stereo
Running Time: 91 mins
Special Feature: Isolated Score Track

A number of otherwise insignificant small-town stories erupt into drama when a gang of hoodlums decides to rob the local bank. A father looking for pride in his son's eyes, a timid clerk who is a peeping tom by night, a man striving to rewin his wife's love, an Amish farmer faced with viciousness, and a proper older woman turned thief, all find themselves entangled with the bank robbers as a peaceful weekend turns violent.

(NOTE: While we understand that most hardcore collectors of DVDs prefer all titles to be 16 x 9 anamorphically enhanced for widescreen televisions, in some instances this isn't possible when the studio has only non-anamorphic elements in the vault. It then becomes our decision to either not release the title, or to go with the 4 x 3 master available to us. As we at Twilight Time love films like "Violent Saturday," it is our feeling that to have it out in the only way we can, is better than to not have it at all. Fortunately, many of the titles we will be issuing in the series ++are++ anamorphically enhanced, so we ask your forgiveness and indulgence in advance, for those classic treasures left in the 4 x 3 format as a result of being prepared for laserdisc before being left in the cold when that mode of delivery was eclipsed by DVD. We are collectors, too--and appreciate your support. Thanks so much.)

DVD booklet excerpts by Julie Kirgo:

Violent Saturday (1955) is that rare bird, a rich and strange hybrid of film noir and melodrama. Although shot in CinemaScope and DeLuxe color, its wide frames fairly bursting at the seams with juicy small-town secrets and lies, it is noir at its core, a hard crime story in which the legally defined perpetrators—a trio of bank robbers—are not the only guilty parties. Just about everyone in Violent Saturday is guilty of something, and the little community of Bradenville is seething with corruption long before the gang of three ever hits town.

Literally seething: Bradenville is a copper mining town (much of the film was shot on location in Bisbee, Arizona), and its medievally narrow, weirdly winding streets seem perpetually boiling with the red dust given off by explosions like the one that cataclysmically opens the film. Strip-mining—or the human impulse behind it—has polluted the town and, apparently, the people living within its effluvia-encircled confines. Director Richard Fleischer—a natural master of the wide frame—gives us shot after shot to tell the sorry tale: a train curving through the desert landscape with a heaving mass of smoke ominously choking off the sun; two people having a somber tête-à-tête while bulldozers tear into the tawny earth behind them; a pretty matron manicuring her nails in a suburban garden backed by slag heaps, her blonde hair tossing in the hot wind.

The bank robbers are just three more pieces of flotsam to add to the junk pile, and they fit right in. Posing as traveling salesmen, they make barely a ripple: not the tough guy hiding behind a jovial mask of bonhomie (Stephen McNally); not the psychotically meticulous timekeeper (J. Carrol Naish); not even the Benzedrine-snorting sadist who can apparently get away with crushing a child’s hand under his heel. Marvin, in one of his earliest signature performances, is a menacing marvel, bitching about how “mean” everybody is, complaining that women make him “nervous,” and constantly wielding his inhaler against the perpetual head cold that is a visible symptom of his inner corruption.

Fleischer and screenwriter Sydney Boehm (working from a story by William L. Heath originally published in Cosmopolitan) take their own sweet time getting to the bank heist, casing Bradenville just as the crooks do, limning a portrait of a town without pity, its denizens—gnawed at by financial worries, family troubles, and the unscratchable itch of sexual peccadilloes—awash in cocktails, befogged with cigarette smoke. Everyone in town, it seems, is entwined with everyone else in guilt-ridden complicity. A peeping Tom (Tommy Noonan) is caught in sweaty-palmed flagrante by a fallen aristocrat (the magisterial Sylvia Sidney) who just happens to be in the same dark alley disposing of a purse she’s snatched in a desperate attempt to solve her money problems. The voyeur’s object of attention is a sexy nurse (Virginia Leith) involved with a n’er-do-well mine owner (Richard Egan) who’s been hitting the bottle to forget the fling his promiscuous wife (Margaret Hayes) is having with the country club Casanova (Brad Dexter). And the mine’s manager (Victor Mature), already fretting about the fecklessness of his boozed-up boss, also has to deal with his young son (the eerily yearning Billy Chapin, who appeared the same year in Charles Laughton’s masterwork, The Night of the Hunter), deeply disappointed that Dad wasn’t a war hero.

For the complete notes see the DVD booklet!

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