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RICHARD FLEISCHER'S TECHNICOLOR NOIR OF 'VIOLENT SATURDAY'

Lee Marvin and Sylvia Sidney wrestle through the robbery in VIOLENT SATURDAY Year: 1955 Rating: ****

Richard Fleischer crafted a tight, sparse noir also replete with enough paperback melodrama for a dozen Douglas Sirk features, which VIOLENT SATURDAY resembles but only from either close-up or afar...

The first because of the soapy situations like a cheating wife or a husband (not hers') who's son seems to hate him... and the latter from the vibrant technicolor cinematography of an Arizona small town, richly contrasting from Fleischer's B&W urban Noirs THE CLAY PIGEON, FOLLOW ME QUIETLY and ARMORED CAR ROBBERY...

Opening Credit explosion of VIOLENT SATURDAY

But for crime cinema's sake, this SATURDAY is mostly about the slow-paced, calculated week leading up, as three eclectic Snakes-in-Eden are poised to rob the local bank led by traveling salesman Stephen McNally with neurotic/hypochondriac wild-card Lee Marvin and coolly professional J. Carroll Naish...

Herein the overall theme's about the town's seemingly average residents being as flawed as the surreptitious crooks among them, ranging from librarian Sylvia Sidney, in-debt to the targeted bank where geeky manager Tommy Noonan moonlights as local babe Virginia Leith's personal Peeping Tom...

Lee Marvin creeps up on VIOLENT SATURDAY

She's a nurse who winds up in the trembling arms of muscular yet pathetically cheated-on rich man's son Richard Egan, surrogate boss of Victor Mature, the dependable patriarch confused by his child's sudden contempt... which was evoked by dad's lack of war service, instead (a decade earlier) strategically mining copper in the same predominant factory...

Overall making VIOLENT SATURDAY an ensemble of randomly troubled, existential characters leading to the heist-flashpoint/hideout-aftermath that turns this bright-lit noirish drama into the kind of gritty Western standoff where Fleischer seems the most comfortable since, at that point, there are no more episodic loopholes or distractions. 

Victor Mature in VIOLENT SATURDAY
Richard Fleischer's VIOLENT SATURDAY with Stephen McNally
Stephen McNally with J. Carrol Naish and Lee Marvin in VIOLENT SATURDAY
Lee Marvin and Stephen McNally in VIOLENT SATURDAY

Richard Egan and Virginia Leith in VIOLENT SATURDAY
Richard Egan and Victor Mature in VIOLENT SATURDAY
Lee Marvin in VIOLENT SATURDAY
VIOLENT SATURDAY with J. Carrol Naish, Victor Mature, Stephen McNally and Boyd 'Red' Morgan
Post Bank Robbery from VIOLENT SATURDAY
Gorgeous scenery from VIOLENT SATURDAY

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