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ROBERT BLAKE & SCOTT WILSON BREAKTHROUGH 'IN COLD BLOOD'

Title: IN COLD BLOOD Director: Richard Brooks Year: 1967 Rating: *****

Made in the late-1960's leading to the early-1970's American Renaissance, Richard Brooks's theatrical adaptation of Truman Capote's non-fiction bestseller IN COLD BLOOD, taking place in the late 1950's, is a sublime combination of the then-budding style of modern-method/character-driven performances and the more polished and studied throwback to Hollywood's Golden Age (including hard-boiled documentary-style narration)...

And as real-life killers Perry Smith and Dick Hickcok, Robert Blake and Scott Wilson hand-off individual importance: Wilson during the first half as a cocky conman instigating the heist of a supposed Kansas farmer's lucrative safe, and, following their Nevada capture, the previously brooding, strong-silent Blake drives the story home, right down to the inevitable hangman's noose...

Scott Wilson from IN COLD BLOOD

Richard Brooks as adapting director is obviously, like Capote, against capital punishment but this was before social-issue-films became political platforms, leaving the kind of subtle, almost subliminal message to the last ten minutes: especially a climactic wide shot of Blake's Perry hanging to death, which dramatically fades to the title, IN COLD BLOOD: which then becomes a statement... 

And with a nonlinear approach, the dark-lit farmhouse murders occur after what's arguably the best scene, as Dick and Perry are politely interrogated in separate rooms... long after the rudimentary (and surprisingly affable) drive, heading towards (while preparing for) the infamous flashpoint...

Scott Wilson and Jeff Corey in IN COLD BLOOD

A road trip where Wilson and Blake's characterizations are fleshed-out and, most important, distinguished both as a combined singular person and competing polar opposites: Wilson's Dick eventually proving to his former cellmate turned hired-muscle how smooth-talking and bad checks can provide quick cash...

Their scenes are creatively placed around stern lawmen investigating the slain Clutters... a nuclear family whose earthy chatter deliberately clashes with the dark central mainline, juxtaposed with the edgy killers: it's FATHER KNOWS BEST meets a psychopathic version of ON THE ROAD, befitting Quincy Jones's speedy and tense beatnik-jazz score against soft and gentle symphonic interludes...

Scott Wilson and Jeff Corey in IN COLD BLOOD

Including not only flashbacks but memories from Perry's (Blake's) haunted past intruding upon the present... as the killers and their victims are randomly connected by more obvious devices like, for example, the dad washing his face in his clean bathroom sink to wet-faced Blake rising up from a grimy train station restroom...  which makes IN COLD BLOOD auteur Richard Brooks's artistic direction relatively equal Capote's rich, flowing prose...

And as Capote intentionally left his famously flamboyant self out of the book... to be like his own invention of a true crime novel (i.e. to read like a fictional thriller)... his surrogate snoop is CITIZEN KANE alumni Paul Stewart as a more conventional reporter, sharing theories and clues with lead investigator John Forsythe backed by Gerald S. O'Loughlin, James Flavin and John Gallaudet along with Charles McGraw and Jeff Corey as the killers' dads, doomed Clutter patriarch John McLiam and damning district attorney Will Geer...

Robert Blake from IN COLD BLOOD

Making IN COLD BLOOD not only a celebration of riveting crime cinema (that'd inadvertently break ground for the likes of THE GODFATHER to TAXI DRIVER to anything by Quentin Tarantino) but a career-defining pinnacle to those character-actor veterans, while providing a springboard for a young Scott Wilson, one of the most intense, focused and uncompromising performers of his generation...

And although Robert Blake had been acting since childhood, and was at the start of an adult career that would include both spiteful antagonist and idealistic protagonist roles, IN COLD BLOOD remains a peak-combination of both  — especially the finale death-row monologue that... in its own unique, emotionally powerful way... couldn't (and still cannot) be matched. 

Investigators John Forsythe and James Flavin from IN COLD BLOOD
Scott Wilson from IN COLD BLOOD
Sammy Thurman as Perry's mother from IN COLD BLOOD
Robert Blake from IN COLD BLOOD
Robert Blake from IN COLD BLOOD with John Forsythe and James Flavin
Robert Blake from IN COLD BLOOD with John Gallaudet
Robert Blake from IN COLD BLOOD with Gerald S. O'Loughlin
Scott Wilson from IN COLD BLOOD with Robert Blake
Robert Blake from IN COLD BLOOD
Brenda Currin as Nancy Clutter from IN COLD BLOOD
Will Geer as the DA from IN COLD BLOOD
Robert Blake from IN COLD BLOOD
Scott Wilson from IN COLD BLOOD
Robert Blake from IN COLD BLOOD
Scott Wilson from IN COLD BLOOD
The Clutter Family from IN COLD BLOOD
Scott Wilson from IN COLD BLOOD
Robert Blake from IN COLD BLOOD
Robert Blake from IN COLD BLOOD
Scott Wilson from IN COLD BLOOD
Rosie Grier from IN COLD BLOOD
Mary Linda Rapelye as Susan Kidwell in IN COLD BLOOD
James Flavin and Robert Blake in IN COLD BLOOD
Robert Blake as Dick Smith from IN COLD BLOOD
Robert Blake as Dick Smith from IN COLD BLOOD
Robert Blake as Dick Smith with Saturn Guitar from IN COLD BLOOD
In Cold Blood Blu Ray Autographed by SCOTT WILSON
Scott Wilson and Robert Blake from IN COLD BLOOD
Jeff Corey as Dick's father from IN COLD BLOOD
James Flavin from IN COLD BLOOD
John Forsythe as Alvin Dewey with Paul Stewart as The Reporter IN COLD BLOOD
Charles McCoy as Perry's father IN COLD BLOOD
Robert Blake IN COLD BLOOD

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