Violent Saturday DVD and Blu-ray

Saturday, 26 April 2014 23:00 Written by 

Violent Saturday - out on dual format Blu-ray and DVDThis movie is part thriller, part smouldering melodrama. Directed by Richard Fleischer (“Tora! Tora! Tora!”, “Soylent Green”, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”), it features a trio of bank robbers who arrive at the pokey town of Bradenville, Arizona to execute what should be an easy heist. The complicated lives of the locals churn away in the foreground and background, seemingly destined to collide with the impending crime.

Victor Mature (“The Robe”, “Samson and Delilah”) stars as family man Shelly Martin, the foreman of the local quarry that drives much of the town's economy and is owned by local big-wigs, the Fairchilds; Richard Egan (“Pollyanna”) is Boyd, the heir-apparent. The gangsters are played by boss Stephen McNally (“Winchester ‘73”), muscle Lee Marvin (“The Dirty Dozen”) and brains J Carrol Naish (“Rio Grande”).

Other key characters include Linda Sherman (Virginia Leith, “Fear and Desire”) as a sultry nurse, Harry the disturbingly voyeuristic bank manager (Tommy Noonan – “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”), Boyd's adulterous wife Emily (Margaret Hayes – “Blackboard Jungle”) and Ernest Bourgnine (“The Wild Bunch”) as the head of a local Amish family (in a slightly bizarre foreshadowing of the character he went on to play in Wes Craven's “Deadly Blessing”).

Fleischer deftly combines the tangled and sometimes mangled lives of the Bradenville inhabitants with the robbers' activities. As the criminals meticulously plan their job and casually observe the locals, we too listen in on their conversations and witness their misdeeds. Many of the characters are flawed and from a moral sense it becomes quite difficult to separate them from the ill-intentioned visitors.

The film looks amazing in high-definition, featuring stunning detail and crispness. The visuals are an interesting combination of expansive, wide-screen vistas outside the town, and then more claustrophobic street and building shots, the former accentuating the latter. The town is an inescapable cauldron of action and reaction. Though not in the same league, the events reminded me a little of Under the Dome in this regard. It also feels like a Western in another guise, which is not surprising given the pedigree of many of those involved.

Special features include:

  • Stunning high-definition master, with 4.0 and 2.0 soundtracks, on both Blu-ray and DVD
  • A new video examination of the making of the film by Nicolas Saada
  • A video appreciation by director William Friedkin (“The Exorcist”, “The French Connection”)

“Violent Saturday” (1955) is out now on dual-format DVD and Blu-ray (two discs), courtesy of Eureka. The main feature has a running time of 90 minutes approx, carries a 'PG' certificate and retails for £17.99, or less from


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