Watched: December 6 2020
Director: Richard Brooks
Starring: Robert Blake, Scott Wilson, John Forsythe, Paul Stewart
Runtime: 2h 14min
Perry (Blake) is a slightly simple ex-con who dreams of fame and fortune. He breaks his parole so he can return to Kansas in order to meet up with old cell mate Dick (Wilson), who can offer him a sure thing. Monetary wise, that is. Not a date or anything.
Another old prison buddy has told Dick about a hidden safe in the basement of a farmer, and the pair plan to get their hands on it. However, what could have been a simple burglary soon turns into a bloodbath…
We don’t want to reveal too much here even though it’s a 50 year old film based on an even older book based on a yet older real crime… Suffice to say investigators are soon on the criminals’ trails. But what really happened? And who pulled the trigger?
This movie is amazing and you should watch it. We loved the build up to the crime and the fact that we then skipped neatly to the aftermath without seeing it play out. It is excellently structured, well acted and overall really well done. The 2+ hours fly by!
Now, Dick is a dick from the beginning. Perry is perhaps a bit more sympathetic, but they both share the same anger issues. They are disenfranchised young men with a murderous streak and little left to lose.
As the movie plays out, you keep forgetting that Perry and Dick have killed an entire family – probably because you don’t actually see them do it. Which is somewhat unsettling and uncomfortable when you find yourself giggling at their shenanigans and sort of hoping they’ll get away.
Real question though, are trials in the USA that revenge-driven, or are they just that way in movies? Because for us rational (some would say cold and unfeeling, we prefer logical and Spock-like) Norwegians, emotions and ideas of revenge are not what should decide the outcome of a trial… Just a thought there, America.
What we learned: American trials are insane… Also, sometimes things just don’t make sense.
Next time: In the Heat of the Night (1967)