I stumbled into a showing of Violent Saturday on TCM last night, a bank heist flick starring Victor Mature, Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine, and quickly got sucked in.
There’s not a lot of action until you get to the actual robbery, but it does a great job of setting up tension by introducing relationships between many of the characters in and around the bank incident. It does have some 1950s film artifacts like the entire subplot involving the Martin boy’s fight with his best friend and the way the parents handle it (which, incidentally, sets up the climax), but it’s still a good flick.
The neat twist to me was the inclusion of the Amish farm family. The Amish show up from time to time throughout the movie, and we soon learn the bank robbers’ escape is going to be via an Amish farm. What happens there really helps make the movie work, and adds a nice twist to your standard bank caper flick.
This YouTube clip is pretty much the climax of the flick, so yeah, major spoilage if you haven’t seen the movie and are compelled to check it out in its entirety. If you’d just like to see the final showdown and what happens with Ernest Borgnine’s Amish father character, then here you go:
It is handled very simply and you don’t see character development or progress taking him to this point, but hey, you can’t have it all.
The characters, in fact, are the real key to this movie. We don’t get a ton of depth with any of them, but given the physical action doesn’t kick off until the final act, the characters are all that keep us watching. Without them, there’d be no reason to watch anything but the clip above, and that would be the real crime.