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Violent Saturday

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Title: Violent Saturday  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Lee Marvin, Bisbee, Arizona, Ernest Borgnine, 1955 in film, Sylvia Sidney, J. Carrol Naish, Buddy Adler, Richard Fleischer, Stephen McNally, Richard Egan (actor)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Violent Saturday

Violent Saturday
File:Violent Saturday poster.jpg
Theatrical lobby card
Directed by Richard Fleischer
Produced by Buddy Adler
Written by Sydney Boehm
William L. Heath (novel)
Starring Victor Mature
Richard Egan
Lee Marvin
Stephen McNally
Sylvia Sidney
Music by Hugo Friedhofer
Cinematography Charles G. Clarke
Editing by Louis R. Loeffler
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) April 1955
Running time 90 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $955,000[1]
Box office $1.25 million (US rental)[2][3]

Violent Saturday is a 1955 American crime drama directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Victor Mature, Lee Marvin, Richard Egan and Stephen McNally. The film, set in a mining town, depicts the planning of a bank robbery as the nexus in the personal lives of several townspeople.

Prominent actors Sylvia Sidney and Ernest Borgnine are in supporting roles. Violent Saturday was filmed in color, on location in Bisbee, Arizona.


Harper (Stephen McNally) is a bank robber posing as a traveling salesman. He arrives in town, soon to be joined by sadistic benzedrine addict Dill (Lee Marvin) and bookish Chapman (J. Carrol Naish).

Boyd Fairchild (Richard Egan) is manager of the local copper mine, troubled by his philandering wife (Margaret Hayes). He considers an affair with nurse Linda Sherman (Virginia Leith), though he truly loves his wife. His associate, Shelley Martin (Victor Mature), has a happy home life, but is embarrassed that his son believes he is a coward because he did not serve in World War II.

Subplots involves a peeping-tom bank manager, Harry Reeves (Tommy Noonan), and a larcenous librarian, Elsie Braden (Sylvia Sidney). As the bank robbers carry out their plot, the separate character threads are drawn together. Violence erupts during the robbery. Fairchild's wife is slain and bank manager Reeves is wounded.

Martin is held hostage on a farm with an Amish family. With the help of the father (Ernest Borgnine), he defeats the crooks in a savage gunfight. In the aftermath, Martin becomes a hero to his son, and Linda comforts Fairchild as he grieves for his wife.

Critical reception

The New York Times did not approve of the violence of the movie. Critic Bosley Crowther called the movie an "unedifying spectacle," while praising the performance of Lee Marvin as a hood "so icily evil he is funny." Borgnine's performance was panned by Crowther as "a joke."

More recent reviewers have been favorable. In a 2008 article, the Village Voice called it "the reigning king of Southwestern noir." The New York Press said "Violent Saturday seems rooted in tradition, but as an exciting pulp story with a profound center, it manages to break all the rules." George Robinson in Cine-Journal wrote, "With the possible exception of The Narrow Margin, this is Richard Fleischer’s best film. . . . Great, nasty fun." Michael Sragow of The New Yorker said, "Packed with twists and surprises. Marvin proves most unsettling as a hard guy who’s always snorting from an inhaler (it’s psychosomatic: he once had a wife with a perpetual cold). Mature, with his stricken manliness, reminds you of why James Agee thought he would be perfect as Diomed in Troilus and Cressida."


  • Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1.

External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • AllRovi
  • Rotten Tomatoes
  • New York Times review [1]
  • Village Voice article [2]
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