5.0 out of 5 stars 2 thumbs up, 2 killers down :-)
"In Cold Blood" is the 1967 movie based on Truman Capote's non-fiction book about the murder of a family of four by Perry Smith (Robert Blake) and Dick Hickock (Scott Wilson). Although the killers were expecting to get about $10,000 from the safe, it turns out there was no safe and they only got $40.
Filmed in black-and-white, the movie has very good cinematography, and...
Published on June 24 2004 by K. Gittins
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointing
This is a decent movie, but it just doesn't compare with the book. I was sorely disappointed after reading such an incredible book. Save your money on the movie and read the book instead! I promise you won't be disappointed
Published on March 25 2000
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4.0 out of 5 stars In Cold Blood,
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 thumbs up, 2 killers down :-),
Filmed in black-and-white, the movie has very good cinematography, and includes several interesting cuts from scene to scene. In one shot, as Perry is in jail telling a rather sad story about his life, the shadows of the rain running down the window falls on his face and gives the impression of cascading tears. There are also several intercut flash-backs, mostly having to do with Smith's early family-life and abusive father, including the finale on the gallows.
The blues/jazzed-based score was composed by Quincy Jones, and was very good.
It was almost shear luck that the pair got nailed for the murders. Although they had passed bad checks and stolen some cars after the murders, the police had no evidence to connect them to the killings - except for some personal effects that Smith had mailed back to himself from Mexico and picked up just shortly before being arrested. After being found guilty in only 40 minutes of jury deliberation, the pair sat in jail a few years awaiting execution.
As it turns out, although Hickock actually came up with the plan, Smith did all the killings, mostly out of anger. So, as some have asked, was the killing "In Cold Blood" really theirs, or ours? Near the end, when a couple of journalists see the hangman go up the steps, they have this bit of dialog:
Well-acted by Blake and Wilson, and supporting roles for John Forsythe, Gerald S. O'Loughlin and Jeff Corey. Some of the jurors and other small parts are played by the actual people. Much of the locations are the actual locations, including the house where the killing took place.
The very last scene is not one you find in many movies.
DVD has nice anamorphic wide-screen movie, English or French spoken language, subtitles in 7 languages, chapter selection, and for once, a trailer worth watching. R-Rated, 134 minutes. The no-frills DVD is a bit pricey, but I'm giving the movie five stars on its own.
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, desolate film is poignant and powerful,
By A Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling Adaptation of Capote's Controversial Novel,
Maverick filmmaker Richard Brooks saw the potential of Capote's work as a basis for an aesthetically literate and thematically powerful film and subsequently adapted it for the screen. Producing and directing the film himself, Brooks collaborated with talented cinematographer Conrad L. Hall to create a film that challenged the established Hollywood conception of what movie is supposed to be. Brooks rejected studio pressure to make the film in color, to cast well-known stars in the leading roles, and to soften the story's matter-of-fact depiction of the murders. Instead, he wanted to make a film that, like the novel upon which it was based, seemed raw, hard-boiled, and true to life.
In spite of the violent and senseless nature of the real-life murders, Capote's novel was intended to ultimately evoke feelings that would make the reader repudiate support of capital punishment. Having grown close to the murderers during his research, the author attempted to depict them as merely misguided human beings who were deserving of sympathy, understanding, and, above all, mercy. Capote wanted the reader to understand that a state-enforced, publicly sanctioned execution of the two killers would, in effect, simply increase the number of victims in the Cutter murder case by two, and he thought that his pseudo-journalistic approach would disguise his real message in a seemingly objective narrative account of the events. Brooks wanted to retain Capote's underlying intent, and he and Hall both realized that stark, somewhat grainy black-and-white photography would give the film a documentary feel and thereby reflect the novel's pseudo-realistic tone. Brooks also knew that casting big stars as the primaries in the film would skew the audience's perception of both the story and the characters, as would any softening of either the murders or the executions. Brooks was so obsessive about creating a sense of verisimilitude, in fact, that nearly all of the filming was done on location in the places where the events depicted occurred--including the same Kansas house in which the Cutter family was murdered. In addition, six of the actual jurors from the trial of the killers appeared in the film's trial scene, some of the extras in the film were real-life neighbors of the murdered family, and the hangman in the execution scene was THE hangman at the execution of the real-life killers!
So Brooks stood firm and got to make the film he wanted to make. And as the writer/director undoubtedly expected, IN COLD BLOOD generated controversy for its gratuitous violence (this in spite of the fact that the killings in the film occur outside the frame), its sympathy for the murderers, and its anti-capital-punishment stance. However, if the film--as well as its source material--has any flaw, it is the fact that it does not achieve its intended socio-political goal. The filmmakers and actors create such a sense of realism in the depiction of the cold-heartedness of the killings and the lack of contrition in the killers that, instead feeling a sense of injustice or cruelty when the murderers are executed, even the most liberal anti-death-penalty members of the audience generally go away feeling as though the killers got their just deserts. Nonetheless, IN COLD BLOOD is a well-made piece of noirish crime drama that has held up incredibly well over the years. As killers Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, actors Robert Blake--best known for his role in TV's BARETTA in the 1970s--and Scott Wilson deliver riveting, wholly believable performances. Conrad Hall's excellent cinematography does indeed give the film a gritty, documentary feel, and his excellent frame compositions simultaneously give an almost painterly quality to the imagery. Also notable is the jazzy score by Quincy Jones, which generates an early 1960s flavor without being too intrusive to the narrative.
IN COLD BLOOD earned Oscar nominations for Brooks' direction, his screenplay, Hall's cinematography, and Jones' score.
For the contemporary audience, IN COLD BLOOD might seem more socially or politically germane than ever in light of Robert Blake's relatively recent arrest and pending trial for the alleged murder of his wife. Ever since Blake was taken into custody, one of Conrad Hall's most famous shots from IN COLD BLOOD keeps popping up on TV in newscasts and such. The shot centers on Blake's face the night his character, Perry Smith, is scheduled to be hanged, and as he gazes out a rain-spattered window, the light shining through gives the impression that a torrent of tears are streaming down his face.
The DVD from Columbia/Tristar offers relatively nothing by way of extras, but the digital transfer is very good. IN COLD BLOOD is presented in anamorphic widescreen in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, and though some filmic artifacts like scratches and dust appear from time to time, there are no visible digital artifacts. The black-and-white photography comes across with what is obviously the intended amount of contrast and graininess. The soundtrack is available in English via Dolby Digital 3.1 SurroundSound and in French via Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono, with little noticeable hiss or distortion. Would've been nice if Columbia/Tristar had included a little bonus documentary about the real murder of the Clutter family, but this is nonetheless a very worthy disc to add to the collection of any film aficionado.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good adaptation of a great book,
The actors are all competent in their roles and there are some very good performances indeed in the supporting parts. But the outstanding performance in this film is Robert Blake as Perry Smith, and to a lesser extent, Scott Wilson as Dick Hickock. Blake's haunted expression as he says, right before his hanging, "I'd like to apologize. But who to?" makes the viewer feel all the tragedy of a wasted life.
The one problem with this otherwise fine screen adaptation is that we see far too little of the Clutters. We don't get to know them as people, their lives, how they interact. They're just people who get murdered one night. In the book they became living characters, people we felt we knew. In the movie, they're almost reduced to bit players. The book is about the Clutters, who were killed by Hickock and Smith; the movie is about Hickock and Smith who murdered a family named Clutter.
The book raced along with the speed of a good novel; the film moves at a slower pace, that of an investigative report. If we see too little of the Clutters, we really get inside the minds of Smith and Hickock, and it isn't very nice in there. Shooting the movie in black and white lends to the newsreel quality of the film. It's a stark, bare-bones movie, the right kind of film to depict a senseless crime that ultimately destroyed six lives.
5.0 out of 5 stars Robert Blake is a STAR,
Blake, just out of prison, teams up with a friend. Together they imagine a scheme to get rich by robbing a wealthy family. Everything goes wrong. Told in a rambling style, with flashbacks and dreary scenery, this film is based on a true story.
Perhaps my favorite plot point is Robert Blake's murder of a man in Las Vegas. Watch for it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good,
By A Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars No Need For Blood,
The director makes a very realistic job by filming the movie with actors that look identical to the real murders and the clutter family members. He couldn't make a more faithful portrayal of the event in 1959 by making the movie in the same house where Mr. Clutter, his wife and their two young kids were murdered with a shotgun scarcely a few inches from their head.
When the Murders get into the house, they don't use much violence but the setting of the scenes make them chilling throughout the terrible event. The shots are heard, but the faces of the Clutters being blown up are not shown. This doesn't take any disturbing element from the scenes.
The combination of realistic components, and descriptions made by Capote make this movie have no need for blood in order to make it disturbing during the entire movie.
4.0 out of 5 stars An unreasonable murder,
4.0 out of 5 stars A Shame,
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In Cold Blood [Blu-ray] (Bilingual) by Richard Brooks (Blu-ray - 2010)