Two young men are ineffectual individually, but when together become violent criminals. They break into a wealthy farmers home only to find that there is nearly no money at the home and murder the entire family to avoid identification. The first part of the film details the search for them, the second, their trial and execution. Taken from the actual events chronicled by Truman Capote in his book.
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I remember finding the book at a book sale at the localchurch. Since hard cover book were only 30 cents, I picked up anythingthat looked remotely interesting. One of them was In Cold Blood. I read the book within a week and loved it. The two killers seemed so real and believable. I watched this film a few days latter and was amazed at how much the film was identical to how I had imagined it. Robert Blake in particular was great. An all around good film.
Simply one of the best ever! Richard Brooks' adaptation of Truman Capote'snon-fiction novel is truly an artistic achievement. Stunning black andwhite cinematography (that should have won an Oscar), a haunting QuincyJones score and tremendous performances by Robert Blake and Scott Wilson asthe oddly-matched killers. This film was 0 for 4 at the Academy Awards andwasn't even nominated for Best Picture while Dr. Doolittle was. Go Figure! Although you don't get to know the Clutter family as well as you do in thebook, it was a good decision to focus more on Perry and Dick and thepain-staking process of tracking these guys down. John Forsythe is alsoimpressive as Alvin Dewey. There are simply no flaws in this one. 10 outof 10. Best performance = Scott Wilson with R. Blake a close second. Highly recommended!
To me, there are very few movies that can be as good in repeated viewings but this is one for sure. I forgot it was even in black and white it is done so well. Blake is exceptional but not more than other great performances in this. Some buttered popcorn and a coke and sit back and watch a more innocent time in America shattered.
In Cold Blood is based on the famous Truman Capote novel of the samename. Capote spent quite a bit of time interviewing Hickock and Smithbefore writing their real accounts in the style of a novel. For me,both the novel and film are both over-hyped. I think the originalcasting choices for the lead roles - Paul Newman and Steve McQueen -would have resulted in a less realistic but definitely moreentertaining film. I can't fault Robert Blake or Scott Wilson for poor acting orunfaithful rendition, but only Wilson has a modicum of the charisma tolead such a film in a central role. Blake just mopes and grimaces! Somenotoriety may have been gained by Blake because of accusations of theactual 2001 murder of his wife Bonnie Lee Bakeley. Like O.J.Simpson hewas found not guilty by the criminal, but guilty by the civil courts.One of the few highlights for me was a small but interesting role forthe much underrated noir actor Charles MacGraw as Perry Smith's father.The first half hour of the film moves very slowly and doesn't reallyengage the viewer. The Quincy Jones score and B&W photography are noway near the far superior Anatomy of a Murder. I was eventually drawninto the story and while I admire the attention to detail, it justdoesn't make good cinema. The rain reflection scene really wasn't allits cut out to be. This is a good, realistic film, but no great classicand does drag in portions (especially the beginning).
I have to be in the right mood to watch it because it has the constraints of the big movie buisness stamped over it that gives it a hoaky feel at times. Given this, I can still see the producer pushed , as far as possible, to keep the film close to the realism he wanted, and his vision. There are more good films made independently these days and i wish the producer/ director had had the freedom not to have dealings with The Studio.Particularly commercialised is the Clutter family. They are too sqeaky clean in an apple pie way,which is off-putting and lack terror when they should be fearing for their lives ; even lambs to the slaughter would beg for mercy.Likewise Dick is too stereotyped which is noticable because Perry isn't. He may be flash, brash and superficial but when he operates the con with the manager of the clothing store, he does not alter or adapt his demeanor to carry it off.The great reason to watch this film is how Robert Blake depicts Perry. It is both sad and chilling. I have never seen a loser done so hauntingly. I got the feeling that the soul of the original Perry had been carried intact from life, by Capote, the author, and by the film director by the end of the film. For a man who only wanted to be famous- that is, not swamped by his lot in life - i'm glad he got his wish to be a somebody, if only he knew it. The film has an anti-death penalty stance in Perry. Is it right to kill a man who needed to be on medication for depression and border-line schizophrenia and who even sought support in prison? Whereas Dick never gave a damn.Perry may have a repetoire of appealing songs and a fantasy of public acclaim but the eery dangerous wayward jazz ( by Quincy Jones) running through the film seems to evoke the real music subverting his inner state. Here the director subverts The Studio's hold over the film as well. It brings a lurid quality, summed up by the almost psychedelic pattern of tears running over Perry's face in prison. Or is it only the reflection of rain streaming from the window panes?Psyche,psychedelic, inner states, mental illness, bad trips- the music inserts these suggestions.The murder scene seems flawed. If Perry lost it and they hadn't meant to kill then why weren't they in disguise? Dick also spends too long tapping the walls than putting the pressure on Mr Cutter to find out where it's "hidden". There is a lack of escalation in panic, anger and terror; one minute Perry is discussing horses with the girl and the next looking down the barrel at Mr Cutter and only seeing his father.Absolutely facinating Robert Blake was accused or convicted of murder, 35yrs on. It is very eery considering Capote wrote a "life imitating art-art imitating life" kind of book in the first place.
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
This review is from: In Cold Blood (DVD) This is THE movie. The Original by Truman Capote. "IN COLD BLOOD". I don't think there's a more compelling or 'haunting' movie about the senseless murders of the Clutter Family of Holcomb, Kansas in 1959. 4 Lives for less than $100 in stolen items, during an unheard of 'Home Invasion' of a Kansas farm house. This is a TRUE Story, and the actors in this movie couldn't be any more 'real' in their roles. I rate it as one of the 25 Best Movies of all time. OK, maybe the 50 Best.....there's a whole lot of good, older movies. This is one of them.
Disturbing movie, but true never the less. The acting is superb and the movie down right frightening. A must watch, if you can take the cold brutallity of this story! Robert Blake is young and this was his big launch to a somewhat successful career. The true murder of his wife Bonnie Black's death another story entirely??? Enjoy the great, but intense watch. Very well written and directed by a true master, Truman Capotie.
As I have matured, my fascination with the Academy Awards has evolvedfrom intense interest to casual amusement. As in a few other commentsthat I have written, the bizarre results of Academy Award voting areoften difficult to explain. The omission of "In Cold Blood" in 1967 asone of the five Best Picture nominees is one of those inexplicableinstances, especially when one of the nominations that year went to thewretched and unwatchable "Dr. Dolittle." While only an insomniac ormasochist would tune in to that Rex Harrison disaster, Richard Brook'spowerful adaptation of Truman Capotes non-fiction novel retains itsability to capture the viewer's attention and leave him or hercompletely drained by the final fade out. While there is nothingparticularly graphic or gruesome on screen, the film is definitelyadult material. Based on a Nebraska multiple murder in the 1950's andfilmed in the actual locations where the murders took place, "In ColdBlood" was filmed by master cinematographer Conrad Hall in stark blackand white, and his screen compositions demand to be seen in theircorrect widescreen aspect ratio. Together with Quincy Jones'sunsettling score, Hall's work should have been credited above the titlewith Brook's screenplay as the three pillars on which this intenseclassic is built. The performances are fine as well. Scott Wilson isall cold charm and Robert Blake intense introversion as the twokillers. (There is an inside joke at one point when Blake speaks ofBogart and "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" while the duo are drivingto Mexico. As a child star, Blake sold the lottery ticket to Bogart inthat John Huston film.) The film, like the book, is definitely slantedtowards the killers and has an anti-capital punishment tilt, althoughthe remorselessness of the murderers somewhat negates that sentimentdespite the difficult-to-watch final scenes. Some have criticized thefilm because it does focus on the criminals, their backgrounds, andlives, while the Clutter family, which was literally murdered in coldblood in the middle of the night, come across as one-dimensionalcharacters of little import. This lack of balance comes from the bookas Capote spent much time with the two killers while they were on deathrow. The Clutter family was apparently not researched to the samedepth. However, whatever feelings one may have for or against capitalpunishment, "In Cold Blood" will leave you mired deep in conflictingthoughts. Run a double bill with "Dead Man Walking," and you may notspeak for days.
This was a very engrossing true crime story based on the murder of theClutter family in 1959 in Kansas. It starts out with very menacingmusic that sets the tone for a story that will cause most viewers tofeel a great deal of discomfort.Even though most films by this time were being filmed in color, thedirector insisted this be shot in black and white - and proved a greatdecision. It helps under gird the very dark tone of the film. There isa very memorable scene near the end when one of the killers, Perry(Robert Blake) is talking in prison to a preacher. He is silhouettednext to a window with rain falling. The reflection of the rain drippingdown the glass forms what looks like tears falling down his face. Itwas nominated for an Oscar for cinematography but lost to BONNIE ANDCLYDE.The film starts out introducing us to the killers and the victims. Itkeeps switching back and forth between the wholesome, nice Clutterfamily who are as American as apple pie and the low-life criminals,Perry and Dick. You can't help but feel nervous as you know the fateawaiting this poor, nice family. They really did a good job of buildingtension in this viewer. The fact that the audience of the day was veryfamiliar with the murders, it meant the plot was little surprise toanyone. But the writer and director still do a good job creatingsuspense and tension in spite of knowing what is going to happen.Bad language - surprising for an old film from the 60's. Guess it wasused to add to the shock value.The Director went to a lot of trouble for authenticity. He wanted touse little known actors in the leads so people would focus on thecharacters and not the stars playing them. It was filmed on location inthe actual town, and even used the house where the murders occurred.There is no doubt to the premeditation and cold-bloodedness that wentinto these killings. It's shocking to me that film towards the endtries to paint the murderers in a sympathetic light. It reminds me ofanother similar movie, "I WANT TO LIVE", where another criminal (thattime a woman, Barbara Graham) was painted in a sympathetic light inorder to convict the death penalty instead of the criminal. There is nodoubt what the director's intention was when you see the way he closesthe film. After the final shot of Perry hanging on the end of the rope,the film closes with a final title screen: IN COLD BLOOD. There's nodoubt he's referring to the death penalty, and NOT the senselesskilling of the Clutter family. That was pretty cold-blooded to theClutter family's memory.
I voted excellent for how well the acting was, not for the content. Itstill gives me chills after reading the book, then watching the movie.Two ex-cons are traveling to their destination to rob a family of moneyfrom a safe one of the cons learned about while in prison. During theride, the tension begins to mount, as the soundtrack in the movie addsto the overall anticipation. After the killers are done with their workat the farm, the following morning the family's remains are found bythe daughter's church friend. The blood-curdling scream, as the scenepans onto the telephone with the cut cord, really made my blood runcold and gave me chills. That the killers met their just fates is asmall comfort for this doomed family. Robert Blake was excellent in hisportrayal of Perry Smith. The book was also excellently written byTruman Capote.
The recent movie 'Capote' deals with a particular period in his life,when he was intrigued by the 4 murders in Kansas and subsequenttracking down of the two crooks, their convictions, and eventualhangings in 1965. It deals with what Truman Capote went through to getmaterial for his book, "In Cold Blood." This 1967 movie, "In Cold Blood", is the dramatization of all that, themovie of the book, but minus Capote himself. Even though in 'Capote' wesee that he was present during much of the investigation, trials, andexecutions, and spent much time in prison with Perry, this movie has nomention of Capote himself.For anyone who saw and enjoyed 'Capote' this movie is a must-see. It isa natural follow up. The movie of course cannot cover EVERYTHING in thebook, but it does a good job of capturing the key scenes.The remaining comments contain certain SPOILERS. Robert Blake is PerrySmith and Scott Wilson is Richard 'Dick' Hickock, the two ex-cons freshout of prison who drove 400 miles to the small Kansas town just to robMr. Clutter, because they were led to believe that he had a safe fullof money in his house. There was no safe and all they got was 40dollars! The movie is in black and white, appropriate for the subject.The final scene is very sobering, as Perry snaps taut on the noose, andall we hear is a very loud heart beat, followed a bit by another, thenafter a short wait another, then silence.
This dark, moody documentary-style film tells the tragic story of themurder of a mid-western family by two drifters and is a classic workbecause of its approach to an unpleasant story. The movie parallel'sTruman Capote's best seller and is every bit as gripping as it detailsa senseless slaughter of a family that had no warning of the dangerthat was headed its way. Scott Wilson and Robert Blake portray the twotwisted young men responsible for the awful carnage that took place inthe Clutter home that night and the film details their journey from theday of Perry Smith's parole to their judgment day some six years later.Conrad Hall's excellent black and white cinematography captures thebleak, desolate expanses of the Kansas plains. John Forsythe is amongthe excellent cast and he heads a four-man detective unit that doggedlypursues the wanted men. Will Geer has a brief but interesting role as aprosecuting attorney. Quincy Jones' throbbing music varies fromMississippi Delta themes to jazzy, base-oriented cues and provides anappropriately somber, disquieting accompaniment.
This review is from: In Cold Blood [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray) This 1968 movie along with "Capote" seems like a perfect double header. In keeping with the times, this R rated movie is relatively mild in terms of what is shown. The murders are shown off screen, so no blood and gore. Likewise, no nudity and little swearing. I think the rating is likely due to heavy smoking!!Actually the subject matter is pretty bleak and it did actually happen. Actors Robert Blake and Scott Wilson became well known after this movie and Wilson still acts today (TV's "The Walking Dead.") Blake of course, is in the slammer. Shot nicely in black and white, the cinematographer Conrad Hall and director Richard Brooks were both nominated for Oscars, and their recognition is well earned. Blake's performance as killer Perry Smith attempts to make him sympathetic but I wasn't convinced. I think the real star here was Wilson as the lesser celebrated (by Capote) Dick Hickock. Dark and brooding, the film is effective, especially for the time.The Blu ray looks remarkably good for this 43 year old film. There are some specks and cracks that are carried over but hardly a big deal. The sound, again considering the age is fine if not remarkable using Dolby TruHD 5.1. This disc has no special features.
This review is from: In Cold Blood (Amazon Instant Video) An engrossing enactment of the events leading up to and following the horrific and senseless murders of a Kansas farm family. Robert Blake and Scott Wilson looked eerily similar to photos of the men they portrayed.
Me and my friend went to see the movie "Capote". However, the show wassold out, and we ended up watching "In Cold Blood" at his home (whichincidentally is based on Capote's book).He told me it was a new movie, so I thought at least it would be incolour. But damn, as soon as the credits started, I realized it was ablack and white movie.Well, I thought at least the plot would be engaging. Now, I am not anexpert on Hollywood movies, but still like to watch movies that makesyou rivetted on your seat. But for first 15-20 minutes I had no ideawhat is going on. Add to it, the main characters continuously usingslangs, and I was already uncomfortable in my cosy sofa.I am a generation X'er, and recently exposed to fast paced and slickmovies such as Kill Bill, Ocean's Eleven, Matrix to name a few. So thismovie obviously tasted my patience. Add to it the stern faced RobertBlake, which continuously reminded me of Sunil Dutt's character inMother India. I believe that you do not have to remain stiff to play acold blooded killer. YOu can be as smooth as Dr. Hannibal Lecter, andstill be a cold-hearted killer.To cut long story short, the movie finally ended and so ended mymisery, and I was back to my home, thinking about my ruined weekendevening
Many films are derived from novels and, in the normal way, it isunhelpful to compare the movie with the book, for the obvious reason thatthey are distinct art-forms, constrained by different technical limitations.However, this one really does have to be understood in the context of thebook which engendered it.Capote's book is a factual account of a multiple murder in a smallKansas town. Two young drifters plan a robbery which misfires and ends inviolence. The book traces the course of the patient investigation whicheventually brings the killers to justice. Because the book is a species ofjournalism, uncompromisingly anchored in fact, the film cannot help butfollow suit, with the added burden that it must faithfully represent on thescreen real persons, places and events.The mean lives of Dick Hickock and Perry Smith are documented in starkmonochrome. Panavision is used to powerful effect to show the wide, flatspaces of Kansas. Quincy Jones'satmospheric jazz score adds salt to the bleak images. The austerity of bluecollar life in the Mid West of the 1950's is splendidly evoked as our twodelinquents move through a rolling montage of Travelodges and diners,launderettes and interstates.This is a film of straight lines. The flat, relentless landscape ofKansas generates horizons that are ruler-straight. Roads stretch into thedistance without the hint of a curve. Slat blinds cast harsh bars of lightacross room interiors. The penitentiary scene is a symphony of geometriclines. Hickock and Smith have had their characters forged by incarceration,and we see that their 'outside' lives are, in a real sense, another form ofimprisonment. The lines which enclose them denote the hopelessness of theirexistence.The starkness is reinforced by neat, economical editing. The throwingof a light switch in the Hickock farmhouse carries us to the Clutter home,where a light is being turned on, and the words 'any crowded street' whiskus into just such a street.A cigarette butt is discarded, and its ugly cylinder becomes anelectromagnet searching for the murder weapon. The Clutters' cleanerrealises that a radio has been stolen, and we see the radio playing atDick's bedside.Once under arrest, Dick makes a powerful speech about tattoos. Thedetectives are trying to provoke him by sneering at his 'body art' and hepoints out that we all carry tattoos of some kind. Our dress, speech andattitudes mark us indelibly and fix us in our time andplace.Herb Clutter and his family lead a spartan home life. The farmhouse isspare and unadorned, but its order and solidity make a sharp contrast withthe chaos and squalor of the rented rooms where Dick and Perry hole up.Dick 'hangs paper' (passes dud cheques) in respectable Kansas stores,amassing clothes and electrical goods on a spree which exploits the trustbetween vendor and consumer and uses it as a weapon - Dick and Perry'srevenge upon 'decent' America.Once the arrests have been made and a trial scheduled, the filmswitches to a voice-over narration. No doubt this was done in order toshorten the custody passage (this is extensive in the book, but does notlend itself readily to film treatment), but it jars. Up to this point,Hickock and Smith have told their story through action. Narration issecond-best.However, the film is a highly-reliable rendition of the book, andcontains some impressive touches. Mail bags come somersaulting from thehurtling express-train like so much tumbleweed. The rapid crossfire of thedetectives' press conference conveys a lot of important information to theviewer in an economical way. A detective talks us through a psychologicalprofile of the as yet unknown killers, and it is very persuasive. While ourtwo heroes are lying low in Mexico, a beautiful mariachi song accompanies abedroom scene, the music evoking a sense of loss and regret, and leadingnaturally to Perry's flashback memories of his mother'sdegradation.To ask if the film is as good as the book is meaningless, but it iscertainly a highly-commendable reworking of the book in visual terms. Theinterplay between the two delinquents is first-class, the easy charm of Dickgiving way at critical moments to naked fear of the inscrutable dreamerPerry.
This movie seems to explain the criminal mind and why criminals do whatthey do. It made me sad to think that this movie was based on a realmurder that happened. I found it frustrating that Dick wouldn't give uplooking for money that wasn't there, and that Perry killed everyonejust because he felt the need to. The acting was very well done on Robert Blake's and Scott Wilson'sparts. The cinematography was also well done. I saw this movie in blackand white, but there were still good examples of cinematography. Iremember seeing the scene before Perry was to be hung and he wastalking next to the window. I remember how the rain that was going downthe window showed up on Perry's face, and how that was a totalaccidental shot.This movie also gets into the criminal mind. The two characters in themovie have had rough pasts when it comes to parents and family,especially Perry. I think the movie is trying to explain that mostcriminals do what they do partly because of how they were raised.
Okay..I felt obliged to balance the first reviewer who is docking this blu ray for lack of special features.lets get real, its a five star movie , in fact one of the greats and we are lucky to have it on blu ray. Most films of this age are not available in this format nor ever will be.Where do we start? The incredible script and direction of Richard Brooks? The brilliant cinematography by legendary Conrad Hall? The acting of Scott Wilson, Robert Blake, John Forsythe? Lets not forget the jazzy and perfect score (excuse the pun) by Quincy Jones. Based on the equally legendary book by Truman Capote this adaption is nothing less than a five star film and it looks spectacular in Blu Ray.Would it be great to have an interview with Wilson or Blake...sure..but Blake is a very dicey subject these days and I can't imagine any studio really wanting to pay him to appear on camera for such. Many of the main participants are deceased...so what do we have ...talking head experts discussing it? There are loads of resources on Capote and DVDs about him aplenty. There is a version available of this which is housed in a case with the film Capote Capote/In Cold Blood [Blu-ray] There is even a perhaps better film about Capote and In Cold Blood InfamousThe price of this blu ray is under $15....so at that price to have this movie looking this good I can't believe any true film lover would knock a star off for lack of "extras". I could understand if they were asking $30.This is a great film, featuring absolutely riveting performances and accomplished by film makers who are cinema royalty.If you love this movie you will be pleased with this version...if you have not seen it you will be in for a rare treat.. from the first time we see Blakes face lit by the match he strikes...the viewer realizes that they are in the hands of true expert film makers and its 2 hours and 14 minutes well spent!
Adapted from & closely follows the famous book of this title by TrumanCapote in the early 1960s about the murder of the Clutter family inHolcomb, KS, and how the two cons who did it were brought to justice.Filmed on location: the Clutter family home, with local citizens takingbit parts, the town, the area's prairie landscape, etc.Roger Ebert includes it among his "Great Movies." In one of his earlierreviews he said, this "....succeeds overpoweringly. The actors....areso good they pass beyond performances and....into life....At times onefeels this is not a movie but a documentary...." I agree. Years later(2002), Ebert includes this among his "Great Movies"I'd read Truman Capote's story when it first appeared in 4 installmentsin "The New Yorker" magazine and found it VERY gripping. To mysurprise, decades later, this movie struck me likewise. I often fearedI was going to see senseless violence. The film follows Capote's bookquite faithfully (except the role of Capote is played as a blandreporter). IMO, Ebert's reviews are on the mark. (And, just in caseyour reaction is like mine, have a bottle of wine available; mybuild-up of tension was relieved by a couple glasses right afterviewing.)FWIW: the section re: "personal life" in the Wikipedia article onRobert Blake/"Perry Smith" is interesting. Also, this film makes a goodprequel or sequel to the film "Capote" starring Phillip SeymourHoffman.