In Cold Blood Screen 9 articles

In Cold Blood


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  • Richard Brooks has transformed Capote's journalistic caper into a tract against capital punishment. A journalist (played by Paul Stewart) is superimposed on the film as the writer-director's liberal, humane mouthpiece. Capote himself seemed singularly uncommitted on the issue. However, Brooks seems to have sacrificed too much of the book in order to make the murderers more sympathetic.

  • Artforum: Manny Farber
    March 1968 | Farber on Film (pp. 599-602)

    With all its overtrained acting and nonsense (Perry's daydream before a mirror, fantasying himself as a Vegas star), In Cold Blood is a somber, slablike, all-of-a-piece inclemency that bears little resemblance to the open, cheap-knit style of Capote's writing. All the puzzle is created by the Conrad Hall image, incredibly dense, a concretelike block of Kansas scenery, damp climpate, that is almost impossible to enter.

  • Richard Brooks transforms Truman Capote's objective report of the background, commission, and solution of a murder into an uneasy mixture of facile Freudianism and 40s expressionism. The harsh documentary style that the material demands clashes with Brooks's nervous liberalism, and as a result this 1967 film alternately grips and bores—more of the former in the first part, more of the latter in the second.

  • While Bonnie & Clyde remains an indelible American classic and, along withThe Graduate, is often discussed as responsible for inaugurating Hollywood's renaissance period, In Cold Blood, written and directed by Richard Brooks, deserves equal praise for its innovative, if sometimes questionable, blend of documentary technique and narrative storytelling.

  • The remarkable thing about Brooks’ In Cold Blood is that it stays calm. The men arrive at the Clutter farm at 2am. Many directors would have been restrained until this point and then gone full giallo in depicting a bloodbath. Brooks skips to the next morning... Brooks strives to make a film about humans: slain humans and slayer humans. Blake and Wilson give wonderfully natural performances: eerie in their casual attitude to murder but endearing in their open natures.

  • Brooks appropriately invests a detached, documentary-style clarity into the film’s images, as smartly edited by Peter Zinner. Elements of both verge upon expressionistic, including the penchant for graphic and action matches, however a sense of realism is always evident amidst simmering tension. Overtly manipulative music cues by Quincy Jones may be the biggest distraction from the feature’s docu-drama air, yet again the seriousness and truthfulness of the underlying story triumphs.

  • Not only was this the best film Brooks would ever make, but it’s unlike anything else coming out of Hollywood at the time—at once a throwback to the best American movies of the 1950s and on the cutting edge of what was happening and what was about to happen in world cinema.

  • One reason that Brooks’s film achieves a greater sense of a world than the book is the power that objects take on in being photographed. The printed words shoeprints and rope are generalizations; in the film, these shoeprints and this rope pronounce the verdict of reality on the killers.

  • In the ten years since Pictures at a Revolution was published, one of the questions I’ve been asked most frequently is: what was the “sixth” Best Picture nominee, the film that finished just out of the running? . . . I have always suspected that In Cold Blood is the film that just missed. . . . To watch the film today is to see a thoughtful piece of work that is, in its way, the most emblematic of American studio movies circa 1967.

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