Based on Truman Capote’s nonfiction novel of the same name and filmed in the house where the real-life incident occurred, this chilling tale follows two drifters (Robert Blake and Scott Wilson) who allegedly murder a rich Kansas family and flee to Mexico. Nominated for four Oscars, this disturbing black-and-white movie paints a portrait of the victims and their killers. John Forsythe also stars.
Rating: 7 out of 10
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote is one of the crowned jewels in true crime literature. It not only paints an extraordinary picture of small time life and businesses but it also shows what can happen to an entire community when the monstrosity of two men can permeate their innocent lives. It’s one of my all time favorite books. Naturally I wanted to see the film the book inspired. Now, as many of you who love to read know, it’s always hard to see a movie based on a great book. We have already painted the story and characters in our minds and it’s hard to see another person’s vision of the story. At the same time, I can begrudgingly put that aside and focus on the skill of the actors and director to relate their version. With that in mind, I sat and watched the original film and have to say it’s very good but far from perfect. First, I’ll say the black and white cinematography is excellent. The story is relayed very close to the characters without feeling intrusive. It has that fly-on-the-wall quality to it. Also, the performances are particularly good by Robert Blake and Scott Wilson as the two murderers. They go through myriad emotions from the beginning to the end of the story and it seems real and believable. The film also handles the story progression with quality pacing and skill.
But for all that’s good, there’s a quality to the book that just cannot be possibly contained within a visual medium. It’s impossible to capture with a camera the poetic words of Truman Capote when he describes emotions of the townspeople, the setting of the story, or the graphic nature of the crime investigation. The book wasn’t so much a crime story as it was a story about the damage that greed and evil can cause. And to that end, the film never hits that high of a note.
We usually post trailers, but here’s a monologue by Robert Blake: