In 1959 Herbert, Bonnie, Nancy and Kenyon Clutter were brutally murdered in their Kansas farmhouse. Truman Capote was among the journalists who gathered at the scene but, unlike the others, he stuck around. In 1966, he published In Cold Blood, one of the most influential books in American history. Work immediately began to turn it into a film – parts of it shot in the very house where the murders took place.

Director Richard Brooks (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) does an extraordinary job in creating a work that stands out in its own right, a film that grips right from the beginning with its noirish visuals and unmistakable sense of menace. We follow the two killers as they travel toward their fateful destination, propelled by a rumour of secret riches. The film hinges on the performances of Scott Wilson as Dick and Robert Blake as Perry. It’s Blake who is the real standout and whose performance here, along with Capote’s book, would be significant in changing American attitudes to the death penalty.

Jennie Kermode
Eye for Film


Please note that the festival is for over 18s only