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In Cold Blood

4.6 out of 5 stars 231 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

IN COLD BLOOD is the powerful, true story of a callous murder, based upon the best-selling novel byTruman Capote. A prosperous and respected Kansas farmer, his wife and his two teenage children are wantonly and brutally slaughtered. The murderers are two mindless ex-convict drifters: Perry Smith (Robert Blake) and Dick Hickock (Scott Wilson). Neither of the men are sane enough to regret their crime. The story penetrates the inner workings of the criminals minds as it follows their purposeless meandering through Mexico and the United States in evasion of the law. After more than a year of wandering, the hunted men are finally caught, tried and in a dramatic conclusion condemned to hang.

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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Blake, Scott Wilson, John Forsythe, Paul Stewart, Gerald S. O'Loughlin
  • Directors: Richard Brooks
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Black & White, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Georgian, Chinese, Thai
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 23, 2003
  • Run Time: 134 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (231 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AN4JE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,682 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "In Cold Blood" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
When Truman Capote published his 1966 novel IN COLD BLOOD--a story based on the actual 1959 murder of wealthy Kansas farmer Herbert Clutter and his family--he single-handedly established a new type of printed literature. Factual accounts of real-world crime had made it into print before, of course, but in writing HIS book, Capote combined in-depth journalistic research with the techniques of fiction writing, openly folding the facts of the case into invented dialogue and, for aesthetic purposes, sometimes combining the case's less important actors into single fictional characters. Capote himself referred to IN COLD BLOOD as a "non-fiction novel," and this approach to retelling real-life crimes in a pulp-like literary format would eventually evolve into the true-crime genre that is popular today.

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.
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Format: DVD
Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" was hailed as a "non-fiction novel"; Richard Brooks' film adaptation is a semi-documentary film. Brooks doesn't sensationalize, however; the blood and gore of four horrible murders is kept to a bare minimum. We hear the gunshots but we don't see the carnage, and we don't need to; the power of suggestion does it all. Brooks keeps the movie strictly on track, from the night of the murder to the discovery of the crime the next morning; the killers' flight across country and the investigation by the detectives of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation which solved the crime and brought the perpetrators to justice.
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.
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Format: VHS Tape
Once seen, you will never forget Richard Brooks' haunting adaptation of In Cold Blood. A truer or more shocking story of American crime & punishment has never been told so well, and the film will leave you with more questions than answers. Yet, in terms of the filmmaking, everything works with the absolute precision of superlative craft. Robert Blake and Scott Wilson are unforgettable in the lead roles, each essaying a different kind of loser with brutish physicality and natural dialogue. The inventive jazz score by Quincy Jones is one of the strangest, and perhaps most appropriate, soundtracks ever created for an American studio film. And, most of all, the dazzling B&W cinematography of Conrad Hall is about the best I've ever seen. Images stick with you for days after the final credits roll-- a police cruiser screaming through the desolate Kansas prairie on a bright, cold morning; a cigarette lit in absolute darkness, suddenly revealing the twisted outline of a sweaty hand; a bloody shoeprint illuminated in the momentary glare of a flashing camera bulb; and, most famously, reflected rain 'tears' rolling down the killer's face as he awaits execution. The real miracle is that Brooks was able to preserve the narrative sweep of Truman Capote's 'nonfiction novel' without sacrificing detail. The documentary style and use of actual locations (it is rumored that Brooks even went so far as to use real vials of the victims' blood in a courtroom scene) make this a somewhat creepy viewing experience. But the offhand manner with which American filmmakers deal with crime nowadays neglects the heart of the issue-- murder and death are the ugliest experiences imaginable-- and Brooks glamorizes nothing here (other than the utter innocence of the slain family.Read more ›
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