Synopsis by Paul Brenner
Richard Brooks wrote and directed this stark black-and-white (with brilliantly evocative cinematography by Conrad Hall) study of two drifters who murder a family, based on Truman Capote's non-fiction novel In Cold Blood. The film takes place in Holcomb, Kansas, where four members of the Herbert Clutter family are roused from their sleep and brutally murdered. The killers, Perry Smith (Robert Blake) and Dick Hickock (Scott Wilson), are two ex-cons who plan to rob the Clutters of $10,000 kept in a safe in their home. But Dick and Perry find no safe and no $10,000 and end up leaving the murder scene with only $43. The police, led by Alvin Dewey (John Forsythe) of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, try to track down the killers. Meanwhile, Dick and Perry take off to Mexico, where Perry has fantasies of prospecting for gold. But when his dreams of prospecting come to naught, Dick insists that they return to the United States. Confident that they have left no clues, they cash bad checks, and the police track them down in Las Vegas. During questioning, their alibis are broken when they are separated and tell conflicting stories.
drifter, ex-convict, family, investigation, murder, on-the-run, police, Mexico
High Artistic Quality, High Historical Importance