Director: Richard Brooks
Year Released: 1967
Two thugs (Robert Blake and Scott Wilson) murder a family and flee to Mexico before inexplicably returning to the States where they're apprehended by the police, put on trial and executed - it doesn't take a writer of Truman Capote's pedigree to say they were cruel and incredibly stupid, though it does take talent to make these two monsters human. This is a deft, atmospheric adaptation of the work, featuring two dynamic lead performances (Blake is especially haunting), solid direction by Brooks and evocative cinematography by Conrad Hall, though it does get a little too Freudian at times (Bad Dads get a Bad Rap) and the conscious effort to keep the sensationalism to a minimum doesn't seem to work too well. Still, Capote's point comes through: do two wrongs make a right? He doesn't think so and I'm not sure, but those damn prisons are getting awfully cramped and you always get those extreme cases (like serial killers) where many people will be in a real hurry prepare the nooses themselves. I guess I just have to side with Bill Maher and remain Pro-Death....