Raskolnikov, an impoverished ex-law student, kills an old pawnbroker and her sister, perhaps for money, perhaps to prove a theory about being above the law. He comes to police attention ... See full summary »
George Hamilton stars with Marian Seldes and Mary Murphy in "Crime and Punishment USA," an adaptation of the novel by Dostoevsky, directed by Denis Sanders.
The film "introduces" George Hamilton.
Hamilton plays a young man who kills and robs a pawnbroker and later comes up against a smart police detective (Frank Silvera) who preys on his conscience.
The only other version of this I've seen is the Peter Lorre one from 1935 and as you might guess, this film doesn't compare, and comparing George Hamilton to Peter Lorre - well, it can't be done.
One thing both films have in common is that they were done cheaply, and both in black and white. The black and white serves both films very well. It made the places in this film look kind of low-class and gritty.
The atmosphere was really the only thing I liked. The music was very loud and had those screeching trumpets one always heard in the '50s and '60s in films.
I also thought everyone acted somewhat inappropriately. It's possible it all happened in the other film, but it was either done better or I just don't recall it. When a man admits to killing someone, what would make a woman suddenly decide she wants to sleep with him? Especially after an uncomfortable scene where he yelled at her and acted rather weirdly.
Hamilton would be talking and suddenly start shouting -- it seemed like the emotions in this film came on suddenly with no build-up.
It was interesting to see such a young Marian Seldes as Hamilton's sister. She was a stage actress and teacher, married at one time to Garson Kanin. She died last year.
I saw George Hamilton in "La Cage aux Folles" a few years ago. He's done a great job of marketing his personality, and he obviously has a sense of humor, but he didn't register much, and he co-starred with an excellent Broadway performer, which made him look worse. I don't think in films he was a horrible actor, just not that great.
So that's Crime and Punishment U.S.A.
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