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The Fool Killer (1965)

 |  Drama  |  28 April 1965 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 168 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 2 critic

12-year-old George Mellish, tired of beatings for both real and fancied misdeeds at the hands of his foster parents,runs away from home by hopping a freight train and lands somewhere east ... See full summary »

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(novel), (screenplay) (as Morton Fine) , 1 more credit »
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Milo Bogardus
...
Mr. Dodd
...
Dirty Jim Jelliman
...
Mrs. Dodd
Yvonne Gilbert ...
Janet
Charlotte Jones ...
Mrs. Ova Fanshawe
Arnold Moss ...
Reverend Spotts
Sindee Ann Richards ...
Blessing Angeline Fanshawe
...
George Mellish
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Curtis Haymore ...
Various (voice)
...
Alice
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Storyline

12-year-old George Mellish, tired of beatings for both real and fancied misdeeds at the hands of his foster parents,runs away from home by hopping a freight train and lands somewhere east of the Mississippi River. The first person he meets is Dirty Jim Helliman who lives in a fantastically filthy hovel and with whom George feels a kindred spirit, both having "suffered" at the hands of a clean woman. It is (really dirty) Dirty Jim that tells George of the mythical, eight-foot bogey man called "The Fool Killer." George gets sick and Dirty Jim takes him to town where Mrs.Ova Faversham takes charge of the feverish boy. When Blessing Angeline, Mrs. Faversham's 10-year-old daughter, tells George that her mother intends to return him to his foster parents, George hits the road again. He meets Milo Bogardus, a young Civil War veteran, who has been robbed of his memory by a war wound, and is as lost in his own way as George. THey come upon a camp meeting, where the fanatical Reverend Spotts is... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

For Adults. For Children. See more »

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

28 April 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Violent Journey  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

First film of Edward Albert, Eddie Albert's son. See more »

Connections

Version of Kraft Theatre: The Fool Killer (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

The Ballad of the Fool Killer
Written by Tillman B. Franks & Mike Phillips
Sung by David Houston
See more »

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User Reviews

 
huck finn meets norman bates...?
31 July 1999 | by (michigan, usa) – See all my reviews

The Fool Killer is not for all tastes, but the current high cachet for no-budget indy efforts does give it a certain charm that its original (small) audiences may have overlooked. The rather uneven tale of a wandering orphan (Edward Albert) who crosses paths with a disturbed Civil War vet (Anthony Perkins in undisguised "Psycho" mode), the movie has a hard time deciding whether to emphasize its suspenseful overtones, its elegiac coming-of-age elements, or its somewhat loopy character vignettes (by pros like Salome Jens and Henry Hull, who has a field day as a--very literally-- dirty old man).

Young Albert (son of actor Eddie) is fine and surprisingly natural as the clueless kid, and while Tony Perkins does seem very much on Norman Bates auto-pilot here (almost certainly by request), he is still eerily sympathetic as a mysterious drifter with severe post-traumatic issues.

Even though the whole is something less than the sum of its parts, this film is by no means a loser. It's full of rich vignettes (take a look at the tent-revival scene!) and colorful characters, and these for the most part outweigh its moments of pretentiousness and occasional murkiness of motivation. No, it's not "Night of the Hunter"--but on the other hand, it's not "Night of the Lepus" either!


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