1 9 9 6 (USA/Canada)
2 x 120 minute episodes
The brutal, meaningless slaying of a rural Midwestern family horrified America in 1959. This film – based on Truman Capote’s hauntingly detailed, psychologically penetrating nonfiction novel – introduces cowardly con man Dick Hickock (Anthony Edwards), who hears a cellmate in prison recount how $10,000 in cash is kept in a home safe by a prosperous rancher in Holcomb, Kansas.
When he’s paroled, Dick persuades ex-con Perry Smith (Eric Roberts) to join him in going after the stash and on a November night in 1959, Dick and Perry break into the house of Herb Clutter (Kevin Tighe).
Enraged at finding no safe, they wake the sleeping family and brutally kill them all.
The bodies are found by two friends who come by before church on Sunday. The murders shock the small Great Plains town, where doors are routinely left unlocked.
Agent Alvin Dewey (Sam Neill) of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation heads the case, but there are no clues, no apparent motive and no suspects.
This long, drawn-out drama (it aired over four hours across two nights) follows the novel meticulously, and the period detail is faultless. The actors and directing are competent, and the script is OK, but the whole thing takes way too long to reach a climax. The 1967 movie starring Robert Blake, Scott Wilson and John Forsythe is infinitely superior.
The drama was filmed in Canada, doubling for Kansas, and features an early appearance from Ryan Reynolds as Bobby Rupp.
Agent Alvin Dewey
Agent Harold Nye
Don S. Davis
Frank C. Turner
Stephanie Anne Mills
Patricia M. Tkachuk
Johnny Ray McGhee