Crime and Punishment U.S.A. (1959) is an American feature film, directed by Denis Sanders, and is— as the New York Times put it, “a beat generation version”—of the novel Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
The film was released on November 1, 1959, is 96 minutes in length, and shot in black-and-white. In addition to making some changes in the plot and characterizations, it sets the tale, not in 19th-century Russia, but in mid-20th-century Los Angeles. The script was written by Walter Newman, and stars George Hamilton, in his first screen role, as “Robert Cole,” the character based on Raskolnikov, the protagonist of the Russian novel.
Mary Murphy as Sally
Frank Silvera as Lieutenant Porter
Marian Seldes as Debbie Cole
John Harding as Fred Swanson
Wayne Heffley as Rafe
Eve McVeagh as Mrs. Griggs
Tony Johnson as Mrs. Cole
Lew Brown as Sergeant Neil Samuels
George Hamilton as Robert
Len Lesser as Desk Officer
According to Hamilton, director Denis Sanders "saw his project as a tragedy for the Beat Generation" and cast Hamilton because of his similarity to Tony Perkins.
The film was completed early in 1958 but took over a year to be released.
In his review in The New Republic, Stanley Kauffmann commented that “modern versions of classics are generally more clever than convincing because the very term ‘classic’ means a timeless work . . . that need not be transplanted.” Nonetheless, he continued, “by reason of its attendant skills and an innocent, unpretentious earnestness of address," Crime and Punishment U.S.A. "is a moderately interesting attempt to state the material of a vast symphony with a small jazz combination.”
Roger Corman later said the film "lost me a lot of money."