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Label:
Name: TWILIGHT TIME
Number: TWILIGHT241-BR

BOXCAR BERTHA (1972) (BLU-RAY)
Starring:  David Carradine, Barbara Hershey, Barry Primus, Bernie Casey, Victor Argo, John Carradine
Directed By:  Martin Scorsese
Composed By:  Gib Gilbeau, Thad Maxwell

“A weirdly interesting movie…Director Martin Scorsese has gone for mood and atmosphere…We get the feeling we’re inhabiting the dark night of a soul."
– Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

“An interesting surprise…thoughtful, ironic…beautifully directed by Martin Scorsese, who really comes into his own here.”
– Howard Thompson, The New York Times

A would-be Roger Corman/AIP exploitation film, Boxcar Bertha (1972) takes on additional layers of meaning thanks to its youthful director, the just-then-emerging Martin Scorsese. Barbara Hershey and David Carradine star as a pair of doomed lovers in the Depression-era American South, turning to train robbery and life on the run. Barry Primus, Bernie Casey, and John Carradine also star.

LANGUAGE: English
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.85:1
AUDIO: English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
1972 / Color
89 MINUTES
RATED R

Special Features: Isolated Score Track / Original Theatrical Trailer

Limited Edition of 3,000 Units

  
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Reviews and Comments: (1)
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Posted by Mark Turner on November 22, 2016 3:30 AM
EARLY SCORSESE

Thank Heaven Martin Scorsese went on to make some great movies. Had he relied on his reputation with films like these we wouldn’t be talking about him today. The movie is so bad that you have to check the credits on screen and the box itself to make sure you read it right. Yes, it is the same Martin Scorsese.

The story here is of wandering hobo Bertha “Boxcar” Thompson (Barbara Hershey) who travels with her crop duster father until he dies in a plane crash. She takes to the open rails, hitching rides on boxcars and meeting up with consistent lover and union agitator Big Bill Shelly (David Carradine). While deeply in love they never marry. Bertha hustles to make a buck and Bill moves from town to town trying to organize labor unions.

Bertha eventually partners up with gambler Rake Brown (Barry Primus) and the two con gamblers where ever they go. In a bad turn of events Bertha accidentally shoots and kills one gambler and the two hit the rails once more. On the road she meets up with Von Morton (Bernie Casey), the mechanic who used to work for her father. The three catch up with Bill and then form a team of thieves.

I’d love to tell you what happens here but for those willing to brave this movie I don’t want to spoil it. What I can tell you is that this film moves all over the place. It leaps from one scene to the next with little or no narrative structure to it. Characters just suddenly decide to do something and other pop up.

Carradine shows why he was never an Oscar contender. His acting style remained constant from one movie to the next, as if the same character was in each role. Hershey, who went on to perform some tremendous roles in her time, is young and just beginning here and it shows. She and Carradine were involved for some time and had a son together, I’m assuming during the time this movie was made.

With only one feature film prior to this you can tell this is early Scorsese. Made just before MEAN STREETS this movie has a slapdash feel to it that makes you wonder was it his decision to make it this way or was he forced to do so by producer Roger Corman. In any event I’m so glad he changed the way he did things and gave us so many more movies worth watching than this one.

I had seen this movie once before years ago and thought perhaps my memories of it were unkind. Truth be told my memories were kinder to it than my feelings for it this time around. Those who are Hershey fans solely for the reason of glimpsing her nude will flock to this film. Carradine fans who think his performance on KUNG FU was underrated might enjoy it as well. All others would do well to pass it by.

Still, for the collectors of all things Scorsese you’ll want to make a point of picking his one up before it’s gone. It’s being released on blu-ray by Twilight Time and as always limited to 3,000 copies. Yes, the quality of presentation by them is as outstanding as always. But no matter how much you polish this it remains a lump of clay rather than a diamond.

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