While the movie takes extensive liberties with the true story, it does capture the Depression era milieu, focusing on the hobo jungles, whorehouses and freight car hopping that befitted the open road lifestyle of its free spirited heroine. Yet there's also a sense of righteousness in their lawlessness, due to their quest to overthrow the cruel railroad men. It leaps from one scene to the next with little or no narrative structure to it. Barbara Hershey gives a light-hearted, yet also poignant performance as Bertha. Please note, these do contain spoilers. The religious angle is something which actually runs through all of Scorcese's work, rarely stated out loud but always under the surface.
Following a run in with a gambler that ends in murder and the hitching up with African-American man Von Morton Casey as well as Northern state based businessman Rake Brown Primus , who's come down with a false accent and an empty wallet to find work when they meet them in the same jail cell, the group go off on an ill-gotten venture of train robberies; law dodging and in the case of Bill and Bertha: sexual relations. The thoughtful, ironic script thins only toward the middle and the whole thing has been beautifully directed by Martin Scorsese, who really comes into his own here. Still, the film is enjoyable and worth seeing, even just as the product of a young filmmaker still shaping into the master he was to become. It's also a small film developed by a B movie producer. I am a tremendous admirer of his, as are many, and I knew I wasn't going to think as highly of it as I think of Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, The Last Temptation of Christ, Casino, Bringing Out the Dead, The Aviator, and certainly GoodFellas or The Departed. Rent it for Hershey's lyrical style and the chance to discern the fetus of a genius. However, it's alive, ambitious, violent, cynical, and edgy.
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. He relies very heavily upon the editing process for impact a dynamic cut emphasises every moment of action. Together, they form a small gang and begin robbing trains as well as anything else they can get their hands on. A scene somewhere in the middle opens with David Carradine standing before a biblical fresco, and later in the city Barbara Hershey stops to look at a film poster for The Man who Could Work Miracles. I won't not because it's not true, Martin Scorsese's directing is the obvious highlight of the film and what elevates to a level slightly higher than all the other 70's exploitation movies, still, even admitting this would be unfair because it wouldn't take into consideration the chronological context of the film's making.
Ably directed with tremendously fluid finesse and assurance by Martin Scorsese, with a smart, concise script by Joyce H. Having witnessed Jack's boss knowingly order her father to fly in a faulty plane, Bertha, hysterical with grief, attacks the callous man with the help of Jack's black mechanic, Von Morton, and Big Bill Shelly, a labor organizer who is working on a railroad gang nearby. All others would do well to pass it by. Then turns around again, matter-of-factly deciding to stay. And then their gang is complete and their first murder just sort of happens when Bertha shoots a gambler who is about to shoot Rake. Just a waste of time.
And without Scorsese's name on the thing, this picture would be of little interest now. Anyone with information on how this collaboration took place will make me very grateful by forwarding this information to me. Avoid this waste of time and watch Raging Bull for a period piece. Had he relied on his reputation with films like these we wouldn't be talking about him today. Something of note: No one is a bigger fan of Martin Scorsese than me.
Those words are a reflection of what happens in recent years in the increasingly decadent and uninteresting cinema mostly North American. They literally have no lines whatsoever. Barbara Hershey who would reunite with Scorsese in seriously underrated 'The Last Temptation Of Christ' plays the title role, but the real star of the movie is her then real life partner David Carradine 'Kung Fu', 'Death Race 2000' , who gives a strong, charismatic performance. I had seen this movie once before years ago and thought perhaps my memories of it were unkind. Before Martin Scorsese trolled the dark alleys, bars, cabs, and pool halls of the seedy New York City Districts, he made a project that was a little less personal when he shot Boxcar Bertha in 1972. As a result, it's not quite as silly as this previous film--but the use of lots of nudity and violence betray its exploitation roots.
No one could believe this garbage. John Carradine contributes a nifty cameo as evil, crotchety railroad baron H. Only occasionally did either of them get to shine, and Carradine Senior is particularly good here even if it is another small role. Martin Scorsese shows off his penchant for violence without any reason whatsoever. But there's a lot more going on than a remake or rip-off. She gives a sexy and exhilarating performance, in a film, which disappoints in some stretches of film. Barbara Hershey gives an incredible sweetness to a character that follows her heart, through Bill.
But do realize that this was one of his first films and try to respect that. Stephens Sorcerer, Billy Jack , is easily one of the most impressive aspects of the entire production. Twilight Time's Blu-ray release features a strong video-audio presentation of the film and is worth a look for fans of Scorsese. Of course, the crook David Carradine escapes again so of course, there can be a big shoot-'em-up at the end. Truth be told my memories were kinder to it than my feelings for it this time around. She's an actress who should be wonderfully acknowledged for her great body of work. His films are already greatly eclectic.