Boxcar Bertha (1972)
Genre: Crime | Drama
Country: USA | Director: Martin Scorsese
Language: English | Subtitles: English (.srt file)
Aspect ratio: Widescreen 1.85:1 | Length: 88mn
Bdrip H264 Mkv – 1280×688 – 23.976fps – 3.27gb
Based on “Sister of the Road,” the fictionalized autobiography of radical and transient Bertha Thompson as written by physician Dr. Ben L. Reitman, ‘Boxcar’ Bertha Thompson, a woman labor organizer in Arkansas during the violence-filled Depression of the early ’30’s meets up with rabble-rousing union man ‘Big’ Bill Shelly and they team up to fight the corrupt railroad establishment and she is eventually sucked into a life of crime with him.
Roger Corman’s indirect influence on the 70s movie renaissance is often overlooked. Many of that decade’s key players served their apprenticeships on Corman’s quickies. Directors like Coppola, Bogdanovich, Bartel and Demme, and actors like Nicholson, Hopper, Fonda, Dern, Stanton, and even De Niro.
Add Martin Scorsese to that list. ‘Boxcar Bertha’, his movie directly before the breakthrough ‘Mean Streets’, may not display his talent in full, but it is a surprisingly well shot and acted, and is an above average b-grade movie with a lot of entertainment value.
Like similar Corman productions from this period (‘Bloody Mama’, ‘Dillinger’, ‘Big Bad Mama’) it is a Depression era look at flamboyant criminals. An exploitation movie for sure, but exploitation with style and class. 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. The supporting cast includes blaxploitation legend Bernie Casey (‘Cleopatra Jones’,etc.), Carradine’s veteran character actor father John, and Scorsese/Ferrara regular Victor Argo (‘Taxi Driver’, ‘King Of New York’).