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The Honeymoon Killers (1969)

 -  Crime | Drama | Romance  -  4 February 1970 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 2,503 users  
Reviews: 49 user | 51 critic

An obese, embittered nurse doesn't mind if her toupee-wearing boyfriend romances and fleeces other women, as long as he takes her along on his con jobs.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Shirley Stoler ...
...
Mary Jane Higby ...
Janet Fay
...
Bunny
Kip McArdle ...
...
Dortha Duckworth ...
Mrs. Beck - Martha's Mother
Barbara Cason ...
Evelyn Long
Ann Harris ...
Doris
Mary Breen ...
Elsa Raven ...
Matron
Mary Engel ...
Lucy
Guy Sorel ...
Mr. Dranoff
Michael Haley ...
Jackson (as Mike Haley)
Diane Asselin ...
Severns
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Storyline

In the early 1950s, Martha Beck, who lives with her slightly senile mother, is the head nurse in a Mobile, Alabama hospital. She is bitter about her life, she not having male companionship in large part because she is overweight, while her bitterness in turn does not endear her to people. She is initially angry with her best friend, Bunny, for signing her up to a lonely hearts club, but eventually decides to give it a try. Through it, she meets Ray Fernandez, a suave Spanish immigrant living in New York, he who contacted Martha as the first through the club. After Ray's trip to Mobile to meet Martha, they fall in love. Upon a subsequent visit Martha makes to Ray in New York - which leads to her being fired in part for her time off work - he decides to be up front with her: that she is not only not his "first" but that he is really a con man who, primarily through the club, seduces then bilks lonely women of their money. Pretending to be his sister to prospective targets, Martha ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Love is a bitch...called Martha. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 February 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dear Martha  »

Box Office

Budget:

$150,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

New York City based art-noise-rock band The Honeymoon Killers took their name from this film. See more »

Goofs

When Martha and Myrtle have an argument and Myrtle tells Martha she intends to take "Charles" with her to Little Rock, a microphone is visible right next to Myrtle. It doesn't look like a boom mic, but rather a handheld one because you can definitely see someone moves it a little to catch Shirley Stoler's line. See more »

Quotes

Myrtle Young: [Ray rebuffs her sexual advances] Oooo, you are meenie-weenie!
See more »

Connections

Version of Lonely Hearts (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

"America The Beautiful' (uncredited)
Music by Samuel A. Ward
Lyrics by Katharine Lee Bates
Sung by Ann Harris
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Cheap, Stark Exercise in Ugliness
23 June 2007 | by (Toronto) – See all my reviews

A two-bit Latin lothario who bilks spinsters and single moms of their (generally modest) savings meets a fat, frumpy sociopath of a nurse and inexplicably becomes a 'couple' with her. This 'little' lovely never seems to speak a word to anyone that isn't either an undisguised groan of contempt and boredom or a knife-edged utterance of argumentative ball-breaking. As portrayed by Shirley Stoler, Martha Beck is the embodiment of the narcissistic, self-pitying, rage-aholic 'lover' from hell. There is never a soft word or a soft moment from her. As this is based on a true-life couple it feels like there is something large missing from the telling of the story. Why Fernandez wants to be with Beck never feels satisfactorily explored. It's a complete mystery, yet it happened. Others have posted here that the story is ultimately a 'love story', but I couldn't feel it in the performances. With Bonnie and Clyde it was very well presented as such, even in the midst of rampant violence. Not so here. Beck and Fernandez just seem flat and emotionless (other than Beck's petulance)

Raymond Fernandez is just a con-man, moving from victim to victim and is relatively gentle in his crimes until Martha Beck comes into his life. Then it almost seems like the evil within her sucks from him any vestige of inner decency and he is soon a full partner in her cold, murderous inclinations. Comparisons to 'Psycho' and 'In Cold Blood' have been alluded to by reviewers here, but this has none of the artfulness of those superb canvases, nor are there any directorial postulations as to the personalities of these killers - no attempt at understanding what 'makes them tick' as in those other films

That the violence is presented in chillingly matter-of-fact fashion and the narrative style is so plain, plain, stark and plain seems to have led many to regard this film highly. I wonder if that would be the case if it had been filmed in exactly the same way but in colour? Sometimes black and white can be the 'making point' as to whether a film is regarded as cult-worthy. As to Truffault's appraisal of it, let's not forget he's French - saying it's his favorite American film could just as easily have been a snide comment about American cinema as a genuine compliment of the film. Doesn't matter anyway; as a Frenchman he probably thinks Jerry Lewis movies are high art

Anyway, it sure is an ugly little film. Perhaps the time is ripe, though, for a re-make - a more incisive exploration of the story. Not that I'd want to see it, mind you. I still feel plenty scuzzy from having watched this version


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