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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
The film was banned in Australia in 1971. It was deemed "obscene" by the Australian censorship boards and was re-submitted for release in 1972 after the introduction of Australia's R 18 rating, but was again banned for "violence and indecency". This is notable due to the fact that there is only one real scene of violence in the entire film. The film was finally passed in October 1989 with just an M 15 rating and home video releases proudly display the "Banned" disclaimer on the front cover. A DVD release in the early 2000s would also advertise the fact that the film had been banned. See more »
In the scene on the bus with the dead victim of Martha and Ray, there is a long shot of the woman's face with her eyes somewhat googly and her tongue sticking out, as you hear the bus driver exclaiming her death, etc. Towards the end of the shot, if you watch the woman's face, you can see her tongue move. See more »
What's the matter, can't you sleep? You woke me up.
Oh I'm sorry, I guess I'm just restless.
You want a sleeping pill? I've got some.
You have any other kind?
What do you mean?
Never mind. You wouldn't, you're too square!
You sigh a lot, don't you? In nursing school they taught us that people who sigh a lot are unstable. Is that your problem?
No! I was just thinkin' about your brother; and how handsome he looked in that toupee I gave him. He lied to you.
I don't believe it, he never lies...
[...] See more »
Biopic based on Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez, a couple dubbed The Lonely Heart Killers. Martha is an obese nurse who is a sad and pathetic individual who meets a con-man Raymond through a Loney Hearts club. He swindles women into falling in love with him and bilks them out of their fortunes. Martha and Raymond are meant for each other as they're both despicable, hateful people. This film is among the best biopics that I've seen. And aside from a few fairly campy moments, it's acted marvelously.The decision to shoot in black and white was brilliant. A lot of films get praised highly and don't warrant it. But this film deserves every accolade praised upon it.
My Grade: A
DVD Extras: 30 minute Interview with Leonard Kastle; essay except with rare photos and clippings from Beck and Fernandez's trial and incarceration; Biographies, and Theatrical Trailer
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