7.1/10
2,735
32 user 25 critic

There Was a Crooked Man... (1970)

Trailer
2:58 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
A charming but totally ruthless criminal is sent to a remote Arizona prison. He enlists the help of his cellmates in an escape attempt with the promise of sharing his hidden loot.
Reviews

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A computer programmer decides to become a thief. And when he starts making waves an insurance investigator hounds him. He also meets a woman who becomes his accomplice.

Director: Bud Yorkin
Stars: Ryan O'Neal, Jacqueline Bisset, Warren Oates
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A sociopathic stranger all but destroys a small hardscrabble town but the 'mayor' convinces its survivors to stay and rebuild.

Director: Burt Kennedy
Stars: Henry Fonda, Janice Rule, Keenan Wynn
History | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Crude and uncivilized backwoods trapper Jed Cooper and his two partners sign up as scouts in a remote Oregon army fort, manned chiefly by untrained rookie soldiers. Jed, flirting with the ... See full summary »

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Victor Mature, Guy Madison, Robert Preston
The Big Sky (1952)
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The success of the journey focuses on keeping the Indian girl alive as well as themselves to complete trade with the Blackfeet.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Dewey Martin, Elizabeth Threatt
Posse (1975)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An unscrupulous politico marshal and his deputies chase a gang of train robbers whose leader proves that every man has his price.

Director: Kirk Douglas
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Bruce Dern, Bo Hopkins
A Gunfight (1971)
Certificate: GP Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Two aging gunfighters in need of money come to an agreement to organize an actual showdown between them and sell tickets for it. The townsfolk is more than interested to see the "show".

Director: Lamont Johnson
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Johnny Cash, Jane Alexander
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Outlaw Clint Hollister escapes from jail with the help of Marshal Jake Wade, because once Clint did the same for him. Jake left Clint just after, but Clint finds him back and forces Jake to... See full summary »

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Robert Taylor, Richard Widmark, Patricia Owens
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Reporter Michael Gordon uncovers intrigue in Damascus, where the Allies and Nazis struggle for control of Arab sympathies.

Director: Léonide Moguy
Stars: George Sanders, Virginia Bruce, Lenore Aubert
The Split (1968)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Thieves fall out when over a half million dollars goes missing after the daring and carefully planned robbery of the Los Angeles Coliseum during a football game, each one accusing the other of having the money.

Director: Gordon Flemyng
Stars: Jim Brown, Diahann Carroll, Ernest Borgnine
The Honey Pot (1967)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Inspired by a performance of his favorite play, "Volpone," 20th-century millionaire Cecil Fox devises an intricate plan to trick three of his former mistresses into believing he is dying. ... See full summary »

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Stars: Rex Harrison, Susan Hayward, Cliff Robertson
Certificate: GP Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An aging cowboy finds to his embarrassment that the successful business he has inherited from his brother is actually a house of prostitution.

Director: Gene Kelly
Stars: James Stewart, Henry Fonda, Shirley Jones
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

When a law-abiding demolition expert is duped by a gang of criminals into helping them he is caught and jailed. When he is released he goes straight and then notices a leading citizen in ... See full summary »

Director: Stuart Burge
Stars: Norman Wisdom, Alfred Marks, Andrew Cruickshank
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Paris Pitman, Jr.
...
Woodward W. Lopeman
...
Dudley Whinner
...
Floyd Moon
...
The Missouri Kid
...
Cyrus McNutt
...
Mrs. Bullard
...
Mr. Lomax
...
Warden LeGoff
...
Coy Cavendish
C.K. Yang ...
Ah-Ping
...
Tobaccy (as Alan Hale)
...
Whiskey
Claudia McNeil ...
Madam
...
Skinner
Edit

Storyline

Charm, intelligence and success in criminal career doesn't prevent Paris Pitman Jr. to start doing ten years in prison, in the middle of the Arizona desert. However, those years should pass quickly because of a $500,000 loot previously stashed away. New idealistic warden would only make Pitman think of getting his fortune even sooner. He starts to manipulate everyone to achieve his goal. Written by Dragan Antulov <dragan.antulov@altbbs.fido.hr>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Once upon a time, there was a crooked man. When he was good, he was very, very good. And when he was bad, it was murder...

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 December 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Zwei dreckige Halunken  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Warner Brothers' front office was very worried about this film. It was shot over a five-month period in the first half of 1969, but it was well over a year before it was given any commercial showings. Like Joseph L. Mankiewicz's previous film, The Honey Pot (1967), it opened in Britain some two months before the US, in late 1970. According to Mankiewicz's biographer, Kenneth Geist, his preferred version of the film ran to 165 minutes; however, Warners objected to this and re-cut the film, to his great irritation, to a more manageable 126 minutes. One notable casualty of this re-cutting was the prominently-billed Lee Grant, a very well-known actress at the time, whose appearance is now barely a couple of minutes in length. See more »

Goofs

The angel that Whinner draws on the wall of their cell looks slightly different at the end of the scene than the beginning. See more »

Quotes

Woodward Lopeman: Don't tell me you can't make speeches; you could talk a coyote out of a chicken.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Continental Divide (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Sweet Betsy from Pike
(uncredited)
Traditional American ballad
lyrics written by John A. Stone prior to 1858
version sung by Alan Hale
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
very good... but could have been great
17 January 2011 | by (Melbourne, Australia) – See all my reviews

There is so much to like and appreciate about this film that while it's an enjoyable experience, it isn't the great film it should have been.

Firstly, the script is largely excellent. It has a good plot and characters backed up by interesting dialogue. It has a top-notch cast delivering almost universally quality performances. As well, it has some interesting themes and issues to explore, especially in the central battle between Fonda's warden and Douglas' prisoner. The scene where Douglas confronts Fonda in the just built eating hall and exposes his self-serving interests and hypocrisy, is a great example of top-class screen writing.

All the elements are there for a classic (or at least semi-classic) Western, but it doesn't quite reach that. Why? I think a big problem for this is Joseph L. Mankiewicz's direction. As other users have commented, the tone of the film is jerky and erratic and he has to take prime blame for that. But even in pure cinematic terms, it isn't well directed. Scenes that should have been highlights (such as the robbery that opens the film) lack punch because they're ineptly handled.

I think another major problem is the cinematography. The glossy, bright and flashy look of TWACM seems more in tune for a jovial, knockabout, straightforward Western. For a film full of cynicism, complexity (as well as its share of humour) and some rather depressing elements, it's a distracting and misjudged look. The much more realistic style that was to become much more common in films as the 1970s progressed (e.g. 'McCabe and Mrs. Miller') would have been much more apt.

Overall, an under-appreciated and underrated film worth seeking out. But also a bit of a missed opportunity.


3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Fun question zawora
Pitman and Warden LeGoff bullit2513
How Much Warren Oates? samariley
dvd smrfldemployee
On TCM in the UK now... houndtang75
What happened to Burgess Meredith's character? thompsonrl65
Discuss There Was a Crooked Man... (1970) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?