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There Was a Crooked Man... (1970)

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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.
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Cast

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

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 December 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Zwei dreckige Halunken  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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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: [as Paris is leaving the room] Why do you work at it so hard proving to yourself you're a sonuvabitch?
Paris Pittman Jr.: [Stopping and turning] Because I am. It's my profession , and I'm on top.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Continental Divide (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

There Was A Crooked Man...
By Charles Strouse and Lee Adams
Sung by Trini López
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User Reviews

 
Postmodern yet powerful
19 January 2007 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

A unique combination of a western and an existentialist black comedy.

The two foils are Kirk Douglas as a cunning and charming prisoner, and Henry Fonda as his steady and observant warden. They match wits within a teeming ecology of interesting characters. Burgess Meredith is the heart of the ensemble and provides several poignant moments: the bath scene and his reaction to a shooting are unforgettable.

You'll either hate or love the way "A Crooked Man" subverts the conventions of the genre. The tone of the movie is purposefully inconsistent. One moment, it's sympathetic and moving. The next it's cold and nihilistic. The humor is particularly unique for how it brings slapstick and abstraction together. Consider the way Ah-ping meets his end, or the film's obvious disingenuous portrayal of the schoolteacher's fate. Behind these profoundly idiotic scenes is something profound. One caveat: a pointless and homophobic subplot mars this otherwise perfect film.

"A Crooked Man" will be a real treat for those who like films that leave the well-beaten path.


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