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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
...
Cyrus McNutt
...
Mrs. Bullard
...
Mr. Lomax
...
Warden LeGoff
...
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:

 »
Show detailed on  »

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

During the first riot scene, Dudley and Cyrus try to help Coy Cavendish, who is handcuffed to a post. They appear right next to him, then - in a wide shot - 20 meters away from him in the center of the fight, then again right next to him. See more »

Quotes

Paris Pittman Jr.: [at dedication of new prison dining hall] On behalf of the men, I'd like to express to the lieutenant governor, and to you, warden, and to the schoolteacher, and the other distinguished guests, and all those law-abiding citizens out there, just how much all this means to us in here. Imagine, after all we've been, all we've done to society
[lifts plate, smiling]
Paris Pittman Jr.: we get chicken - and green peas - and mashed potatoes!
[beams, then flings plate at the wall over warden's head]
See more »

Connections

Edited into La classe américaine (1993) 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 »

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User Reviews

 
Very good but also a big "edgy" and adult
1 September 2007 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Kirk Douglas plays a very amoral and scheming bandit. For a while, this lifestyle pays off until he is ultimately captured and placed in an awful prison in the middle of the desert. At first, this is a real tough stay for Kirk as the warden is a greedy cuss and he tries to abuse Kirk into revealing where he hid $500,000 in stolen loot. But, after the warden is killed, a new guy takes over (Henry Fonda) and he and Douglas develop a certain level of respect for each other--all the while Kirk is planning his escape. As for Fonda and his motivation for befriending Kirk goes, this is all very vague until very late in the film--and I think this made for a better film.

In addition to these two terrific actors, there are some wonderful supporting performances--especially by Hume Cronin and John Randolph who seemed an awful lot like a married couple! About the only negatives were a few places where the script seemed ridiculous (such as the escape from the prison--they took their time and it sure looked too easy).

I enjoyed this Kirk Douglas film quite a bit and I was torn between giving it a 7 and an 8. My final decision to give it a 7 was because some of the nudity and language seemed rather gratuitous and was inserted less for artistic reasons than to satisfy the new 1960s and 70s morality. There are just a few too many butts and breasts to make it a good bet for most kids--and it's a shame, because otherwise it's a dandy film.


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