Martin Scorsese interviews his mother and father about their life in New York City and the family history back in Sicily. These are two people who have lived together for a long time and ... See full summary »
Based on "Sister of the Road," the fictionalized autobiography of radical and transient Bertha Thompson as written by physician Dr. Ben L. Reitman, 'Boxcar' Bertha Thompson, a woman labor organizer in Arkansas during the violence-filled Depression of the early '30's meets up with rabble-rousing union man 'Big' Bill Shelly and they team up to fight the corrupt railroad establishment and she is eventually sucked into a life of crime with him. Written by
After he finished this film, Martin Scorsese screened it for John Cassavetes. Cassavetes, after seeing it, hugged Scorsese and said, "Marty, you've just spent a whole year of your life making a piece of shit. It's a good picture, but you're better than the people who make this kind of movie. Don't get hooked into the exploitation market, just try and do something different." Scorsese's next film was Mean Streets (1973). See more »
Bertha frees Bill Shelley from the prison gang by faking a punctured tire. The wheel with the flat is left at the side of the road. In the following car chase, the wheel is initially missing from the car. Later the tire is clearly seen fixed to the rear of the car. When the car is being destroyed, the spare tire is gone again. See more »
Corman gangster mama movie done by Scorcese in a different mode
Early, solid film from Scorcese with Hershey as the heroine, who along with Carradine leads a pack of hoods who begin as communists and progress to bigger and bigger crimes -- something of a variation on Corman's "Machine Gun Kelly." Carradine and Hershey give good, but not outstanding, performances. The direction is somewhat showy and involves a lot of movement, typical of Scorcese's more evolved style as well. Roughly follows the mold set by previous AIP gangster mama flicks, with the step up on the violence meter each succeeding film seemed to demand.
Interesting also that this is the only Corman/AIP collaboration I can remember seeing from this period of time (72) when Corman's independent operations were becoming more successful all the time (w/ the nurse movies and stewardess epics cleaning up at the box office). I can only think that they saw it as a continuation of such a successful collaboration that it was impossible to resist getting together again one more time (though Corman claims to have been so absolutely disgusted by their treatment of his epic "Gasssssss" that he would no longer work with them after 1970). Anyone with information on how this collaboration took place will make me very grateful by forwarding this information to me.
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