Two convicts break out of Mississippi State Penitentiary in 1936 to join a third on a long spree of bank robbing, their special talent and claim to fame. The youngest of the three falls in ...
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Two convicts break out of Mississippi State Penitentiary in 1936 to join a third on a long spree of bank robbing, their special talent and claim to fame. The youngest of the three falls in love along the way with a girl met at their hideout, the older man is a happy professional criminal with a romance of his own, the third is a fast lover and hard drinker fond of his work. The young lovers begin to move out of the sphere in which they have met, a last robbery in Yazoo City goes badly and puts paid to the gang once and for all as a profitable venture, but isn't the end of the story quite yet, as all three are wanted and notorious men with altogether different points of view on the situation they are faced with. Written by
In "Robert Altman: The Oral Biography" (2009) by Mitchell Zuckoff, co-screenwriter Joan Tewkesbury said: "We couldn't get any movie financed and he had a book he needed to be adapted, 'Thieves Like Us'. I read it and adapted it in about four days for him. By this time I had been around Bob long enough. It's almost like when you find a really good dance partner you know where the next step's going to go. It's not that you anticipate it, but you can relax enough to go with it . . . The money fell out for the project about three times. It was really by the grace of George Litto and Bob [Altman] and the other producer, Jerry Bick, standing in a room and practically mortgaging their houses and saying, "Let's go ahead." It was a really good lesson in terms of not backing down." See more »
In one of the old radio clips early in the film, the announcer talks about Seabiscuit winning the $25,000 Butler Handicap at Empire City Race Track. The actual date of Seabiscuit winning that race is July 10, 1937, which would place it after the end of the movie which concludes in the Spring of 1937. See more »
I think it'll be a boy.
Lady in Train Station:
Can you tell?
Well I hope it is. But if it is, he sure will not be named after his dad, God rest his soul. He crossed me up once too often, lying. He didn't deserve to have no baby named after him.
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Curiously enervated, with thoughtful if disappointing period flavor...
Down South during the Depression, two wily crooks and a young man convicted on murder charges break out of prison and hole up at a rural truck stop. Robert Altman directed and co-adapted this second film version of Edward Anderson's book (previously made in 1948 as "They Live By Night"), and he's obviously in love with the damp, grubby milieu and characters. He gets some wonderful work from then-newcomers Keith Carradine and blithe, earthy Shelley Duvall, yet fails to drum up interest in the narrative. The trio take part in bank robberies but never raise much hell, while the interrelationships between the criminals and their familiars are so matter-of-fact that nothing comes along to surprise us. The screenplay (also worked on by Altman's associate Joan Tewkesbury and, for a brief time, Calder Willingham) is talk-heavy with lackadaisical dialogue; all the gabbing may indeed have the ring of natural conversation, but it mutes the film's pacing. The frequent radio broadcasts, vintage costumes and cars are fun ingredients initially, but with such a drab presentation (and hardly any light relief) one is apt to become restless with the lack of drive. Altman probably didn't want bold, vivid colors from cinematographer Jean Boffety, but what he did get--muddy-wet roads and paint-chipped old houses--is far too gloomy. The filmmaker takes his precious time presenting each scene, enjoying himself no doubt, but interest in these seedy lives is extremely limited. *1/2 from ****
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