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
The film was selected to screen in competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 1974. See more »
On the night before the law officers come to the Grapes Motor Hotel, a thunderstorm occurs. Keechie has a conversation with Mattie out in the motor hotel's courtyard, with both of them covering their heads from the rain. The next morning, when Keechie leaves her cabin and walks to the motel's office, the ground in the courtyard is dry. But when the law officers arrive a few minutes later, the ground in the courtyard is suddenly muddy and filled with puddles. See more »
Hey, you gotta come down to Hermanville with me. Don't you wanna do that? See that little cousin of mine. Maybe get yourself some Keechie-Keechie-koo.
Oh, I'll bet that's how that little chipper wakes herself up in the morning. Keechie-Keechie-koo.
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This film may have been a box office disappointment when it was first released, but that's no reason why it should be so completely forgotten today.
"Thieves Like Us" was Altman's second major period piece (after "McCabe and Mrs. Miller"), and he gets the details just right. From the cars to the clothing to the ubiquitous Coca-Cola bottles, everything adds to the feeling that these events could have taken place. It, of course, also helps that he has actors who look like they fit the time period. Keith Carradine, Shelley Duvall, John Schuck and Bert Remsen were born to play these roles, and they get able support from Tom Skerritt and Louise Fletcher.
Instead of a typical soundtrack, Altman uses vintage radio programs to underscore the action (crime dramas during robberies, "Romeo and Juliet" during a love scene). It's a brilliant gamble that pays off and takes the film to a whole new level.
In short, this is one of Altman's most fully realized films. For it to remain unseen is a crime.
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