Boxcar Bertha

Overview

Boxcar Bertha was director Martin Scorsese's second feature-length film, and though it doesn't carry the emotional power or weight of Mean Streets (the film he would make the following year and which would set the artistic tone for many of his subsequent productions), there is still plenty to enjoy here, mainly Barbara Hershey's performance as the title character. MGM Home Entertainment's disc is likewise worthwhile, offering up the low budget Roger Corman production with a very nice remastered transfer. The ...
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Barbara Hershey, David Carradine DVD Before Martin Scorsese wowed the world with MEAN STREETS, he teamed up with legendary producer Roger Corman for BOXCAR BERTHA, a ... rollicking period drama that features a memorable performance from Barbara Hershey. Hershey is "Boxcar" Bertha Thompson, a Depression-era woman who loses her father in an airplane accident. Joining up with controversial union leader Big Bill Shelley (David Carradine), Bertha is forced into a life on the run when a group of conservative witch hunters targets Shelley as a Communist. Along the way, Shelley and Bertha fall into a life of underground crime, which includes stealing from railroad bosses. Their run comes to a crashing halt when the extremely powerful railroad company catches up with Shelley and exacts a nasty revenge. Based on the book SISTER OF THE ROAD by "Boxcar" Bertha Thompson and Ben L. Reitman, Scorsese's film is an entertaining romp through an exciting chapter in American history. His sure-handed direction confirms the dire Read more Show Less

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Overview

Boxcar Bertha was director Martin Scorsese's second feature-length film, and though it doesn't carry the emotional power or weight of Mean Streets (the film he would make the following year and which would set the artistic tone for many of his subsequent productions), there is still plenty to enjoy here, mainly Barbara Hershey's performance as the title character. MGM Home Entertainment's disc is likewise worthwhile, offering up the low budget Roger Corman production with a very nice remastered transfer. The picture is consistently sharp and balanced and has been appropriately letterboxed (1.85:1 enhanced). The English mono soundtrack is unfortunately another matter -- there are frequent pops and poorly mixed scenes contained on it. But overall, it's nothing too bothersome. The disc also contains the film's original theatrical trailer, giving one a look at how the film looked before being cleaned up. Multiple subtitle options and a French language mono soundtrack are also available. A must for all Scorsese fans.
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Special Features

Original theatrical trailer
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Hooking up with legendary B-movie producer Roger Corman as an avenue into the movie business, Martin Scorsese directed his second feature, and earned his Director's Guild card, with Boxcar Bertha (1972). One of a slew of late-'60s-early-'70s Bonnie and Clyde (1967) rip-offs, complete with a car chase and bloody climax, Boxcar Bertha manages to be a bit better than the usual exploitation movie while following the Corman edict to include nudity and violence at regular intervals without that much regard for story coherence. Though the central players were still finding their way as actors, Boxcar Bertha contains flashes of Scorsese's burgeoning directorial talent, from the jump-cut final shootout and expressive dolly shots, to the disturbing close-ups that signal a crucifixion. Though Boxcar Bertha did not exactly advance Scorsese's career at the box office, it did provoke John Cassavetes to admonish the young filmmaker to make movies that meant something; Scorsese responded by making his superb, highly personal Little Italy chronicle Mean Streets (1973).
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/19/2002
  • UPC: 027616873972
  • Original Release: 1972
  • Rating:

  • Source: Mgm (Video & Dvd)
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Theatre Wide-Screen (1.85.1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Dolby 5.1 / Mono
  • Sound: Dolby Digital, monaural
  • Language: English, Français
  • Time: 1:28:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Barbara Hershey Bertha
David Carradine Bill Shelley
Barry Primus Rake Brown
Bernie Casey Von Morton
John Carradine H. Buckram Sartoris
Victor Argo McIver Brother
David R. Osterhout Mclver Brother
Harry Northrup Harvey Hall
Ann Morell Tillie
Marianne Dole Mrs. Mailer
Joe Reynolds Joe Dreft
"Chicken" Holleman Michael Powell
Grahame Pratt Emeric Pressburger
Gayne Rescher Brothel Client [uncredited]
Martin Scorsese Brothel Client
Technical Credits
Martin Scorsese Director
Julie Corman Producer
Roger Corman Producer
John William Corrington Screenwriter
Joyce Hooper Corrington Screenwriter
Buzz Feitshans Editor
Gib Guilbeau Score Composer
Don F. Johnson Sound/Sound Designer
Thad Maxwell Score Composer
Bob Modes Costumes/Costume Designer
David Nichols Production Designer
Barbara Pokras Editor
Paul Rapp Asst. Director
Ryder Sound Services Inc. Sound/Sound Designer
John M. Stephens Cinematographer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Scene Selections
1. Daddy/Main Title [6:18]
2. The Union Man [5:44]
3. The Gambling Man [8:41]
4. Busting the Union [5:58]
5. Chain Gang [10:50]
6. Great Train Robbery [3:24]
7. Union Dues [6:14]
8. Holdup & Down [5:18]
9. "I Ain't a Quitter" [4:22]
10. A Formal Fundraiser [4:38]
11. Bill Gets Collected [6:38]
12. "A Place to Stay" [6:31]
13. Blues Club [2:44]
14. Reunion [4:38]
15. "Don't Take Him" [5:31]
16. End Credits [:31]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Theatrical Trailer
   Languages
      Spoken Languages: English
      Spoken Languages: Français
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: Français
      Subtitles: Español
      Subtitles: None
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