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Boxcar Bertha

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MGM Released 1972

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Movie Summary

Director:
Martin Scorsese
Released:
1972
Rating:
R

Boxcar Bertha is a 1972 film produced by Roger Corman and is the second film directed by a young Martin Scorsese. The movie tells the fictionalized story of Bertha Thomson (Barbara Hershey), loosely based on the Depression-era book "Sister of the Road", by Ben L. Reitman. Bertha travels the rails after the death of her father in a crop dusting accident and falls in love with Big Bill Shelley (David Carradine), a union organizer for railroad employees. After he is jailed for his organizing activities, Bertha breaks him out with the help of a con man named Rake Brown (Barry Primus). With Big Bill's cellmate Von (Bernie Casey), the four form a sort of ragtag criminal gang, eventually becoming folk heroes after donating their share of a railroad heist to the union cause. Although this film was obviously intended as an exploitation effort meant to capitalize on the success of "Bonnie and Clyde," Scorsese was able to take the film beyond its B-movie conventions.

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