Cinema Mishmash

A personal and random look at movies, past and present

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McCabe & Mrs. Miller

October 8th, 2006 · No Comments

Altman the CowboyRobert Altman’s 1971 gritty frontier opus, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, is deemed among those films to see before you die. (I think it is also Richard Roeper’s favorite film, if that does anything for you.) Altman’s deft touch with ensemble is certainly on display here, as he coordinates an impressive cast led by Julie Christie and Warren Beatty. Christie’s frontier madam Mrs. Miller literally rolls into town and foists herself into a business partnership with Beatty’s Jon McCabe, a businessman with a sketchy past. Although McCabe’s enigmatic and conflicted nature is meant to be a compelling part of this story, there is something about Beatty’s performance that makes the character pathetic in a truly unsatisfying way. That gripe notwithstanding, the film’s utterly convincing creation of the brutal (and occasionally tender) world of the American frontier is a tremendous achievement. However, if a dying person had enough time to only watch either this film or the first season of Deadwood, I am afraid I might sell this classic down the blood-stained river.

Tags: Director · Drama · Ensemble · Romance

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