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There Was a Crooked Man... (1970)

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3:00 | Trailer
A charming but totally ruthless criminal is sent to a remote Arizona prison. He enlists the help of his cellmates in an escape attempt with the promise of sharing his hidden loot.
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kirk Douglas ... Paris Pitman, Jr.
Henry Fonda ... Woodward W. Lopeman
Hume Cronyn ... Dudley Whinner
Warren Oates ... Floyd Moon
Burgess Meredith ... The Missouri Kid
John Randolph ... Cyrus McNutt
Lee Grant ... Mrs. Bullard
Arthur O'Connell ... Mr. Lomax
Martin Gabel ... Warden LeGoff
Michael Blodgett ... Coy Cavendish
C.K. Yang C.K. Yang ... Ah-Ping
Alan Hale Jr. ... Tobaccy (as Alan Hale)
Victor French ... Whiskey
Claudia McNeil ... Madam
Bert Freed ... Skinner
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Storyline

Charm, intelligence and success in criminal career doesn't prevent Paris Pitman Jr. to start doing ten years in prison, in the middle of the Arizona desert. However, those years should pass quickly because of a $500,000 loot previously stashed away. New idealistic warden would only make Pitman think of getting his fortune even sooner. He starts to manipulate everyone to achieve his goal. Written by Dragan Antulov <dragan.antulov@altbbs.fido.hr>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Once upon a time, there was a crooked man. When he was good, he was very, very good. And when he was bad, it was murder... See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Western

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

19 September 1970 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

There Was a Crooked Man... See more »

Filming Locations:

Mojave Desert, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$15,160
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Twelve rattlesnakes were used for a key scene but failed to hiss on cue. The hissing had to be dubbed in during post-production. See more »

Goofs

The angel that Whinner draws on the wall of their cell looks slightly different at the end of the scene than the beginning. See more »

Quotes

Cyrus McNutt: They're killing me by inches, Dudley!
Dudley Whinner: You'll outlive us all. You got a lot of inches.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A scene was shot where Miss Jessie Brundidge runs away from the prison completely naked, after having had her clothes torn off piece by piece over the course of the prison riot. Although two images from the shooting of this scene exist, proving that it was indeed shot, it was never a part of the final, finished film for U.S. release, and nor was it ever reinstated for either the VHS or, later, DVD release of the film. Whether the scene was ever added to any of the international releases of the film, however, is unknown. See more »

Connections

Edited into La classe américaine (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Abide with Me
(uncredited)
Word by Henry F. Lyte (1847)
Music by William Monk 1861
Version sung by Hume Cronyn.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Judgment of Paris
14 February 2006 | by theowinthropSee all my reviews

This is an interesting black comedy, from Joseph Mankiewicz, about the gullibility of man, and how greed can corrupt anyone. Henry Fonda is a lawman, in typical Fonda-style (before WARLOCK and the spaghetti westerns changed his image). He is a firm support for law and order. However, he has been shot and left lame by Warren Oates, a drunken outlaw. He may have to retire as a result sooner than he expected.

At the start of the film we watch how Kirk Douglas (Paris Pitman) has robbed the home of Arthur O'Connor with his gang. They are killed off in one way or another. Pitman escapes with the money, and hides it in a hole full of rattlesnakes. But later he is captured. Pitman is sent to territorial prison, where he meets Oates, Burgess Meredith (as the legendary Missouri Kid), Hume Cronym and John Randolph (a pair of swindlers who are also a gay couple), and others. The warden is Martin Gabel, who soon makes it clear that if Douglas wants to be out sooner he needs the warden as a partner. But in a riot Gabel is killed, and Fonda is appointed the new warden.

Fonda tries to reform the prison, improving facilities and setting up an honor system. Douglas, the total cynic, sneers at all this, and makes his own plans. He is not going to rot for two decades or so in prison while a fortune awaits for him. So he starts plotting to get out, and Fonda keeps watching to counter his plotting.

I won't add anything else, but in the end one wonders if Paris Pitman's view of mankind is the truth of us all or not. The film has wonderful sharp comedy, including the comic put-downs of Cronyn when undercutting the pompous Randolph, and when one sees scenes like Burgess Meredith taking his first bath. I strongly recommend this film to fans of unusual westerns.


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