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Boxcar Bertha [DVD]


Price: £4.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
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£4.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Actors: Barbara Hershey, David Carradine, Barry Primus, Bernie Casey, John Carradine
  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Writers: Ben L. Reitman, John William Corrington, Joyce Hooper Corrington
  • Producers: James H. Nicholson, Julie Corman, Roger Corman, Samuel Z. Arkoff
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 2 Aug. 2004
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00029RDU4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 34,978 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Martin Scorsese's second film traces the exploits of real-life train robber Bertha Thompson, played by Barbara Hershey. During the depression, farmgirl Bertha hits the road and meets a trade unionist (David Carradine) and his crooked friends. Soon they are ripping off the railway bosses and giving some of the spoils back to the union. Produced by Roger Corman.

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Arch Stanton on 2 Oct. 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
After an accident leaves Bertha homeless and fatherless in depression era America, the teenager goes on a road of discovery as she grows up.
Within no time at all, she has soon found prostitution, gambling, robbery and murder to be commonplace: part and parcel of everyday life whilst out on the road; and also, inevitably she meets up with 'Big' Bill Shelly. A union rabble rouser and Robin Hood type figure aiming to smash the greedy rail roads. Naturally Bertha falls for the charisma of this 'hero of the working man', but with the course of true love rarely running smoothly, it will prove to be a difficult journey...

1930s set crime/love story/bio~pic of 'Boxcar' Bertha Thompson, directed by Martin Scorsese, and produced by Roger Corman.
Hershey stars as the titular character, with her off screen partner at the time David Carradine as her lover and soul mate Shelly. Both are excellent, and I mean excellent, and are backed up by a strong cast of other (mostly) B~movie actors, all putting in a fine shift. With Bernie Casey also standing out.
Considering it's a Corman picture, the production values are reasonably high, and as one would expect from it's director, the overall tone and style of the movie, including some of the unusual photography, is very well done indeed ~ Bertha running along the side of the train at the end is a great sequence. The action coming across as quite frenzied, violent and unglamorous. The camera practically on top of the cast, when any bloodshed takes place.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Frank TALKER on 25 Feb. 2015
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Basically silly movie that uses many very good actors to less effect than should otherwise have been the case. Yet Barbara HERSHEY is fabulous in the lead role and clearly relishes the attention: She never seems to be acting and is effortlessly sensual.

The plot is fine but the lack of any thematic content makes for a less than emotional melodrama: Nineteen thirties Depression-era politics are alluded to but never properly explored. Along with various culture clashes - Northern US Whites versus Southern; Black versus White - this could have been a better movie with more vivid characters.

The film’s modish violence; following in the wake of the earlier and better Bonnie & Clyde; makes the reasons for its being made clear. Nevertheless, it never outstays its welcome, the actors are engaging and they look like they are enjoying themselves: Rather jolly, exploitation fun.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful By F. Panin on 14 Aug. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I watched this movie just after David Carradine's interpretation as Woody Guthrie in "Bound for glory", and I found many points in common between the two: hobos, train escapes, the unions, poor people struggling for their rights, landscapes. Maybe because of this, I do not find that the central role - beautifully played by Barbara hershey - is Bertha, as suggested by Amazon's review. I'd rather say it is shared with Carradine's role.
Again, I do not find that this is a simple story of train robbers and criminals - there is much more. Plus, the direction by Martin Scorsese leaves an imprint. This explains my rather high rating.
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6 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mr Viewer on 5 July 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is 100% undiluted Hollywood crud. Not worthy of further comment except to reach minimum words. Daft clean costumes, daft script, daft plot, daft action, daft acting. What a bore.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 26 reviews
62 of 69 people found the following review helpful
Beware this DVD 22 Jun. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This is the cut and censoured version of that movie. Wait for the unrated version.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Pulp Nonfiction 7 Mar. 2005
By different drummer 63 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Like many talented young U.S. directors of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, Martin Scorsese got a big break from American International Pictures studios. This was in the days of drive-in movies and so-called "B" pictures, meaning that something like Boxcar Bertha would be secondary to whatever feature attraction was playing. AIP directors worked on a strict schedule, small budget, and were required to goose things along with softcore sex and bright red violence. No surprise, Scorsese delivered, and found ways to punch it up with his trademark kinetic editing style. He also knew how to get solid performances, even back then. Barry Primus, Bernie Casey, and John Carradine shine here; Barbara Hershey and David Carradine aren't so great or convincing. The movie, like Bonnie And Clyde six years earlier, is about contemporary rather than past times, even though it's set in the 30s. Hershey and Carradine are early 70s free lovers and free spirits, not really nice folks but much more moral than their foes in banking and legal institutions. The film is uneven, but just when you find your attention drifting, Scorsese makes his presence felt with imaginative, original, playful images and sequences. For example, pay close attention to the scene in which Carradine goes to his union office with stolen money, and see how much effort Scorsese puts into images that other directors would blow off. The DVD looks great, a huge improvement over cruddy, pan and scan VHS. No extras except for the original trailer, which is a treat: lots of it is shot through bright colored tinted lenses, taking you back to 70s schlock at its finest. Based on a true story, this is pulp NON fiction; takes its place alongside After Hours, King of Comedy, Kundun, Age of Innocence, and Bringing out the Dead as an uneven, underappreciated Scorsese gem--not as consistently great as his big movies, but plenty of interesting moments and a chance to see the master in training before he moved up to self-consciously artful films.
23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Barbara Hershey!!!! 25 May 2004
By Bindy Sue Frønkünschtein - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Produced by Roger Corman and directed by Martin Scorsese, BOXCAR BERTHA is a romp through the deep south of the great depression. Bertha (Barbara Hershey) is young, beautiful, and not at all afraid of taking her clothes off! This is good, since she's naked a lot in this movie! Plot?? Well, Bertha's dad is killed in an airplane accident, sending Bertha on an adventure of boxcar jumping, bankrobbing, murder, prison escapes, trainrobbing, prostitution, and lots of laughs. Bertha is accompanied by Big Bill Shelly (David Carradine) and two other cohorts played by Barry Primus and Bernie Casey. Did I mention Bertha's lack of clothing? It just keeps flying off for some reason! Anyway, Bertha and her gang decide to take down an evil railroad baron (played nastily by John Carradine), not realizing just how evil he really is. This leads to the gang's downfall. The finale is pure savage mayhem and revenge! Worth a peek. Oh, and Bertha spends a great deal of time in her birthday suit too...
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Cult classic of depression-era hippie turned outlaw 8 May 2010
By Robert J. Crawford - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This is a very early Scorsese effort, so definitely worth a viewing. Indeed, it is a funny disjointed story with the young Barbara Hershey - a flower child from acting royalty - and David Carradine in his prime. Orphaned, she wanders around via train hopping and has a series of misadventures, finding love with a union activist and blithely blundering into crime and prostitution as if it were a game. Hershey kind of acts like a stoned out 60s bimbo, though in fact the aimlessness and subtle despair of her character signals the debut of a very talented actress. She is also at the height of her beauty, truly stunning. The depression era of poverty, chaos, and racism is evoked well, including railroad goon squads, chain gangs, and obscure union halls full of "reds".

Unfortunately, the film is choppy, clearly a low-budget affair in spite of some notable scenes. I remember seeing pix from it in Playboy when it came out, touting the real-life romance that started between Carradine and Hershey. I would not recommend buying this for casual viewers, but rather renting it - you won't want to review it often but it is fun to have if you are collector.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Boxcar Bertha a Great Movie 27 Jan. 2010
By Rocky M - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Boxcar Bertha, based on the true story of "Boxcar" Bertha Thompson, features a dynamic young cast. Set in the Great Depression, this move shows, if somewhat romanticized, life of the southern railroad unionizer and an young orphan girl who fall in love. And how the unionizer and the girl, along with two other cronies turn to petty crime to survive. The climatic ending must be seen to be believed. Also if you are interested in steam era railroading, there are plenty of steam locomotive and train scenes to satisfy you. Not to mention the 24 year old Barbara Hershey is hot.
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