McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
July 1, 2024 2:17 PM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] Charismatic gambler John McCabe (Warren Beatty) arrives in a mining community and decides to open a brothel. The local residents are impressed by his confident demeanor and fast talk, but crafty prostitute Constance Miller (Julie Christie) sees through McCabe's words and realizes he isn't as sharp as he seems.

Also starring René Auberjonois, William Devane, Shelley Duvall, Keith Carradine.

Directed by Robert Altman. Screenplay by Robert Altman, Brian McKay. Based on McCabe A 1959 novel by Edmund Naughton. Produced by
David Foster, Mitchell Brower for Warner Bros. ("A Kinsey Leisure Service" the logo says, as this was during the time WB was owned by a parking lot company. ) Cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond. Edited by Louis Lombardo.

86% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on Tubi. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (7 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Altman's best film by a long shot, and quite possibly the greatest film to come out of the 1970's.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 4:36 PM on July 1 [4 favorites]

DOT... how could you not mention the excellent Leonard Cohen soundtrack?
posted by kokaku at 3:42 AM on July 2 [6 favorites]

That does deserve mention! I love Leonard Cohen.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:53 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]

I think what is hitting hard for me on this watch is how this film is conventionally a western in many ways, even as it's also about how the idea of the self-made man under capitalism is a fantasy. You're always exploiting someone or other and there's always someone coming to grind you up and take what you've made.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:34 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]

quite possibly the greatest film to come out of the 1970's

Up there, for sure; and definitely one of my top five Westerns. It's so bleak, but so human, and so beautifully made. The way the town grows, the agreements folks made to create and sustain it, along with the ensemble feel, had a huge influence on David Milch and Deadwood three decades later. See this 2006 interview with Milch by Matt Zoller Seitz, McCabe & Mr. Milch:

Milch, once a self-described “alcoholic, heroin addict and degenerate gambler,” was also taken with Altman’s depiction of intoxicants as social lubricant and emotional anaesthetic, his frank and unglamorous depiction of sex and violence and most of all, his interest in community. Central to this interest, Milch said, is Altman’s depiction of a collective human organism that derives its life force from the energy of all these distinct, eccentric, myopic individuals bustling about in pursuit of their goals, their imaginations locked in a vise-grip of illusion. When individual illusions come together around shared pleasures and beliefs, a community begins to take shape. McCabe & Mrs. Miller, said Milch, depicts how a society is built from “the piling of illusion upon illusion, and the agreement upon illusions.”
posted by mediareport at 10:50 AM on July 2 [4 favorites]

I just remember this from the theater as being really gritty and basically set where I lived and it made me very happy to live when I do and never ever to complain about flush toilets. Will have to do a rewatch as I expect there are significant details that passed right over.
posted by sammyo at 11:33 AM on July 2

I missed it when it came out but attended a screening in the early 90s, but don't think I 'got' it. Going to watch it now (it's in the Archive).
posted by Rash at 9:31 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]

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