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There Was a Crooked Man... (1970)

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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:

THE CROOKED BUNCH...locked in a living hell-hole...it took the crooked man to handle them...even if he had to kill them to do it! 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 »
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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

Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz suffered a back injury at his home during the production, missed two days of work, and returned to direct from a motorized wheelchair with four weeks of shooting remaining. See more »

Goofs

After escaping from prison, Pitman visits the widow Bullard and leaves the prison mule in her corral and takes a horse. After being bitten in the neck by the snake and dying, the warden takes his body back on the horse he rode, which now is a mule again. See more »

Quotes

Paris Pittman Jr.: [Entering with a mask intending to rob the family] Ah, nothing like fried chicken while it's still hot and crispy! So the quicker you open that safe and give us the money, the quicker you can get back to that tasty-looking chicken.
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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

Referenced in What's My Line?: Burgess Meredith (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

There Was A Crooked Man...
By Charles Strouse and Lee Adams
Sung by Trini López
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very good but also a big "edgy" and adult
1 September 2007 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Kirk Douglas plays a very amoral and scheming bandit. For a while, this lifestyle pays off until he is ultimately captured and placed in an awful prison in the middle of the desert. At first, this is a real tough stay for Kirk as the warden is a greedy cuss and he tries to abuse Kirk into revealing where he hid $500,000 in stolen loot. But, after the warden is killed, a new guy takes over (Henry Fonda) and he and Douglas develop a certain level of respect for each other--all the while Kirk is planning his escape. As for Fonda and his motivation for befriending Kirk goes, this is all very vague until very late in the film--and I think this made for a better film.

In addition to these two terrific actors, there are some wonderful supporting performances--especially by Hume Cronin and John Randolph who seemed an awful lot like a married couple! About the only negatives were a few places where the script seemed ridiculous (such as the escape from the prison--they took their time and it sure looked too easy).

I enjoyed this Kirk Douglas film quite a bit and I was torn between giving it a 7 and an 8. My final decision to give it a 7 was because some of the nudity and language seemed rather gratuitous and was inserted less for artistic reasons than to satisfy the new 1960s and 70s morality. There are just a few too many butts and breasts to make it a good bet for most kids--and it's a shame, because otherwise it's a dandy film.


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