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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The very best kind of movie--as good as it gets
Put together Robert Altman, Warren Beatty, and Julie Christie 30 years ago and you have an excellent piece of work. This is a classic tragedy, and colors, lighting, scenery, behavior of chatacters, all mingle to act out a story whose end is predicted in the opening scenes by the singer in the background. The conclusion comes inexorably, always foreshadowed by the ballad...
Published on July 29 2002 by Jane Z. Hinsdale

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What's all the fuss?
Thirty years ago this film left me feeling cold and empty, but after seeing these five star reviews I decided to give it another chance. I was ready to admit that perhaps I had missed something in my youthful days. No such luck. This film did not age gracefully. I am a great fan of Leonard Cohen but thirty years ago he lacked the deep somber tones he does so well today...
Published on Nov. 4 2001


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The very best kind of movie--as good as it gets, July 29 2002
By 
This review is from: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (DVD)
Put together Robert Altman, Warren Beatty, and Julie Christie 30 years ago and you have an excellent piece of work. This is a classic tragedy, and colors, lighting, scenery, behavior of chatacters, all mingle to act out a story whose end is predicted in the opening scenes by the singer in the background. The conclusion comes inexorably, always foreshadowed by the ballad in the background. In between we have vices, beauty, nearly everything from the human condition. Don't miss this beautiful, tragic story of greed, love, and hopelessness.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Only a Handful of Great Westerns & This Is One of Them!, July 3 2002
This review is from: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (DVD)
"Red River" and "Unforgiven" top my list of the greatest Westerns ever made. Right behind those classics is this film. Director Robert Altman gives us the West as it probably really was if you can peel back the stuff of myth and legend. Warren Beatty and Julie Christie play the hardly heroic leads who are trying to reinvent themselves in the West out of lack of other choices. Beatty is a very flawed, somewhat cowardly entrepreneur while Christie is a madam for the local prostitutes, potentially a much better entrepreneur, albeit a bit of a hop head. They have an affair of sorts that is about the best this twosome can ever hope to have and that's not saying much. After you experience living in this hard scrabble, barely standing town, you will be so glad you were not a hearty pioneer! I know I am. There is nothing glamorous or romantic about this existence in the least and Altman does not flinch from the task of laying before us the unvarnished West. Beatty and Christie also do not flinch from playing these disreputable founders of the Old West.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Money and pain....pain, pain, pain......., April 13 2001
By 
This review is from: Mccabe and Mrs. Miller (VHS Tape)
This is first class film-making all the way.
The West of Robert Altman (Pacific Northwest more precisely) is not the the usual West of Hollywood. Peopled by poor working stiffs & idiots at the mercy of hustlers, gamblers, killers and whores, and inevitably, by politicians & big business in the form of the quietly rapacious Railroad, it is wet, nasty, dirty, and harsh.
A small-time gambler McCabe (Beatty) becomes an entrepenuer (saloon & brothel) in the soggy and filthy mining town of Presbyterian with the aid of a sharp and clever English madam (Christie) only to have his newfound prosperity & "status" threatened by a ruthless larger enterprise. This is a true American story. Not the only American story, but just as valid as any others.
Filmed in real rain and real snow on location, this film just has lots and lots of good stuff. The plight of the cowboy on the bridge (Keith Carradine) facing a psychotic baby-faced gunslinger, McCabe's desperate battle in the snow, the overlapping dialogue with very funny throw-away lines, the appropriate use of Leonard Cohen's songs, and the beautiful cinematography. It is a rich film that only improves on multiple viewings.
This movie says more about the underlying dark side of the conquest of the American West than Cimino's Heaven's Gate did in half the time and probably 1/10th of the budget. Of course, that is the difference between a would-be "artiste" and a guy who makes movies that turn out to be art.
The quality of the VHS is only fair. This film cries out for DVD. But, if this is the only way to see it....see it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sad Spellbinder, A Beautiful Film!, July 10 2000
By 
Bertin Ramirez "justareviewer" (San Ysidro, California United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mccabe and Mrs. Miller (VHS Tape)
The deglamorization of the western has never been made so beautifully. One of the sadest films ever made. Altman has basically no compassion for his characters, that is the reason we care so much about them. Warren Beatty gives probably his best performance as the gambler McCabe who transforms a small mining town into a busy boomtown. Julie Christie is also excellent as the business wise hooker that brings 'high class girls' to the town. What make this one unique are the beautiful landscapes that are expertly captured by the masterful cinematography, the haunting and unforgettable Leonard Cohen songs, and powerhouse direction by Altman who brings us richly textured characters that provide a breathtaking and unforgettable cinematic experience. The film also features one of the saddest deaths in Western history, young cocky Keith Carradine is tricked by a ruthless gunslinger and meats his death on that fatal bridge. The last scenes in the snow storm where the antihero McCabe is put into a heroic position is unbearably poignant and unbelievably beautiful. A fascinating film that has a lot to offer. From a scale of 1-10 I give this film a 9!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Altman at his best......., June 9 2000
By 
This review is from: Mccabe and Mrs. Miller (VHS Tape)
Masterful character study manages a rare feat: demystifying the West without resorting to heavy-handedness and obvious targets. While the overall soundness of expansion is questioned, Altman is far more interested in the dynamics of community and how individualism is often sacrificed in the name of "progress." McCabe, played by Warren Beatty in what might be his best performance, is a vintage anti-hero; self-absorbed, bumbling, deluded, and concerned only with his own interests. Mrs. Miller, played wonderfully by Julie Christie, manages to evade cliché at every turn, never resorting to a "heart-of-gold" status and always keeping her eye on the bottom line. Their relationship, central to Altman's vision, gives us a dirty, unglamorous frontier, full of mindless violence, decay, and prostitution; again not the Hollywood version, but rather as it most likely was (and is). McCabe & Mrs. Miller co-exist not as friends or lovers, but rather as a business alliance, reinforcing Altman's belief that communities come together not out of a sense of sentiment or loving connection, but rather to build industry and frankly, make money. Once again, Altman uses overlapping dialogue, muffled conversations, and music (the soundtrack consists solely of sad Leonard Cohen songs) to convey character and the inability of people to engage in meaningful interactions. As McCabe wanders in a blizzard near the end of the film attempting to evade death at the hands of hired guns, members of the community he helped build remain oblivious to his plight as they instead focus on a burning church. Hopeless, alone, and facing a meaningless death, we are again put face to face with the stark truth provided by Altman. In the Old West, like any other historical era or region, there are no last-minute heroics or gentlemen atop white horses, only the sounds of the pipe dreamers and individuals gasping their last breaths as the wheels of capital grind on.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the BEST Films Ever Made, June 3 2000
By 
Aaron (Chicago, Illinois USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mccabe and Mrs. Miller (VHS Tape)
McCabe and Mrs. Miller is yet another brillant work from Robert Altman who along with Scorsese ranks as the two greatest filmmakers America has produced. Next to "Nashville", this is Altman's best film. One of Altman's devices is to take an established genre of filmmaking and turn it completely inside out and reexamine it. Here, Altman has made a Western (or is is an Anti-Western)like no other. This neither looks nor feels like any other film I've seen. Warren Beatty gives the performance of his career here(you would'nt know he and Altman were at odds the entire shoot) and I will forever remember the lovely Julie Christie as Mrs. Miller, the tough talking shrewd and business smart prostitute. Altman's sensational style of filmmaking perfectly suits the material, his remarkable use of overlapping dialogue demands multiple viewings, and Vilmos Zsigmond's incredible, ususual cinematography is endlessly fascinating to look at. And ,as with most of Altman's work, one can interpet the film a number of ways. Is it a tough look at achieving the American Dream, or is it a study of American frontierism/individualism vs. community/democracy? Is it (as one previous reviewer commented)an indictment of Capitalism and a look at the way Big Business encroached on the frontier and a simple way of life. Is it a study of loneliness and heroism? The answer is yes to all of these. To top it off, Altman's use of Leonard Cohen's songs to accompany the film adds to the overall sense of melancholy, it fits it beautifully. If I sound like I'm gushing, I am, great films have that effect. See this now!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Altman's best, May 19 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Mccabe and Mrs. Miller (VHS Tape)
I generally hate thinly veiled indictments of capitalism, which is of course the favorite theme of the major hippie filmmakers -- and certainly a favorite topic of film critics feeling the need to prove they went to college.
But this movie looks and feels so genuine that I will forgive its dime-store Marxism and simply enjoy the groundbreaking use of overlapping sound; the authentic frontier town recreation; the wonderfully grubby-looking extras; the unusually filtered cinematography; and the best film performance Warren Beatty has ever given or ever will give.
Altman's even manages to make use of the songs of Leonard Cohen. To be frank, Cohen is pretty hard to take; he is in fact the most pretentious singer-songwriter of the last thirty years. (That's quite a claim, I realize -- and yes, I'm familiar with Harry Chapin.) But Altman manages to find images resonant enough to stand up underneath Cohen's bombast, even making it sound appropriate.
Having read a little about the, um, undisciplined way that Altman makes movies (not to mention his clashes with Beatty), it seems unbelievable that this turned out so well. But in fact it's Altman's best film, one of the better films of the 70's and perhaps, heaven forbid, a masterpiece.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Western, A Great Deconstruction, A Great Film, July 13 2000
By 
Nab8la (Lawrence, Kansas) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mccabe and Mrs. Miller (VHS Tape)
This is one of my favorite Altman films (Vincent & Theo, The Player, The Long Good-Bye, and Short Cuts round out the top 5). He takes the Western--a great American genre, but an oft-hackneyed one--and injects new blood into its withered old veins. Gone are the trademarks of the old Western, many of which simply transplanted bourgeoise America onto the Plains: the setting is cold, wet, snowy, green and mountainous as much of the west was and is--not flat, dry, still and khaki-colored; the dialogue is common, vulgar and overlapping--not genteel and well-schooled; the people are crude, dirty and uneducated--not clean and prim; the hero is not a hero at all, not brave and skilled at gunplay--in fact, not everyone owns a gun; etc. etc. etc. Altman recreates the Western in this brilliant tale of greed, cowardice, power, cruelty, progress, and the calculus of addiction. Warren Beatty, Julie Christy and the rest of the cast are outstanding.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece from the 70s' greatest director., April 18 2001
This review is from: Mccabe and Mrs. Miller (VHS Tape)
This is generally called an 'anti' Western, in the way Altman's other films are anti-detective films, anti-war films etc. But that sounds so negative. Altman does destroy a load of hoary macho myths, but he puts something incredibly beautiful in its place - a vivid, teeming picture of a place, people, time and culture. His entrepreneur/gunslinger and tart-with-a-heart do exist as negative versions of their usual film types, but they are also endearing, movingly inarticulate ordinary people struggling to fulfil those roles, especially as played by Beatty (very funny and sympathetic) and Christie. The film's scrupulous realism clashes fruitfully with Altman's distracting camerawork, simultaneously alerting and misleading us to crucial and irrelevant information. In other words, treating his audience like they have a brain - some people did that 30 years ago.
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5.0 out of 5 stars John C., March 16 2002
By 
john caulfield (Old Bridge, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (DVD)
McCabe and Mrs. Miller, in the opinion of this observer, is among the 10 best films made in the United States in the second half of the 20th century. There is a subtlety to this film that is unlike any other made during this most fertile period of American cinema. The cinematography (by the great Vilmos Zsigmond), sound editing, and - most important ly- acting are nonpareil, especially the performances of Julie Christie and John Schuck. The film established Robert Altman as a director and writer to be reckoned with. The experience of watching this film - even on tape and DVD - is blissful, and reminds one of the potential that American cinema presented between 1967-1975, before "Jaws' and "Star Wars" altered the economic landscape.
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McCabe & Mrs. Miller
McCabe & Mrs. Miller by Robert Altman (DVD - 2002)
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