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McCabe & Mrs. Miller

4.4 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Rene Auberjonois, William Devane, John Schuck
  • Directors: Robert Altman
  • Writers: Robert Altman, Brian McKay, Edmund Naughton
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Japanese
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Warner Bros. Home Video
  • Release Date: June 4 2002
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B000063K2Q
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #31,921 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

With winnings from a small-time card hustle, McCabe buys three girls and sets up a makeshift whorehouse and casino. A madame talks him into backing a real bordello complete with professionals from Seattle.
Genre: Westerns
Rating: R
Release Date: 4-JUN-2002
Media Type: DVD

Amazon.ca

Iconoclastic director Robert Altman (Nashville, M.A.S.H.), deconstructs and demythologizes Hollywood's typically romantic vision of the Old West in this haunting, breathtaking masterpiece. A stranger, McCabe (Warren Beatty's best performance), the film's nonheroic protagonist, rides into a dead northwest mountain town (to the mournful sounds of Leonard Cohen), possessing ambitious entrepreneurial dreams of expansion. As the town grows, Mrs. Miller (Julie Christie's finest role, as well), a tough madam, arrives and convinces McCabe to join her in a partnership. Neither are typical Western archetypes: McCabe's an insecure braggart, bumbling lover, and horrible businessman, while Mrs. Miller, hardly a whore with a heart of gold, favors her opium pipe to her partner's romantic advances. Altman, meanwhile, buries these central characters within the town's complex, richly detailed tapestry of characters, preferring to eavesdrop on their overlapping conversations and study the bleak, harsh conditions of their lifestyles. At its core, the film addresses the sacrifices of individualism needed in order to build a community, an American concept that the independent Altman views with skeptical irony. The inevitable final shoot-out underscores the theme. Because McCabe refuses to sell the town he built to a corporation, hired bounty hunters are sent. Instead of a showdown at high noon, the finale--one of Altman's most beautiful set pieces--takes place in the snow, guerilla warfare style. As McCabe runs and hides for his life, the town he created preoccupies itself with saving a burning church instead of their creator, while Mrs. Miller, stoned and grinning, detaches herself from either concern. Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond captures the town's brutal textures in luminous Cinemascope, which, sadly, is transformed into ugly murk on the nonletterboxed video version. Widescreen laser discs are available, however. --Dave McCoy --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is definitely not one of the 'spaghetti western', John Wayne, Magnificent Seven types of westerns. But is a fairly accurate cut of a authentic frontier mining town (Which Altman and crew built entirely from scratch to historical specs!) Beatty is good as the enterprising John McCabe, and Christie is a hoot as the 'madame' Mrs. Miller. Some funny moments, but by and large a truthful and adult look at frontier living, and 'the business of sin' in order to make a town flourish. And when that business of sin does start to flourish, 'hostile takeovers' are inevitable. But all in all, I found this movie a little slow and convoluted in trying to follow. Part of the intrigue I suppose, but weakened it somewhat for me as well. And definitely don't expect the Lone Ranger or The Cisco Kid to save the day and ride off into the sunset with his belle at the end of this film either. To sum it up in a word = 'pitiful'. But it's a pity that will sure stick with the viewer in a good and lasting way. And too, I like Altman's 'Quintet' for some strange reason. There's something about how Altman get's actors to realize the games they're playing in his movies, and the subtle realization what the stakes really are. As detailed and slow and mysterious as Altman movies can be, I think it's the fact that many can relate to the characters in them. How a hustler can fall for a 'madame' that's clearly 10 times better at the business game than he, though my fail by her own vices as much as he in the end for McCabe And Mrs. Miller. To 'sleeping with the enemy' and the sudden and quick satisfaction of killing them and being lucky to survive for the next natural challenges and human foes that awaits Redstone in Quintet. Altman is unorthodox, un-revealing, and unapologetic with his movies. But it's all there in them - I think. Truly lasting, that's for sure.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
McCabe and Mrs. Miller illuminates (and debunks) what life was like on the frontier in the late 1800s-early 1900s. Interwoven with songs by Leonard Cohen's (which seem like they were written for the movie), this film shows Warren Beatty at his best in addition to another outstanding performance by Julie Christie. It's Robert Altman's (director) at his best!
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Format: VHS Tape
A beautiful tone poem of a film. The story is a bit thin, but the cinematography, the Leonard Cohen songs, the style of the acting creates a western unlike any other, at once surreal and dreamlike, and yet somehow also hyper-real, as though we were eavesdropping through history. The first half has an intentionally meandering feel, that tightens ever more to a terrifically tense climax. This is a film much more about tone, mood, and feeling than story or even character. Sadly the DVD transfer of this amazing looking film is mediocre at best. If ever a film begged for the Criterion treatment or Blu-ray, or both, this is it.

What's even worse is that the DVD isn't even available at Amazon.ca! However it is on the US Amazon. As much as it's an imperfect transfer, that's still wildly preferable to an aging VHS tape!
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I will keep this short since so much has already been said, but I was recently making my own lists and realized that this film is in my all time top 5. This is the film where style MEETS substance, or perhaps where style DETERMINES substance.

Altman is arguably the most important American director after Welles. His use of panorama and flow---every tv show today uses Altman's flow through technique---make you want to watch this film over and over. Once for the story, once just to appreciate his fluid camera motion, once to appreciate how he maintains large groups and then focuses on one person in the group, and once again to watch how it all works.

Even Altman's failures, and he had his share of those, are still interesting to watch. I would rather watch a bad Altman film than films by most other directors, and that especially means directors like Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese, who i think are highly over rated.

But this is one of Altman's best.
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Format: VHS Tape
I saw this movie in the theatre many years ago, my first exposure to Robert Altman's fluid style. The movie is a portrait - the cinematography is beautiful, it left me with the same feelings I get while looking at great photographs. I was stunned by the dark mood the movie creates and by some of my feelings, especially my shock at the central murder scene on the bridge.

I thought Keith Carradine's role as the cowboy is the best acting in this film, and if you watch him play Bill Hickok in Deadwood, you'll hardly believe you're seeing the same actor, so great are his talents.

This movie has remained on my all-time favourites list since 1971. But you will not find "excitement" or "action" here. It's simply an exceptional portrait of a special time and place.
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Format: 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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