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Boxcar Bertha

Director: Martin Scorsese Run Time: 88 min. Format: 35mm Rating: R Release Year: 1972

Starring: Barbara Hershey, David Carradine, Barry Primus, Bernie Casey, John Carradine, Victor Argo

Martin Scorsese’s second feature, a Roger Corman production replete with signature sex and violence, Boxcar Bertha is set in the Depression-era South, deep in the midst of railroad construction. Orphaned when her aviator father dies in a crash, Bertha (Barbara Hershey) rides the rails looking for kicks, eventually assembling a gang of misfits who resort to crime by necessity. Bertha’s easy smile while pulling off holdups is in contrast to her lover/co-conspirator Big Bill Shelley (David Carradine), whose motivation is a sort of protest of worker exploitation. What could have been a knock-off Bonnie and Clyde turns out to be an invigorating effort from an already-obviously talented Scorsese, containing hints of his career-spanning fascinations.