Boxcar Bolshevik Blues

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Marty Scorsese’s Boxcar Bertha is so excellent that you may forget you’re watching an exploitation movie…despite the fact that it was released by AIP and follows Roger Corman’s Great Depression outlaw picture format to the letter. This is the true story of orphaned Bertha Thompson (the captivating Barbara Hershey) based on her memoir Sister Of The Road, who survived the Depression by her wits and wiles, hopping trains and hooking up with rambling gambler Rake Brown (Barry Primus) union organizer Big Bill Shelly (David Carradine) and his pal Von Morton (Bernie Casey). Eventually they graduate from hopping trains to robbing them. It’s a treat to see David Carradine square off against his papa John, who plays railroad magnate Sartoris. If you’re a Scorsese fan you’ll obviously recognize Harry Northup (Doughboy in Taxi Driver) as the disgustingly racist deputy. “Are you sportin’, baby?”

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