Review: ‘Boxcar Bertha’

Whatever its intentions, Boxcar Bertha is not much more than an excuse to slaughter a lot of people. Barbara Hershey stars in title role as a Depression wanderer. The Roger Corman production, shot on an austere budget in Arkansas area, is routinely directed by Martin Scorsese.

Whatever its intentions, Boxcar Bertha is not much more than an excuse to slaughter a lot of people. Barbara Hershey stars in title role as a Depression wanderer. The Roger Corman production, shot on an austere budget in Arkansas area, is routinely directed by Martin Scorsese.

Joyce H. Corrington and John William Corrington adapted Sister of the Road, an autobiog by Boxcar Bertha Thompson. Hershey is introduced as a rural girl whose father dies in an unsafe airplane. She is upset, naturally, and suddenly begins a life of vagrancy.

Performances are dull. Whatever sociological, political or dramatic motivations may once have existed in the story have been ruthlessly stripped from the plot, leaving all characters bereft of empathy or sympathy. There’s hardly a pretense toward justifying the carnage.

Boxcar Bertha

Production

American International. Director Martin Scorsese; Producer Roger Corman; Screenplay Joyce H. Corrington, John William Corrington; Camera John Stephens; Editor Buzz Feitshans; Music Gib Guilbeau, Thad Maxwell

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1972. Running time: 88 MIN.

With

Barbara Hershey David Carradine Barry Primus Bernie Casey John Carradine
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