Tuesday, November 28, 2017

McCabe and Mrs. Miller

I finally got around to watching McCabe and Mrs. Miller in its entirety off my DVR. The movie is available on DVD and Blu-ray, having been put out by the Criterion Collection about a year ago.

The movie starts off with John McCabe (Warren Beatty) showing up in a dark mining town in Washington state. McCabe is a professional gambler and a bit of a blowhard. There are rumors that he's a gunslinger who killed a man, and he's not about to let them die. He's got plans to set up shop in this town, big plans. He wants to build a competing saloon, and even bring in prostitutes for a bordello. This even though he really doesn't know the first thing about it, picking up a couple of cheap hookers.

He's in luck, though, as Mrs. Miller (Julie Christie) shows up. She's run a bordello before, and she also knows all the practical things about women that a man just wouldn't know. She comes up with the idea that she'll run the place for McCabe, and the two will split the revenues. McCabe isn't necessarily happy about it, but he eventually accepts. It doesn't help that Mrs. Miller his hot, in his mind.

The business becomes successful, succesful enough to attract interest from outside. A big mining company sends in two men to offer a buyout to McCabe, one that would be fairly lucrative. But partly thanks to McCabe's hubris, and partly because he seems happy with his current position in life, he turns the big company down. They decide that if they can't buy McCabe out, they'll force him out.

Most of the reviews of McCabe and Mrs. Miller that I've read are much more positive than I would be. I found the movie to be extremely slow paced, without much seeming to happen for long stretches. There's also the 70s cinematography with its pointless zooms that I've never appreciated. And to be honest, I didn't particularly care for either of the main characters.

Still, you should probably judge for yourself. In that regard, it's a bit of a shame that the Criterion Collection discs are always pricier than run of the mill disks.

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