There Was a Crooked Man... (1970)

There Was a Crooked Man... (1970)
  • 3977
  • R
  • Genre: Western
  • Release year: 1970 ()
  • Running time: 126 min
  • Original Title: There Was a Crooked Man...
  • Voted: 3977

Charm, intelligence and success in criminal career doesn't prevent Paris Pitman Jr. to start doing ten years in prison, in the middle of the Arizona desert. However, those years should pass quickly because of a $500,000 loot previously stashed away. New idealistic warden would only make Pitman think of getting his fortune even sooner. He starts to manipulate everyone to achieve his goal.

1Kirk DouglasParis Pitman, Jr.
2Henry FondaWoodward W. Lopeman
3Hume CronynDudley Whinner
4Warren OatesFloyd Moon
  • Amateur hour though Douglas and Fonda are as great as can be expected by 4

    Sadly, this movie is very much a product of its era. Released in 1970 at a time when many films lacked the seriousness and focus of earlier eras.

    Douglas and Fonda are great but this is a major letdown by Mankiewicz.

    The movie is supposed to be a comedy with a Good, the Bad and the Ugly feeling but none of it is believable.

    The whole thing is cheesy and campy from the music to the script and all the way to the finale.

    Burgess Meredith is wasted.

    If it wasn't for Fonda and Douglas I would have given this a 1.

  • CineTurd by 1

    It's a shame so many great names are associated with this god-awful movie. Typical of so many other movies made in the late 60's - early 70's, it's plagued by music that is painful to the ears, sets that look cheap and are unrealistically lit, and poor acting. I love westerns, I loved Kirk Douglas and Henry Fonda, but not this waste of time.Give it a pass.

  • Kirk Douglas' 'The Good, the Bad & the Ugly" 2 out of 3 is BAD! by 2

    Wow, caught this wildly unbalanced "crapterpiece" on basic cable and could not believe how times have changed, you could never make this today - and why would you want to? This movie is in a lower class by itself. The killing here is random and wimpy, nobody seems bothered at all as people get murdered left and right with no affect. I understand this is trying to be a comedy, but you'll find none blacker. Kirk Douglas role basically takes Newman's character from Cool Hand Luke and removes everything likable or charming from it. Henry Fonda is as wooden as a wagon wheel and the rest of the cast does their best to clean up the mess. Racism, sexism, homosexuality, rape, robbery, murder - it's all here and you don't care at all. And I can't help but bitch about the score, which was perhaps the worst and most inappropriate of any Western, maybe any movie! Imagine a contemporary 70s style urban soundtrack from a Gene Wilder film or a Mel Brooks feature and you get the idea. Ugh - even basic cable could do better.

  • " Man reaps what he sows and no one sows better than thee " by 9

    The direction for this film owes it's life to Joseph L. Mankiewicz who guides this clever Western movie to it's eventual and Classic end. It's a great story dealing with the weakness in every man. " There was a Crooked Man " also deals with Life's opportunity for good and evil. The story centers it's sights on Paris Pitman (Kirk Douglas), Jr. a thieving conniving, unscrupulous con and sneaky gunman who is fortunately sent to a territorial prison where he collects a motley group of Convicts whom he persuade to join him in a grand escape. While at the prison, he is watched by Woodward W. Lopeman (Henry Fonda) the new prison warden who suspects that Pitman is much too clever to remain behind bars without attempting to escape. The movie is well directed and the prison convicts are notable actors which are a who's-who of talented Thespians who are easily recognizable. They include Hume Cronyn, Warren Oates, Burgess Meredith, John Randolph, Arthur O'Connell, Martin Gabel, Alan Hale Jr. and Victor French. Together they create a story which is interesting and well worth the title of Classic. Easily enjoyed and hardily recommended. ****

  • Very good but also a big "edgy" and adult by 7

    Kirk Douglas plays a very amoral and scheming bandit. For a while, this lifestyle pays off until he is ultimately captured and placed in an awful prison in the middle of the desert. At first, this is a real tough stay for Kirk as the warden is a greedy cuss and he tries to abuse Kirk into revealing where he hid $500,000 in stolen loot. But, after the warden is killed, a new guy takes over (Henry Fonda) and he and Douglas develop a certain level of respect for each other--all the while Kirk is planning his escape. As for Fonda and his motivation for befriending Kirk goes, this is all very vague until very late in the film--and I think this made for a better film.

    In addition to these two terrific actors, there are some wonderful supporting performances--especially by Hume Cronin and John Randolph who seemed an awful lot like a married couple! About the only negatives were a few places where the script seemed ridiculous (such as the escape from the prison--they took their time and it sure looked too easy).

    I enjoyed this Kirk Douglas film quite a bit and I was torn between giving it a 7 and an 8. My final decision to give it a 7 was because some of the nudity and language seemed rather gratuitous and was inserted less for artistic reasons than to satisfy the new 1960s and 70s morality. There are just a few too many butts and breasts to make it a good bet for most kids--and it's a shame, because otherwise it's a dandy film.

1Harry Stradling Jr.cinematographer
2Charles Strousecomposer
3Joseph L. Mankiewiczdirector
4Gene Milfordeditor
5David Newmanwriter
6Robert Bentonwriter