A PERFECT MARRIAGE

there was a crooked man

In many ways the “marriage” of Hume Cronyn and John Randolph in director Joe Manciewicz’s penultimate movie “There Was a Crooked Man” (1970) is Hollywood‘s first and maybe only presentation of a happy and well-adjusted gay couple. Yes, they fight and bicker all the time but they are clearly madly in love with each other. No, they are not in We-Ho or the Hamptons. They are in a very poor excuse for a jail in the Arizona territory and it’s 1883. The main plot involves a $500,000 loot hidden by Kirk Douglas who somehow also ends up in said jail and who is being hunted by Henry Fonda‘s Sheriff Woodward W. Lopeman. This was Mank’s only Western and it is a marvelous ride with a witty, intelligent script by David Newman and Robert Benton fresh from their triumph with “Bonnie and Clyde” However, in many ways, it’s like Mank has been transported to an alternate “All About Eve” with Cronyn and Randolph taking over from Bette Davis and Thelma Ritter. Two of the greatest character actors in Hollywood history, Cronyn and Randolph play their roles with great knowingness and respect, all the while being brilliantly funny. Cheers!

“There was a Crooked Man” is available for streaming on The Criterion Channel, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV.

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