There Was A Crooked Man (1970) Film Review B+

Hollywood’s First Happy Gay Couple.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewcz
BOTTOM LINE: The “marriage” of Hume Cronyn and John Randolph in Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s “There Was a Crooked Man” (1970) is Hollywood‘s first presentation of a happy and well-adjusted gay couple. Yes, they fight and bicker all the time. However, they are madly in love with each other. No, Cronyn and Randolph are not in We-Ho or the Hamptons. They are given a feeble excuse for jail, as Scarlet O’Hara would say, a horse jail! We are in the Arizona territory circa 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. The boys were fresh from their triumph with “Bonnie and Clyde.” However, in many ways, it’s like Mank had been transported back in time to an alternate “All About Eve.” Cronyn and Randolph are taking over from Bette Davis and Thelma Ritter, respectively. Two of the greatest character actors in Hollywood history, Cronyn and Randolph, play their roles with great knowingness and respect while being brilliantly funny. Cheers!

STREAMING: There was a Crooked Man” is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+.

Popular Articles

Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) Film Review  A+

Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) Film Review A+

In “Kind Hearts and Coronets”: Alec Guinness has fun playing all eight (or nine) of the unfortunate D’Ascoynes, including Lady Agatha D’Ascoyne. The photograph shows Dennis Price with Joan Greenwood who plays that little minx Sibella.

Subscribe for the latest reviews right in your inbox!