- 1 hr 28 min
Boxcar Bertha is a crime drama romance film that was written by Joyce Hooper Corrington and John William Corrington, based upon the book by Ben L. Reitman. The movie was produced by Roger Corman and directed by Martin Scorsese. Featured in the movie is Barbara Hershey, David Carradine and Barry Primus. The story follows Boxcar Bertha Thompson (played by Barbara Hershey), known as a depression era outlaw in Arkansas. The movie takes place in the Southern territories that are rife with violence. Bertha is depicted as a sturdy young girl who finds herself involved in this murky world nearly by accident. Bertha falls for Big Bill Shelley (played by David Carradine), who appears to be loosely based upon the real Big Bill Haywood, an anarchist organizer. They make other friends like gambler Rake Brown and Von Morton, a black harmonica playing man with a shotgun. They form a gang together as a way to survive against the elements and effectively, each other. The first murder occurs when Bertha kills a gambler intent upon shooting Rake. When Big Bill gets sent away to prison, she stays in love with him, but out of necessity goes out to work in a brothel in any case. At first, when the madam takes Bertha into the whorehouse parlor, she turns on her heel to leave. However, realizing she has little option when it comes to supporting herself, she resigns herself to staying in order to survive. As convicts run through lumber piles, the gang runs down cattle chutes. The railways are a backdrop to nowhere, providing only shelter until the next stop. Bertha and the gang continually hop freight trains. They are trying desperately to get to Memphis to find new opportunities for new lives. However, with every train ride, they wind up where they have already been. It seems as though the gang must reside itself upon the fate they have been living.