USA Today - 03/22/2002
"...A welcome novelty, the film is in decent shape, with strong color values..."
Before Martin Scorsese wowed the world with MEAN STREETS, he teamed up with legendary producer Roger Corman for BOXCAR BERTHA, a rollicking period drama that features a memorable performance from Barbara Hershey. Hershey is "Boxcar" Bertha Thompson, a Depression-era woman who loses her father in an airplane accident. Joining up with controversial union leader Big Bill Shelley (David Carradine), Bertha is forced into a life on the run when a group of conservative witch hunters targets Shelley as a Communist. Along the way, Shelley and Bertha fall into a life of underground crime, which includes stealing from railroad bosses. Their run comes to a crashing halt when the extremely powerful railroad company catches up with Shelley and exacts a nasty revenge. Based on the book SISTER OF THE ROAD by "Boxcar" Bertha Thompson and Ben L. Reitman, Scorsese's film is an entertaining romp through an exciting chapter in American history. His sure-handed direction confirms the director's ability to tackle traditional formula pictures, although his desire to create a new cinematic realism wouldn't surface until 1973's MEAN STREETS.
This early Martin Scorsese drama features Barbara Hershey as a depression-era woman who falls in with a bad group. Murder and violence are everyday happenings among these southern railyard indigents.
Theatrical release: June 14, 1972
Filmed on location in Arkansas.
The film's budget was $600,000.
Both David Carradine and Barbara Hershey have stated that their sex scene was not fabricated.