Past Event17 Jul 2016

McCabe and Mrs Miller

No longer available

The Civic


As vivid and haunting as the songs of Leonard Cohen that found an audience on its soundtrack, Robert Altman’s indelible vision of two of the Wild West’s most beautiful losers is restored to the giant screen. Warren Beatty and Julie Christie play an enterprising gambler and a cynical bordello madam, separate newcomers whose reputations have preceded them to the raw Pacific Northwest mining town of Presbyterian Church. Channelling attraction into a business proposition, they join forces to provide the miners with a superior whorehouse experience. The arrival of representatives of a mining company with interests of its own threatens their plans. (Deadwood fans will recognise the debt acknowledged by David Milch.)

On its release critic Andrew Sarris called it a ‘half-baked masterpiece’. Forty-five years later, the apparent offhandedness of Altman’s attention to story and dialogue feels integral to his evocation of elusive dreams and frail individual enterprises. The town, rising so randomly amongst the conifers, is said to have been built by a crew of US draft dodgers in British Columbia and the film was shot, unforgettably, in rain and snow by the late, great Vilmos Zsigmond.

McCabe & Mrs Miller

USA 1971 
120 mins

Director: Robert Altman

Producers: Mitchell Brower, David Foster

Screenplay: Robert Altman, Brian McKay. Based on the novel McCabe by Edmund Naughton

Photography: Vilmos Zsigmond

Editor: Louis Lombardo

Production designer: Leon Ericksen

Costume designer: Ilse Richter

Music: Leonard Cohen

With: Warren Beatty (John McCabe), Julie Christie (Constance Miller), René Auberjonois (Sheehan), William Devane (the lawyer), John Schuck (Smalley), Corey Fischer (Mr Elliott), Bert Remsen (Bart Coyle), Shelley Duvall (Ida Coyle), Keith Carradine (cowboy), Michael Murphy (Sears)

For tickets and details about films at other venues, please visit the New Zealand International Film Festival website.

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