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Little Murders (1971)

Vincent Gardenia , Elliott Gould  |  R |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Vincent Gardenia, Elliott Gould, Lou Jacobi, Jon Korkes, Martin Kove
  • Format: Color, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: June 1, 2004
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00020HB1E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,040 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Little Murders" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Based on jules feiffer's play about a man who marries the girl who saved him from muggers.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You want black comedy? Ya came to the right place! August 8, 2004
Top o' the heap, far as the black comedy thing goes. First film directed by Alan Arkin; he also plays a neurotic paranoid detective who does more than stumble over his words; he sputters them out due to mental freneticism that is completely unavoidable, some form of psychosomatic willies going on there, for sure. He's investigating the 345 homicides in the preceding six months (these days, that may not be so far from the truth, in New York City), and one of them has affected the family of our hero (see below).

Donald Sutherland is absolutely hilarious as a free form minister whose hedonism knows no bounds. He takes pains to let the entire wedding party know of his tremendous pleasure at making them squirm in their seats, using the word masturbation (remember, this is a 1971 film!) a few times in his diatribe as he marries off our hero and heroine, Elliot Gould and his leading lady, Marcia Rudd.

Gould plays a photographer whose passive nature results in his getting beat up a lot by neighborhood youths who have nothing better to do, and Rudd, the girlfriend he meets when she saves him from yet another drubbing. Of course, being passive and all, he does nothing at all to save her when she herself gets set upon by the same ruffians. She cottons to him anyway and takes him to meet her parents, played by the always great Vincent Gardenia (here, he plays an uncannily foreshadowed version of the husband in Moonstruck) and Elizabeth Wilson.

Gardenia is definitely one of the stars here, with his "So young fella, what's your pleasure?" to Gould, over and over again. He's a comic gem.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The dynamism of apathy." April 9, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Little Murders (1971)...I really had no idea what I was getting into with this film, as I had neglected to read any reviews. Often I may buy a film, without any prior knowledge, if it looks interesting enough and if the price is right, which was both the case here (involvement by Arkin, Sutherland, and Gould peaked my interest). It's not unusual that I might find disappointment in such a haphazard, grabasstic method of picking a movie, but this one looked promising, and it turned out to be much more than I ever would have thought. Based on a play by syndicated cartoonist and social commentator Jules Feiffer (I Want to Go Home), the film was directed by Alan Arkin, who also appears in the film, stars Elliott Gould (M.A.S.H.) and Marcia Rodd (Handle with Care) in her feature film debut. Also appearing is Vincent Gardenia, who many may remember as the effervescent and kooky Frank Lorenzo from TV's All in the Family, Elizabeth Wilson (Nine to Five), Lou Jacobi (Amazon Women on the Moon), Jon Korkes (The Day of the Dolphin), John Randolph (Serpico), Doris Roberts, who can most likely now be seen as the interminable pushy Marie Barone on the popular TV show "Everybody Loves Raymond", and Donald Sutherland (Kelly's Heroes).

The film begins with an unlikely relationship developed between Alfred Chamberlain (Gould) and Patsy Newquist (Rodd) in what can probably be characterized as a very normal circumstance (in New York, at least) of getting harassed on the streets for no real reason other reason than someone thinking you're asking for it by giving them what they perceive as a disrespectful look. Anyway, Patsy, who's an optimistic sort, sees Alfred, who's a self-described apathetist, as sort of a project or cause, someone who needs to be shown that there are reasons to embrace life.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
This is one of the most hilarious black comedies ever made. With a perfect cast and one odd and offbeat bit after another. Elliott Gould is the passive and disconnected photographer of dog doo whose life is invaded and turned upside-down by the relentlessly optimistic and determined Patsy (the little seen Broadway actress, Marcia Rodd). He is then brought into Patsy's insular family with their own brand of self-contained lunacy (as in all families)and absolutely hysterical sidetrips and surprises follow to a disturbing, yet hilarious, ending.
Not to be missed are the following: Lou Jacobi as the pompous judge railing about the good old days from the bench. Donald Sutherland as the hippy existential priest conducting the funniest wedding ever filmed. Gould's liberal parents, rearguard 30's leftists over-intellectualizing and full of theories while being totally inept at real life and unable to relate to their only child. Alan Arkin as Lt.Practice, the detective coming unglued before your eyes at his growing list of unsolved murders.
And of course, Vincent Gardenia, Elizabeth Wilson & John Korkes as Patsy's sweetly, obliviously, dysfunctionally daffy family.
Written by Jules Feiffer and directed by Alan Arkin (his only directorial effort I think). This is a BLACK comedy. Be forewarned, it has some nasty things to say about those times (late 60's early 70's) of Vietnam, Nixon & violence in the streets....but its observations of our culture's violence and paranoia are still as pertinent today as they were then. A Classic American Comedy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious...but not a comedy...
The pulse of this movie is subversive and menacing, and even though there are many, many great laughs, I think the classification of it as a comedy is wrong. Read more
Published 9 months ago by S. Craig Zahler
4.0 out of 5 stars todays degenerating society
the film was made 40years is more relevant can compare it to PHila. Pa. the acting is very good worth the price.purchased at Amazon.
Published on April 4, 2012 by dr d
4.0 out of 5 stars Black Comedy Best: Jules Feiffer's Notorious Little Murders
Jules Feiffer was best known for his political cartoons when he created the play LITTLE MURDERS. Originally starring Eliot Gould and Barbara Cook, the play opened on Broadway on... Read more
Published on May 19, 2011 by Gary F. Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun. original, disturbing, but with its share of flaws
Yet another 'I should probably see again' film (sigh).

Sometimes very funny, occasionally disturbing super-black comedy about
the absurdity of modern urban... Read more
Published on April 4, 2011 by K. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Oddball Movie!
I saw this movie many years ago on late night TV, probably in the '80s, and enjoyed it immensely. Its quirky, dark humor and avant-garde message could easily have made it a cult... Read more
Published on November 11, 2010 by Susan D Speerbrecher
4.0 out of 5 stars Twisted
"Little Murders" is another of the obscure films I saw at base/post theaters during my military days. Read more
Published on June 17, 2008 by Only-A-Child
5.0 out of 5 stars Close to the real
This old cult classic was seen by myself and a few friends more than 40 times at all the old neighborhood theaters back in the early to mid seventies. Read more
Published on August 5, 2007 by Steven C. Ball
3.0 out of 5 stars A collection of set pieces
that left me singularly unengaged. So, the world is going to heck in a handbasket and the characters respond to their situation by howling in the storm, apart from the lead, who... Read more
Published on July 13, 2007 by olfulla
5.0 out of 5 stars Why a new one, so soon?
I just saw that on April 10, 07, this great film will be comming out again, and I don`t think there are any additional special features. Read more
Published on April 4, 2007 by Private Dick
5.0 out of 5 stars The gold standard of dark comedy
I stumbled on "Little Murders" on HBO back in the 70's and loved the dark and intellectual humor. Recently, I bought a copy and snuck it into our family movie night rotation. Read more
Published on December 29, 2006 by Mike W.
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