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Prime Cut (1972)

4.2 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In PRIME CUT, a Chicago mob enforcer (Marvin) is sent to Kansas City to settle a debt with a man called Mary Ann (Hackman) who sells women as sex slaves

Amazon.com

Prime Cut is a strangely likeable if decidedly oddball thriller from 1972. A happy collision of gangster genre grit (validated by Lee Marvin's granite-faced lead performance) with a strain of shameless (though shrewd) exploitation not unfamiliar to screenwriter Robert Dillon (X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes), plus the kinetic, semi-documentary wit of director Michael Ritchie (The Candidate) makes Prime Cut both a straightforward noir and a satire of itself. Marvin plays Nick, an aging enforcer for the Chicago mob, sent to Kansas City to deal with a ruthless cattle baron (Gene Hackman) who owes a half-million to Windy City racketeers. Hackman's character (inexplicably named Mary Ann), dismissive of old-guard crime chieftains, has set up his own heartland empire guarded by a weird contingent of blond, lookalike young men with rifles. Not only does he render the bodies of his enemies into sausage meat, Mary Ann is making a fortune trafficking in naked, enslaved young women. One of the latter, played by Sissy Spacek (in her film debut), falls under the protection of Nick, who sets about taking Mary Ann down. Ritchie's highly energized, absurdist scenes (e.g., a gunfight in an endless field of sunflowers) are nicely counterpointed by Marvin's smooth anti-heroics and the self-conscious cheesiness of the sex slave angle. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Lee Marvin, Gene Hackman, Sissy Spacek, Angel Tompkins, Gregory Walcott
  • Directors: Michael Ritchie
  • Writers: Robert Dillon
  • Producers: Joe Wizan, Kenneth L. Evans, Mickey Borofsky
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: June 14, 2005
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0008KLVA0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,409 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Prime Cut (1972)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By JR Dunn on March 8, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
They don't make 'em wilder than this.

"Prime Cut" is essentially the ancient fairy tale about the ogres preying on innocent maidens until the knight comes to town updated to a rural Kansas mob-war milieu. The chief ogre here is Mary Ann (not "Mother") a Great Plains gang leader played by Gene Hackman with the relish of a man who knows he may never see a role quite like this one again. His shaven-headed brother Weenie (Gregory Walcott) does things like run rival mobsters through meat-grinders and attack limos with pitchforks. The representative maiden is played by Sissy Spacek, back when she looked cute rather than merely odd. Lee Marvin plays the knight, flourishing a submachine gun while wearing a pricey 70s-style silver-gray suit.

None of which goes anywhere near far enough in relaying the serious strangeness of the thing. For that you need scenes like the one introducing Mary Ann tucking into a plate of beef guts ("I like 'em!"). Or the young gangster eagerly introducing boss Marvin to his mother. Or the shootout in a field of enormous sunflowers. Or Lee's visit to ex-mistress Clarabelle (I swear I'm not making up these names) who lives on a houseboat that looks as if it was designed by Christo collaborating with Heidi Fleiss. And I could go on.

Ritchie later made a number of innocuous comedies and Robert Redford vehicles of the "Downhill Racer" variety. But just once (the very late "Alleged Cheerleader-Murdering Texas Mom" being a partial exception), he got out of the cage and ran wild, and "Prime Cut" is the result. Compare it to Tarantino if you must, but if he or any of the other bravos has ever matched this, I haven't heard about it. "Prime Cut" is sui generis. They don't make 'em like this any more for the very simple reason that they never did in the first place. That's our loss.

...and oh yeah, I'll have mine well done.
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Format: VHS Tape
A ENJOYABLE FILM DONE WITH THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF ACTION AND COMEDY. Lee Marvin one of the all time greats plays a chicago hitman who is hired to take down an old nemesis from kansas city, who has been invovled in the slave trading business. This film even by today's standards can still be considered a delight to see. the old time dixie music and the farmland scenery is a throwback to what life was like a long time ago. Gene Hackman plays "mary ann" the one who tries to compete in the slave industy. another standout was this was Sissy Spacek's film debut. As for lee marvin Hollywood lost an icon when he passed away. There will never be another Lee Marvin as far as i'm concerned. And when you see this film or any other of his films you'll see why.
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By A Customer on July 23, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Lee Marvin is on top form in this fantastic film from director Michael Ritchie.Sissy Spacek gives an affecting performance as one of the girls trapped in Gene Hackman's white slave trade ring.Some fantastic location photography in America's mid west makes this an unusual addition to the modern gangster film.
It's a shame the video uses a cropped image as this superb film would really benefit from a proper widescreen transfer.
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Format: VHS Tape
As a teenager of the 70's, my family used to attend movies together and we would often go to the latest John Wayne movie. Well, one double feature later we were watching Prime Cut. We were captured by the grittiness and good ol' boy syndrome of this film. The first part caused my family to give up hot dogs for about 10 years!!!! The action was so fascinating, for that time period, that you found yourself running across that wheat field with Marvin & Sissy. And Violet's nickels, the part they always cut out of TV showings. I know they tried to put out a series after the film, with Lawrence Luckinbill (Mr. Lucy Arnez)as the lead character, but it never really caught on. But we loved it then and we love it now. Hope you will too.
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Format: VHS Tape
Tough, unsettling movie whose subject matter is unusually unpleasant given that it was made in 1972. Pretty, innocent girls are treated as one rung up the evolutionary ladder from cattle, and mobsters who fall foul of other mobsters end up as human meat. This isn't Kansas City as I remember it, but you never know what goes on in those farms and meat-packing plants. One of Lee Marvin's best roles.
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Format: DVD
I saw this film in it's original theatrical release back in 1972. I was 15 then and it was quite a shocking movie at the time. I was glad to see that it had finally been released on DVD and so I purchased this version. I was dismayed to watch it and see that it had been edited from the original, with some material "cut" out. I particularly remember the original had one scene of Sissy Spacek with full frontal nudity when she was drugged- up and in the cow pen display scene. You won't see it here. This version has been "CUT".
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Format: VHS Tape
An entertaining but oddball choice for its two stars (Lee Marvin and Gene Hackman) and for its director (Michael Ritchie). Hackman and Marvin play Kansas City and Chicago gangsters, respectively, who go face-to-face for control of the Midwest syndicate. Hackman's truly vile enterprise features a slaughterhouse that doubles as a handy body disposal service for his slain rivals and (literally) a stable of young women who are kidnapped from orphanages and then raised to be auctioned off as sex slaves when they reach womanhood (how did Russ Meyer miss this one?) The film is so over the top that I have to believe director Ritchie was going for an ultra-violent black comedy (does "Pulp Fiction" seem so original now?) Marvin plays the role of the city boy in the country with his patented stoic cool. Not a lot of plot development involved, but the film is notable for some interesting set-pieces like a memorable thresher machine chase and the opening slaughterhouse sequence, which is sure to put you off eating sausage for quite a while. "Prime Cut" also introduced audiences to Sissy Spacek, who gives much more depth to her character than you would expect. The film is quite an anamoly for its director, who went on to give us more low-key satires like "Smile", "Downhill Racer" and "The Candidate". I think a lot of movie buffs would rejoice if this one were re-issued in widescreen on DVD (the heartland backdrops are well-utilized) and it would certainly be an easy sell with the Tarantino crowd. Revel in the sleaze!
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