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Thieves Like Us [VHS]

4.2 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews


Geek Boutique 2016 Geek Boutique HQP

$0.49 + $3.99 shipping In Stock. Ships from and sold by DiscountEntertainment.


Product Details

  • Actors: Keith Carradine, Shelley Duvall, John Schuck, Bert Remsen, Louise Fletcher
  • Directors: Robert Altman
  • Writers: Robert Altman, Calder Willingham, Edward Anderson, Joan Tewkesbury
  • Producers: George Litto, Jerry Bick, Robert Eggenweiler
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • VHS Release Date: September 1, 1998
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302995779
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,637 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Every few years Robert Altman gets rediscovered by critics and audiences, yet somehow this middle-period gem remains underviewed. It's hard to understand why. In 1974, when he made Thieves Like Us, Altman was in top form. He'd recently made McCabe and Mrs. Miller and The Long Goodbye, and the next year would bring Nashville, his touchstone masterwork. As with his other films, Thieves Like Us at first has a homemade immediacy, chugging along like back-porch skiffle music. Set in the Midwest of the 1930s, early scenes between the three thieves (Keith Carradine, Bert Remsen, and John Schuck) feel like silent-movie era routines about a trio of affable farm boys turned bank robbers. Altman's subject--the "thistledown" critic Pauline Kael once described as Altman's real material--emerges by degrees. The story of hell-bent innocents devolves into a tale of the spell cast over the boys by the newspaper stories that mythologize them. (They turn a corner when their pictures appear in an issue of Real Detective.) The string of bank robberies, interlaced with episodes of a shy romance between Carradine and his Coke-sucking girl, Keechie (Shelley Duvall), becomes an agrarian noir by way of Madame Bovary. These thieves lived just at the point when American pop culture was emerging; the cities may have had Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra, but in the Altmanesque countryside sheet music was wallpaper and what pulled were radio serials such as Gangbusters. Compared at the time to Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde, Thieves Like Us now seems singular, a fable of fatal crime and punishment amid barbershop-quartet music and cricket song. --Lyall Bush

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
Keith Carradine as Bowie and Shelly Duvall as Keechie inhabit the mouldering hamlets of the 1930s south so naturally and unaffectedly that your throat tightens. This softer, dreamier Bonnie & Clyde-type tale (filmed in 1941 by Nicholas Ray as "They Live By Night")stands, with "The Long Goodbye" at the pinnacle of Robert Altman's extraordinary 1970s body of work -- even above "McCabe & Mrs. Miller" & "Nashville." Shot like old sepia photographs by Jean Boffety, the film boasts extraordinary supporting work by Bert Remsen, John Shuck, the pre-"Cuckoo's Nest" Louise Fletcher, and one unforgettable little girl. Why this masterpiece is all but forgotten is baffling: it's in a royal line of American movies dealing with average men and women trying to live in the twilight between decency and crime.
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Format: VHS Tape
Director Robert Altman accepted a tough challenge in deciding to do a remake of a film noir classic from 1949. "They Live by Night" starred Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell and was directed by Nicholas Ray, who guided James Dean to his biggest triumph in "Rebel Without a Cause."

Just twenty-five years after Ray's brilliant triumph Altman scored big with his sequel, which he called "Thieves Like Us," which was the name of the Edward Anderson Depression novel from which the films were adapted. While the earlier drama emphasized the wide open spaces of Oklahoma and the dark, moody noir photography in which Nicholas Ray specialized, Altman put his own stamp on the sequel, moving the action from the aforementioned Southwestern state to the Southeast and rural Mississippi.

Whereas Ray emphasized mood and photography to a greater extent, Altman focused on the social climate of the Depression days in Mississippi. Keith Carradine, the sympathetic figure of the film's bank robbers, as was Farley Granger in the original, tells Shelley Duval, the slender young woman who falls in love with him, that yes, he had killed a man earlier and was sent to prison for doing so, but explains the circumstances.

"He had a gun and it was either him or me," Carradine explains. The statement summarizes the dire circumstances of the Depression in backwoods Mississippi, where survival was the paramount factor. Carradine, who played on the prison baseball team, is saddened that he will never have a chance to test his talents in the professional market. Duval holds out hope that perhaps he can, but he knows better. Carradine realizes he is a pawn of fate, having broken out with two seasoned professional criminals, opposites played by John Shuck and Bert Remsen.
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You can pick this video up, new, for about two bucks. Its like getting a novel for a dime and thats fitting since this is a film set during a time when novels were a dime (and cokes a nickle). This film will make you feel like you are in another time and in another place. I suppose that price tag is proof that this film doesn't get much respect but that lack of respect, that underdog independence that marks so many of Altman's films, is just part of their appeal. I can see why this film is kind of a lost classic, because THIEVES LIKE US takes place in a time and place that you don't want to be in. In the rural Mississippi of the 1930's people don't have many options, everyone's just scraping by. The only glimpse of glamour in this world is provided by the radio. The radio is simultaneously the thing that describes the world and also transforms the world it describes by making everything ordinary seem sensational and larger-than-life. It almost seems that since nothing ever happens in this backwards Mississippi world crime like radio is just a way of relieving the tedium. Many of the radio programs involve dynamic capers and crime stoppers and when the three thieves read about themselves in the newspapers its almost like they have transcended their mundane surroundings and have become part of that glamourous radio world. Of course we can see that they haven't. And of course the Shadow knows it too.

The three thieves are just ordinary guys (no Clyde Barrow among them). In fact they are each almost painfully plain and they all seem to know it and this is part of their rebellion against not just authority but against life itself.
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This movie, a better rendition, if you ask me, of the whole "Bonnie & Cllyde" type of story, with Shelley Duvall practically owning the movie as Keechie, the quirky love interest of Keith Carradine's Bowie in this film, was made THIRTY-THREE YEARS AGO by the late, legendary Robert Altman. All things seem to come together nicely in this film: the art direction, something which Altman and his protegé Alan Rudolph were noted for on generally small budgets; the acting, by Duvall, Carradine, Remsen, Schuck and Fletcher; the cinematography, which is flawless and denouement, which flows like clear water to its final destination.

Remsen, Carradine and Schuck play bank robbers in this movie, but Altman takes pains not to portray them as monsters, with the possible exception of Schuck's character. Bowie is parlayed by Carradine as a sensitive, good-humored, "aw shucks" type who woos the rail-thin, down-home Keechie all through the movie. Remsen's character, "T-Dub", is portrayed as a bit of a randy old man, but essentially good natured. It is only Schuck's character that gets the standard "criminal [...]" treatment in the film, as a drunken, abusive and violent type. The upshot of this all is, BOWIE is the one who's a convicted murderer, but in the film, he's as gentle as a lamb with Keechie and the children he comes in contact with, all related to "T-Dub" and Louise Fletcher in one way or another.

Duvall's Keechie is her best role to date! Nobody can wield a rocking chair like her! Keechie falls for Bowie, (in fact, Carradine's Bowie is an awful lot like his character in "Trouble in Mind", a thief who wants to keep his family out of it,) and loses it when the inevitable happens at the end.

This was the kind of film Hollywood did beautifully in the 70s...
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