McCabe (Warren Beatty) is a drifter that comes into town and aims to open up a bordello with some of the ugliest broads you ever did see. Mrs. Miller (Julie Christie) is a world-weary whore who shows him how to run a cathouse proper. The two slowly come to a mutual respect for one another that’s complicated when a big corporation comes in and tries to buy the place out from under McCabe.
McCabe and Mrs. Miller is highly regarded in a lot of critical circles but it didn’t do a whole lot for me. I guess you have to have a high tolerance for director Robert Altman’s trademark lackadaisical style, overlapping dialogue, and slow pacing to fully appreciate it. On top of that, you have to deal with a lot of annoying Leonard Cohen songs that are enough to put you to sleep.
But here’s the big thing I didn’t get about the flick. Why would you spend all this time and money making a movie about hookers and then go and cast a bunch of fugly girls to play them? I mean if you’re gong to make a movie about hookers, you might as well make them good looking. Just about all the broads in this movie (even the ones that take their clothes off) are 2’s and 3’s and I wouldn’t pay ten cents to sleep with any of them (and that’s adjusting for inflation). I know times were tough back in the Wild West but they weren’t THAT tough.
Beatty is good playing against his pretty boy looks as McCabe. His charm makes much of the slow going movie tolerable. Christie on the other hand is rather grating and her overblown Cockney accent will get on your damn nerves. And Keith Carradine is really good too in a small part that gets cut way too short.
Beatty of course gets the best line in the movie when he asks somebody, “You got a turd in your pocket or something?”
AKA: John McCabe.