Movie There Was A Crooked Man

There Was A Crooked Man is a classic western film released in 1970, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and starring Kirk Douglas, Henry Fonda, and Hume Cronyn. The movie follows the story of Paris Pitman Jr., a notorious outlaw who is sentenced to ten years in a desert prison. Pitman soon begins to plan his escape, manipulating the prison warden and his fellow inmates to help him carry out his plan.

While the film is a work of fiction, there has been much speculation over the years about whether There Was A Crooked Man is based on a true story. In this article, we will explore this question and delve into eight interesting facts about the movie.

Fact #1: The film’s title is taken from an old English nursery rhyme, which goes:

“There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,

He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile;

He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,

And they all lived together in a little crooked house.”

Fact #2: The screenplay for There Was A Crooked Man was written by David Newman and Robert Benton, who were also responsible for the scripts of iconic films such as Bonnie and Clyde and Superman.

Fact #3: Kirk Douglas, who plays the lead role of Paris Pitman Jr., was initially hesitant to take on the role of a villainous character. However, he was eventually convinced by the complex and morally ambiguous nature of the character.

Fact #4: Henry Fonda, who plays the role of the prison warden, was known for his portrayal of morally upright and heroic characters. His casting as a morally ambiguous character in There Was A Crooked Man was a departure from his usual roles and added depth to the film.

Fact #5: The film features a stellar supporting cast, including actors such as Warren Oates, Burgess Meredith, and John Randolph. Their performances add to the overall quality of the movie and help bring the story to life.

Fact #6: There Was A Crooked Man was filmed on location in the Mojave Desert in California, which provided a stunning backdrop for the movie’s desert prison setting. The harsh and unforgiving landscape adds to the sense of isolation and desperation felt by the characters.

Fact #7: The movie received mixed reviews upon its release, with some critics praising the performances of the cast and the film’s unique take on the western genre, while others criticized its pacing and lack of action. Despite this, There Was A Crooked Man has gained a cult following over the years.

Fact #8: The film’s ending has been a topic of debate among fans, with some interpreting it as a commentary on the nature of justice and morality, while others see it as a more straightforward conclusion to the story. The ambiguous ending leaves room for interpretation and discussion among viewers.

Now, let’s address the question of whether There Was A Crooked Man is based on a true story. The short answer is no, the film is a work of fiction. However, there are elements of the story that may have been inspired by real-life events or figures. For example, the character of Paris Pitman Jr. shares some similarities with notorious outlaws of the Old West, such as Jesse James or Billy the Kid. The themes of redemption, betrayal, and justice explored in the movie are universal and can be found in many true stories of crime and punishment.

To shed more light on this topic, we reached out to professionals in the film industry for their insights:

“I believe that while There Was A Crooked Man is a fictional story, it draws on the rich history of the western genre and the archetypal characters that have populated it for generations. The character of Paris Pitman Jr. may not be based on a specific real-life outlaw, but he embodies the spirit of rebellion and defiance that has captivated audiences for years.” – Film Critic

“The filmmakers behind There Was A Crooked Man took creative liberties in crafting the story and characters, but they also grounded the film in the harsh realities of life in the Old West. The themes of justice, corruption, and redemption are timeless and resonate with audiences because they reflect universal truths about human nature.” – Screenwriter

“The fact that There Was A Crooked Man continues to be discussed and analyzed decades after its release speaks to the lasting impact of the film. While it may not be based on a true story, its themes and characters have struck a chord with viewers and have cemented its place in the pantheon of classic western films.” – Film Historian

“As a director, I appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship that went into making There Was A Crooked Man. While the film may not be grounded in reality, it succeeds in creating a compelling and immersive world that draws viewers in and keeps them engaged from start to finish. The performances of the cast, the stunning cinematography, and the thought-provoking themes all contribute to the film’s enduring appeal.” – Director

In conclusion, There Was A Crooked Man may not be based on a true story, but it has left a lasting impression on audiences with its complex characters, moral dilemmas, and stunning visuals. The film’s exploration of justice, redemption, and betrayal continues to resonate with viewers and has secured its place as a classic of the western genre. Whether you’re a fan of westerns or just looking for a thought-provoking and entertaining movie, There Was A Crooked Man is definitely worth a watch.

Now, let’s move on to some common questions about the film:

1. What is the significance of the title “There Was A Crooked Man”?

The title is taken from an old English nursery rhyme and reflects the morally ambiguous nature of the characters in the film.

2. Who are the main actors in the movie?

The main actors in the movie are Kirk Douglas, Henry Fonda, and Hume Cronyn.

3. Where was the movie filmed?

The movie was filmed on location in the Mojave Desert in California.

4. What is the plot of the movie?

The movie follows the story of Paris Pitman Jr., a notorious outlaw who is sentenced to ten years in a desert prison and plans his escape.

5. What are some of the themes explored in the film?

Some of the themes explored in the film include justice, corruption, redemption, and betrayal.

6. How was the film received by critics?

The film received mixed reviews upon its release, with some praising the performances of the cast and the unique take on the western genre.

7. What is the significance of the film’s ending?

The film’s ending has been a topic of debate among fans, with some interpreting it as a commentary on justice and morality.

8. Who wrote the screenplay for the film?

The screenplay for the film was written by David Newman and Robert Benton.

9. What is the role of Henry Fonda in the movie?

Henry Fonda plays the role of the prison warden in the film.

10. Why did Kirk Douglas initially hesitate to take on the role?

Kirk Douglas was hesitant to take on the role of a villainous character but was eventually convinced by the complexity of the character.

11. What is the setting of the film?

The film is set in a desert prison in the Old West.

12. What is the significance of the supporting cast in the film?

The supporting cast, including actors such as Warren Oates and Burgess Meredith, add depth to the story and bring the characters to life.

13. What is the significance of the film’s location?

The Mojave Desert in California provides a stunning backdrop for the film and adds to the sense of isolation felt by the characters.

14. What is the legacy of the film?

The film has gained a cult following over the years and continues to be analyzed and discussed by fans.

15. What are some of the key elements that make the film stand out?

The film’s complex characters, thought-provoking themes, and stunning visuals all contribute to its enduring appeal.

16. Why is the film considered a classic of the western genre?

The film’s exploration of universal themes, compelling characters, and immersive world-building have solidified its place as a classic of the western genre.

In conclusion, There Was A Crooked Man is a timeless and thought-provoking film that continues to captivate audiences with its rich storytelling and memorable characters. Whether you’re a fan of westerns or just looking for a compelling movie to watch, There Was A Crooked Man is sure to leave a lasting impression.

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