[box cover]

Pocket Money

Cowboy Jim Kane (Paul Newman) has some Appaloosa horses to sell, but they're stuck in Mexico for the next six weeks in quarantine. He owes the bank, his ex-wife, and at least one hotel some money, and all he can do is just try to wait it out. So when the imminently suspicious Bill Garrett (Strother Martin) offers him a job bringing in cattle from Mexico, he reluctantly accepts it. And while south of the border he partners up with Leonard (Lee Marvin) — a useful but quirky older gentleman who drives a souped-up beater of a car — to help get his drive going. The two then must navigate Mexico together as they face a grumpy employees, the Mexican police, and the bargaining travails of a modern cattle drive. Stuart Rosenberg's 1972 Pocket Money has all the ingredients to suggest a lost classic: two great stars and a script from a young Terrence (billed here as Terry) Malick. Alas, all the film does is highlight the mercurial talents of the late Robert Altman, who knew that even if a film rambled along, it needed to at least have enough narrative spice to tell an interesting story. Here the cattle drive seems peripheral, and though the characters occasionally say interesting and quirky things, they offer little to latch onto besides Newman's almost perfunctory desire to finish the job and get paid. Rosenberg, — who made his reputation directing Newman in 1967's Cool Hand Luke and spent the rest of his career proving that Luke was a fluke — was likely aping the loose structure of the current far-out cinema, but even films like Easy Rider or Two Lane Blacktop give more than lip service to their plots, while also expressing something beyond simple plotting (even if those sentiments have aged as well as their Nehru jackets). Pocket Money is included in Warner's "Paul Newman Collection," and such points out that with any great talent there are going to be numbers of pieces of art that are best left to the obsessive, the margins, or the ether. Unfortunately, the talents involved here will surely keep this film a curiosity for the fans of Marvin, Newman, and Malick — making this a perpetually frustrating movie. Also featuring Hector Elizondo and Matt Clark. Warner presents the film in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) with DD 1.0 audio. Theatrical trailer. Slimcase in the box set.

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