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McCabe and Mrs. Miller

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Notoriously vain, Warren Beatty would no doubt appreciate the fastidious video make-overs given to McCabe & Mrs. Miller.

Turn-of-the-century tale McCabe & Mrs. Miller, wherein hapless entrepreneur Beatty and steely madam Christie open a Pacific Northwest brothel only to lose it to bigger tycoons, suits the actor’s decadent-innocent routine far better. Director Robert Altman brings a cold, revisionist eye to the frontier milieu, keeping colors muddy and filling his wide, letterboxed images with scheming townspeople. They’re less sympathetic than the well-scrubbed scum of Shampoo, but their venality is more compelling — and so is Beatty’s destruction at their hands. A-

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