The Frida Cinema

Orange County's Year-Round Film Festival

McCabe & Mrs. Miller

Saddle up and cue some Leonard Cohen, because Altman Month continues with his 1971 “anti-Western” McCabe and Mrs. Miller.

Treading his way into early 1900’s Washington State is a mysterious stranger named John McCabe (a fur coat-donning Warren Beatty), who gets by on gambling and intimidating the townspeople around him. Soon, a high-class cockney named Constance Miller (Julie Christie) arrives into town as well and takes an immediate liking to McCabe. As they begin to strike a deal in mutually running the local brothel, their business booms as quickly as those who threaten to dismantle it with violence.

Accentuated by Vilmos Zsigmond’s ethereal telephoto photography and the natural on-location beauty of the Pacific Northwest, McCabe and Mrs. Miller is a defining example of Altman’s playful yet masterful handling of genre.


“Firmly defining the landscape is Altman’s famed anachronistic use of three Leonard Cohen tracks which solidifies McCabe and Mrs. Miller as a poetic vision of a culture struggling to pull itself out of nature’s chaos — a cold-hearted and cruel hell.” – Nicholas Bell,

“Robert Altman’s wintry 1971 anti-Western gives Warren Beatty one of his best roles as the doomed gambler McCabe: boastful, shy, foolish, altogether lovable.” – Jake Wilson, The Age (Australia)

“Altman, that master of interweaving stories, returned to a makeshift encampment, patched together in the country’s quiltwork past. McCabe & Mrs Miller turns the American Dream to so much pipe-smoke and wind-whipped snow, fuming and blown away.” – Brian Gibson, Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Alberta)