Prime Cut (1972)

Prime Cut (1972), directed by Michael Ritchie.

Chicago mob enforcer Lee Marvin goes to Kansas City to straighten out some problems with "Mary Ann Meats". Gene Hackman is Mary Ann. Like a knight errant, Marvin rescues sex slave Sissy Spacek (age 22, her first film credit) and deals with all the country tough guys who need killing.

An off-beat, low-budget crime story; I'm not sure there's anything else like it. The plot is barely coherent. It's all meat throughout, and the ambience not very appetizing. We open at the meat-packing plant where you don't want to know how the sausage is made: sometimes it's used to send hard men back to Chicago as tube steak. KC is grotty and looks like the Depression. We have drugged naked girls on exhibit in the hay at the sale barn. Marvin and Spacek have a strenuous afternoon running from a combine in the wheat fields, and there is a big shootout at the barn.

A lot of it is on location with real people at a county fair. I think this is supposed to be the weird and unwholesome underbelly of God's Country, but the effect has worn off over time and it all looks more normal now. Compared to the rural degenerates, the city mobsters are clean-cut: they wear suits and stay in nice hotels. Marvin, in particular, has tough guy style.

Lalo Schifrin score. Brief nudity.