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Written by New York cartoonist, novelist and playwright Jules Feiffer, Little Murders was a satirical play that commented on the violent and paranoid nature of mid-60s America. The play was a flop in 1967, but returned two years later in a production directed by Alan Arkin and became a hit. In 1971, Elliot Gould, who starred in the production, used his newfound Hollywood clout to get a screenplay produced, and Arkin was tapped to make his film directing debut. The film disappeared almost instantly. It was simply too weird, too dark, and too violent for the moviegoing public.
The first half of the movie is a humorously mismatched love story between Gould, an atheist photographer who mostly takes pictures of shit (literally), and a high strung New Yorker (Marcia Rodd) itching to cure her loneliness. But starting with the scene featuring the beautifully insane wedding ceremony lead by Donald Sutherland, the movie starts to spiral completely out of control and becomes something completely different. I don't want to give away the last bits of the movie - as many reviews and even the DVD box do - as it's best to ride this roller coaster without seeing where it's heading.
Suffice to say, this is a great piece of revolutionary cinema. Not long after the film was released, Arkin said he was afraid to see it with an audience. Perhaps because everyone finds something different and personal in the film, and the group experience can feel just too weird - or perhaps because some of them may be in a lynching mood when the end credits roll.
Either way, a great little cult movie that doesn't get quite enough play.