Elaine MayUSA119 minutes1976ColourEnglish
A neglected masterpiece of '70s American cinema, Mikey and Nicky sees May making a radical left turn from the dark comedy of A New Leaf and The Heartbreak Kid into hard-boiled, psychologically fraught crime drama. Peter Falk and John Cassavetes star as the title duo, old buddies and low-level mobsters who embark on a long day's journey into night after Nicky (Cassavetes) steals money from their boss. Traversing the mean streets of Philadelphia with a hitman (Ned Beatty) on their trail, the pals come face to face with the toxic mixture of bitterness, envy, resentment and betrayal that underlies their "friendship." Shooting with three cameras (and reportedly producing three times the amount of footage that was shot for Gone With the Wind), May more than doubled the budget of her small-scale crime film; when the studio tried to kick May off the project, she famously stole the negative and hid it until she was allowed to finish shooting. "An odd, biting, grinning, sideways-scuttling rodent of a picture . . . [and] the best film that I know by an American woman" (Stanley Kauffmann).