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A Sergeant must deal with his desires to save the lives of young soldiers being sent to Vietnam. Continuously denied the chance to teach the soldiers about his experiences, he settles for trying to help the son of an old Army buddy.
Francis Ford Coppola
James Earl Jones
Bernard Chanticleer's father gives him two simple words of advice: "Grow up." Bernard knows that his first step is to find a girl who's "willing," but he passes up a sure thing, Amy Partlett, for a more elusive goal. Her name is Barbara Darling, an inscrutable go-go dancer. More than a few obstacles keep Bernard from his dream world. There's his doting mother, who mails him locks of her hair and weeps at the thought of her baby as a man; there's a malicious rooster, trained to attack pretty girls, patrolling the halls of his New York City rooming house; and most of all, there's Barbara herself. She turns out to be a man hater, emotionally scarred by the lecherous wooden-legged hypnotherapist who "counseled" her in high school. All in all, Bernard finds himself in an improbable universe with a calculated clumsiness designed to evoke his confusing coming-of-age. Written by
Francis Ford Coppola got a three year contract as a script writer for Warner-Seven Arts during which time he wrote or rewrote circa 15 screenplays, most of which were never produced. He bought the rights to David Benedictus novel "You're a Big Boy Now" and wrote this screenplay during his spare time, while working on the script for Is Paris Burning. Coppola approached Roger Corman to produce the film, but when Seven-Arts discovered that the screenplay had been written during Francis's time in their employ, they demanded that he would make the film for them or not at all. See more »
As Barbara Darling is ripping the buttons from the front of Bernard Chanticleer's shirt, she pulls off the top button first. In the next edited shot, as Barbara's hands move to the lower buttons, the top button is back on. In the next shot, the top button is missing again. See more »
I wrote the novel upon which this film was based, I worked on the various scripts with Francis, and I was present throughout the filming in New York. An amazing experience. Coppola had been working for a year with MGM writing scripts for them (he had got this job as a result of winning a nationwide literary competition) and had scripted Is Paris Burning? and Patton Lust For Glory, both of which Gore Vidal was supposed to be writing but Coppola travelled to Paris to help get scripts out of him. He had also written the screenplay of This Property Is Condemned, based on a Tennessee Williams short story, and (apart from the magnificent helicopter shot which starts the film) thought very little of it.
For full details of the filming of this first real Coppola movie see my memoirs Dropping Names which is available from my website www.davidbenedictus.com Oh and by the way clips of Dementia 13 which Coppola filmed in a couple of weeks in Ireland (he mentioned to me some nudie films which he may or may not have directed but Dementia 13 is probably his first acknowledged work) are used several times throughout You're A Big Boy Now (I imagine he didn't have to pay copyright on them!) and they look powerful to me.
A sad memory is that Elizabeth Hartman who plays the sexy man-hater with great precision and style was to have a serious nervous breakdown after the end of her marriage and threw herself out of a window to her death. She was some actress and you may have seen her in The group and A Patch Of Blue (opposite Sydney Poitier)
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