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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)
What we have here is an early F.F.C. effort (he also wrote most of the
screenplay).You can see the genius that is later to come.
Here's a confused, virginal young man, constantly picked on by his over-bearing parents, trying to find his way in the world of New York City. Bernard is his name and just watch what he does with initials he spots.
The gal that wants him he doesn't want, and the gal that he wants doesn't want him. Got it straight? No wonder this is turning into a "cult" film.
The acting is first rate in a lot of places. Geraldine Page is always great and Rip Torn can handle most roles. Julie Harris was "perfect" as Mrs. Thing (honest, that's her name). Speaking of names, the part played by Lisa Hartman is Barbara Darling, a would-be actress who dances in a go-go club at night.
Watching Bernard weave his way through conniving co-workers and the strange behavior of Miz Darling, is worth the price of admission.
I always wonder who writes these critiques for IMDB, and should I trust them? For that reason,I'd like you all to know that I am a male senior citizen, but this movie made me feel 18 again. You'll find yourself running into similar things that happened to you in your youthful pursuits.
You could do a lot worse taking a chance on a movie.
About 15 minutes into this quirky film I was ready to proclaim it a
must see and to bill it as the best movie no one has seen or even heard
about. After all it was Coppola's masters thesis for film school. It
has Elizabeth Hartman successfully playing against type as a sexy
(somewhat psycho) Greenwich Village ingénue. It has Peter Kastner, Rip
Torn, Geraldine Page and Julie Harris playing characters more bizarre
than anything in "Harold and Maude" (it reminds you a lot of that film
and may have inspired it). It has Karen Black doing a toned down
version of the Rayette Dipesto character she would play in "Five Easy
Pieces". It has a lively sound track by the Lovin' Spoonful. It even
has Coppola cutting in extensive gruesome footage from his first film
Unfortunately by the halfway point of "You're a Big Boy Now" it totally runs out of steam and you begin to understand that its obscurity is well-deserved. Coppola's script is the problem because the cast are generally excellent and you can tell they had a lot of fun making the film. Even minor cast members like Dolph Sweet do a good job and there are great little sequences like Kastner's after dark explorations of the New York City streets. But unlike "Herald and Maude", Coppola says nothing with this film; consequently it ends up as a classic case of the whole being considerably less than the sum of its parts.
I am not in love with Coppola as a director, but even those who are will acknowledge the incredible distance between his good stuff and the vast majority of his films. This is not his good stuff but is worth checking out if you like Hartman, Harris, and Page.
One of the great weird movies of the 60's. Anybody who loves movies of the 60's, and has missed this, has a monstrous gap in their viewing pleasure. The views of NY from that time period bring back all kinds of memories to me. There are brief pictures of Steeplechase Park and Coney Island. The cast consists of so many interesting actors/actresses: the tragic Elizabeth Hartman, the well-named Rip Torn, Tony Bill, Karen Black, Julie Harris. The person who didn't like this movie, will I guess he/she is just not into this cult classic. This movie was on my very short list of movies-I-MUST-see, and I thank goodness for IFC for showing it.
I found this to be an excellent, fun 60's movie and think it represented the 60's very well. I saw it back then when I was a preteen and the extremely talented and tragic actress Elizabeth Hartman (who looks totally different, in this, than she did in Patch of Blue) plus the song "Darling Be Home Soon" ( a beautiful, and haunting song) by the Lovin Spoonful made it unforgettable! I would love to see it again as I have forgotten a lot of it but those 2 things made a lasting impression! I agree with a previous poster that it was great that Elizabeth Hartman was given a chance to play a part other than plain looking women and this was definitely the total opposite of some other roles she had.
One of my VERY favorite movies, but then again I grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the 1960's and very much identified with the lead character, Bernard, when I saw the movie in 1966 at 13. Touching, funny, terrific Broadway cast and very well done especially considering the minuscule budget Coppola had to work with. I can imagine Mayor Lindsay's involvement, allowing Coppola to interrupt the Times Square "crawl" and to shoot in the NYC 42nd St. Library. Check out Coppola on "Inside the Actor's Studio" on Bravo talking about this film. He said he wanted to make a movie about the two best things in life; young love and hot pretzels!
I remember the day I bought the movie for $2 in Bennington, Vermont. I
was in a bad mood that day. I read on the back of the VHS box how this
was FFC's master's thesis at UCLA and thought that it could be a cool
viewing. I watched it later that day and it changed my mood to great,
and it became my favorite movie.
Some of the sequences and lines and maddeningly dizzy and dizzyingly mad. The names and objects and places Bernard gives to initials is wonderful. Barbara Darling dancing up in that cage in the underground club! The music (Darling Be Home Soon is a masterpiece)! The cinematography! The deliverance of sexy lines! (Hair?! You collect, hair!?"). Del Grado's poetic musings on life (funny where they got him ...). The views of 1966 New York City, pre-World Trade Center.
I've seen it about 50 times always trying to figure out the theme, and I still haven't come up with one, although, Bernard goes from a milk-spilling virgin to a maturing lad who finally opens his eyes to life and stops spilling milk.
That $2 VHS copy is gone. I wish I could find another copy, or, one on DVD.
It's the most dizzy, maddeningly wonderful sexy piece or cinema I've seen, or ever will experience.
So is there a way to find love with a woman like Amy Partlett with streaks of Barbara Darling that run through her veins? (And no, I don't collect hair, and stopped spilling milk years ago).
One of the few times when the late Elizabeth Hartman gets to play as
somebody other than a frail, mousy girl. Since her Oscar Nominated
performance in "A Patch of Blue," Hollywood always seemed to want her to
play vulnerable, handicapped women, or vulnerable women of some sort. This
time, she plays a bitchy, egotistical, man-hating actress/go-go dancer,
wins the heart of a young library clerk, played by Peter Kastner. The kind
of character, who could probably be the inspiration for a riot grrrl band.
Besides that, I'm a Native New Yorker, so I've got a natural attraction for movies filmed in New York City, and the rest of the tri-state area. Biff Rules!
I first saw this movie in a British seaside flea-pit - on the strength
of just the title - when I was 13. It enchanted me so much, I traveled
back there every night for the rest of the week, just to see it again
Despite being very much a "New York Movie", it's themes are universal and as a young lad of 13, I REALLY identified with the 19-year-old hero (Americans are less mature than we Europeans).
At that time, I only knew F.F.C. as the director of "Finian's Rainbow" (a VERY different project) and of course, he had yet to do "American Graffiti" (ANOTHER of my Top Ten).
I have this masterpiece on VHS and the soundtrack album (in mono) on vinyl and they STILL stand up today. I think people who dislike this movie are expecting another broad relationship comedy - but the comedy is very SUBTLE, obviously being lost on those who see it as just another "Young Man's Awakening" movie.
But that aside, this is a charming, VERY Sixties look at teen-angst from the viewpoint of a central character who has JUST LEFT the bonds of home (so many feature ones who are still STUCK there). And as one who would shortly leave an English small town for life in London, at the HEIGHT of the "swinging" era ('67-'72) this movie was LITERALLY a life-changing experience for me.
And few of my Top Ten movies can claim THAT.
A coming of age film centering on a young man's longings and fantasies for his dream girl whom he sees in the New York Public Library's main branch. This comedy-drama is so spotty it is often infuriating but still worth seeing. The lead, Peter Kastner, is forgettable, but his father played by Rip Torn, head of incunabula (see the movie and find out what it is!) at the library, is hilarious; the fight scene with Julie Harris is marvelous. The opening scenes show the behind the scenes goings on at the great library and even where all the books are stored, which the public can't see. Karen Black did a fine and affecting job as Kastner's girlfriend. On the negative side is the lovely Elizabeth Hartman coming off her big success in "A Patch of Blue" with Sidney Poitier. She is supposed to be the cool and detached object of longing - but is as vapid and empty as any character could be, and in part this has to be the fault of the direction of Coppola. This is a significant problem with the film. Hartman was very tragically an apparent suicide in 1987. The movie does have enough in it warrant a viewing.
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