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|Index||38 reviews in total|
37 out of 44 people found the following review useful:
Beautifully Dated...It Adds to the Film., 29 April 2004
Author: chconnol from New York, N.Y.
"Petulia" is one of the best American films of all time. It should be
ranked with "Citizen Kane" and I'm not being sarcastic.
The beauty of the film is how dated it is. Some films that "define" or capture a certain period of time very well often appear very dated later on and lose their effectiveness because of it. But because "Petulia" is so definately set in it's time period, it's like watching a time capsule. There are films which are made today that take place in the late 60's and try for that "mod" feel. But they're removed from that time and therefore can't capture the true feeling of that tumultuous time. "Petulia" captures it beautifully and integrates the 60's experience into it's storyline and structure. For example, when Archie returns from a day out with his sons and returns to his apartment, on TV there is a newscast about Vietnam. It's not overplayed or anything. It's just there as it would have been on any TV in 1968. It's carefully woven into the structure of the film.
Lester has been praised for his editing in this film and it's pretty ingenious. But overall, I found it at times a little too much. There is a LOT of jumping around in time. We learn the story of Petulia and her abusive husband and the little Mexican boy very slowly over the course of the film. It's only in the final moments of the film where we get the gyst of Petulia's neediness and of Archie's as well. I will never forget the final moment where Petulia softly says Archie's name before being putt under gas to have her baby.
A VERY 60's film. Anyone with an interest in the times and how they might've felt should see this film. One of the most underrated films of all time. Lester shows his true genius here. And like the film, he's the most underrated director. Too bad he's not making films anymore.
36 out of 45 people found the following review useful:
Forgotten classic from the 60's, 23 December 2004
In many ways, this is a plot less, jumble of the movie, but at the same
time there is something really fantastic about it, and some movies are
better off jumbled up cause its fitting, never more so than in the case
of "Petulia." George C. Scott plays a recently divorced man who
willingly begins a semi-affair with Petulia, who is married to an
abusive man. She is a 'kook', to use a 1960s term, but not in the
Goldie Hawn silly mold.
Scott's character takes life as it comes. He's very easy going, and its nice to see him in a role in which he rarely raises his voice or gets manic or seems to care what happens one way or the other. He loves Petulia but does not take her very seriously, until she is badly beaten up by her husband.
The editing can be studied by film students. Its a main part of the story as its told primarily through flashbacks. The beautiful city of San Francisco is used to full advantage.
Christie has rarely been more beautiful. Richard Chamberlain has his best movie role. Shirley Knight, Arthur Hill and Joseph Cotten round out the memorable cast.
I urge all serious moviegoers to get a glance at this one. 9/10.
25 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
Nothing says heartbreak like Petulia, 15 November 2002
Author: cairnsdavid from Edinburgh, Scotland
I've never seen a film which captured the confusion of love gone wrong like this. The kaleidoscopic editing can be a distraction but it also helps create the torment of the main character as his life slowly ceases to make sense. Stunningly photographed by Nicolas Roeg, and a clear influence on his later BAD TIMING, in which the neurosis, present in all the characters of PETULIA, blossoms into full-blown psychosis. What this film has over Roeg's is a sharper compassion and a satiric portrait of late summer-of-love San Francisco which feels accurate and quite ahead of its time. Disillusion has already set in. George C Scott is majestic, and Julie Christie goes from irritating in the "BRINGING up BABY for the Pepsi Generation" opening sequences, to ultimately moving and affecting. The ending, where she goes under the gas (to give birth, but it feels more permanent than that), is as oddly chilling as Lester's earlier HOW I WON THE WAR (which ends with Michael Crawford eating a biscuit, and manages to make this terrifying). What can I say? If you have time and sympathy for people who are a bit screwed up, PETULIA may speak to you.
26 out of 30 people found the following review useful:
Petulia you fool ya.....that was the original tag line, 12 November 2005
Author: maxren17 from United States
I saw this film when it opened and recently bought the video and
watched it again.
I remembered being very moved by the characters and the pairing of Julie Christie and George C Scott. Christie was so young and Scott was also still quite young as well. They had great chemistry. I didn't know that Shirley Knight was nominated for an award for her role. She's very good. Her scene with Scott where she's trying to appease him and he loses his temper is electric. She says more in her look, using her eyes to convey her hurt and confusion, than most actors say in too many words.
Julie Christie has always had a way of getting under your skin. She is able to make you care for her (a lot like she did in "Darling") despite the fact that her character initially comes off as flaky or "kooky." It starts out light and amusing then turns dark and insightful. I remembered this movie for years until I was able to buy the video. It is very 60's in sensibility. So, if you weren't around during that period, see this movie. It captures the sixties in way few films have done as well.
San Francisco looks beautiful in 1967.
21 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
Inexplicably overlooked, 24 March 1999
Certainly one of the top films of the '60s, this film was overlooked (misunderstood?) at its release and has yet to be "rediscovered." Lester's use of flashbacks and forewards is a little confusing at first, but it's also a vital element in what makes this film so worthwhile. The performances are first-rate all the way, including Richard Chamberlin, who has never been this good before or since, and Joseph Cotton, who speaks volumes in his brief scenes. Challenging and disturbing, definitely a film that deserves (and requires) a second look. Maybe someone will do a Lester retrospective (he also did the Beatles' first films)so that this masterpiece can finally find the audience it deserves.
18 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
Richard Lester's Masterpiece, 2 February 2000
Author: none-102 (firstname.lastname@example.org) from New York City
Lester's "serious" film is a stylistic and cinematic masterpiece
much of Lester's work- has been underrated for decades. "Petulia" features
the performance of a lifetime for Julie Christie and stunning work by
C. Scott and Richard Chamberlain.
This film is amazingly shot by Nicholas Roeg (!) and is a riveting piece of timeless cinema. A must-see.
18 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
Absolutely Cool, 5 September 2002
Author: Pamela Reed (DysfunctionalDiva)
I adore this film and I'm so surprised that it doesn't have a higher score for user votes. I stumbled on this film on cable and was mesmerized. It's truly is fabulous - if it sounds like I'm gushing over it, it's because that's precisely what I'm doing. Julie Christie is just awesome in this film. She so kinetic, and of course, beautiful. The biggest surprise for me was watching Richard Chamberlain. I always thought of him as just the King of Television Mini-Series, and he was so utterly different in this than what I grew up thinking him to be. The film is so stylistic - wonderful the way it plays with time and images. Petulia is the best hidden surprise that I've stumbled on in the last 5 years. Now if someone would only release it on DVD - PLEASE!
19 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
WHAT ISN'T SAID SAYS IT ALL, 23 April 2004
Author: rclarknv from Las Vegas
Petulia is a movie of suggestion and inference, something rare for movies
The aimlessness of its cast only hints at darker, neurotic motives. It
purposelessness is the point; not so. Characters have plans but don't know
them. This film uniquely rides on nuances, from reflections to innuendo.
Chamberlin's the most overt character, with his barely-contained lust for the little boy. 'Petulia' has appetites, but for not what she knows. Ditto Scott's restless character.
The graphics are subtle and rich at the same time. Overall, seems to me this film was ahead of its time in concept and execution. Hope it makes its way to dvd...
12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
I've been thinking of this movie a lot of late, 3 April 2005
Author: jimma7ig-1 from United States
I was reviewing Julie Christie's career on the net, and, of course, came across one of my favorite's. As expected, the leads are the best...over time and effort. I saw it the year it was released. It still stays with me...clearly and distinctly. From Chamberlain to Knight and Joseph Cotton, everybody stands out. The director uses the Bay area quite nicely as the backdrop. If it was on tonight, on the cable, I would be sure to watch it. I viewed the movie through the eyes of Scott's character. He is in the middle of the late 60's and lost and his wife, Shirley Knight, just doesn't get it. What is the fuss. Kooky or straight, average wage earner or wealthy, they all are portrayed well... as their lives intersect. Yes it is a slice of life, in the vein of the theatre of the absurd...yet it made so much sense as I was watching it. Later Scott played a head surgeon in a New York hospital opposite Diana Rugg. It was as though the character in Petulia got transferred to New York, still lost but still the good doctor. Julie Christie continues to work when she wants to and picks her projects well. Unlike one of the reviewers on this site, Christie did significant work in Afterglow with Nick Nolte in the mid 90's. How could he drop that from his memory bank. Petulia is well worth the concentrated effort it takes to watch.
10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Bizarre, Different and ultimately Poignant and Wonderful, 13 November 2006
Author: Rand-o from Southern California
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tonight was my first ever viewing of this film by Richard Lester. As
the movie began, I was somewhat thrown off, as the editing is somewhat
"jumpy" and the story is presented out of sequence, so it's rather like
pieces of a puzzle coming together.
The film is both set and shot in 1967 San Francisco and does a beautiful job presenting what it was like there at that time (or, at least how I imagined things were, as I wasn't around at that time.) The first scene is just flat out bizarre: A dance for car accident victims being held in the lobby of a posh-looking San Francisco hotel. The guests all looking very mod yet rich and "establishment," many of them over 50. And the live band providing the entertainment is none other than San Francisco's own Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin on lead vocals. There's a shot of an elderly woman in a wheelchair, dressed and coiffed beautifully, with her neck in a tortuous looking brace being pushed quietly through a service area on her way to the festivities and then a quick, jarring cut to James Gurley, one of Big Brother's guitarists, playing a psychedelic riff, then a quick cut back to the woman in the wheelchair, then back to the lobby floor festivities where Joplin is singing at the top of her lungs next to Sam Andrews playing guitar whilst well-dressed party goers (looking very decidedly unlike a typical Big Brother crowd,) boogie all around them.
What a way to start a film!
I was initially distracted, but soon enough the characters began to emerge and the story unfolded. The main characters include George C. Scott as a newly divorced 40ish doctor and the incredibly beautiful Julie Christie as a newly married 20ish "kooky" character who decides somewhere between Big Brother's "Road Block" and "Down On Me" that she's going to have an affair with the good doctor.
Despite the rather raucous and disjointed beginning, this film does have an interesting plot, as it turns out; one just has to be patient as it slowly and tantalizingly begins to unfold. Nothing is as it seems at first, and there are plenty of surprises in store.
Also featured in the cast are the wonderful Shirley Knight, who gives a powerhouse performance, and Richard Chamberlain in a very off-beat role for him.
I didn't know where the film was going for awhile. But I think that is one of its many charms: It's unpredictability. I would highly recommend this to anyone who appreciates something different and thought-provoking. 9/10
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