Petulia


1h 45m 1968
Petulia

Brief Synopsis

A married doctor falls for the young wife of an abusive rich man.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1968
Premiere Information
New York opening: 10 Jun 1968
Production Company
Petersham Films
Distribution Company
Warner Bros.--Seven Arts, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
San Francisco, California, USA; San Francisco, California, United States; Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Me and the Arch Kook Petulia by John Haase (New York, 1966).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Synopsis

Disillusioned with her 6-month-old marriage, Petulia Danner attends a San Francisco charity ball and flagrantly attempts to entice Archie Bollen, a divorced surgeon. Archie had first attracted Petulia's attention because of Oliver, a Mexican boy who hitched a ride from Tijuana with Petulia and her moody husband, David. When David suddenly insisted that Oliver return to Mexico, Petulia took the boy to a bus station, where, in trying to run away, he was hit by a car. Oliver was taken to a hospital, where Archie performed surgery. Archie and Petulia now go to an automated motel, but Petulia balks at following through on her plan and Archie sends her off in a taxi. Petulia then impulsively steals a tuba and the next morning brings it to Archie's apartment. In time, Archie's casual attitude toward her gives way to love, and he rejects any thought of reconciliation with Polo, his ex-wife; he is also unresponsive to the devotion of his mistress, May. After spending a night with Petulia in his apartment, Archie leaves her for a Sunday outing with his children. Upon returning, he finds her brutally beaten. Though Archie has her hospitalized, David's millionaire father uses his influence to have her released in her husband's custody. Archie then visits her at the Danner estate, charging David with responsibility for the beating, but David maintains that he was out of town. His father corroborates his story, and Archie is dismayed when Petulia says nothing to deny the coverup. A year later, after David and Petulia have returned from a cruise, Archie encounters her in a hospital maternity ward. Recalling their affair, he asks Petulia to go away with him; though she consents, Archie cannot bring himself to make the necessary arrangements. After he has kissed her goodby, Petulia is wheeled into the delivery room, calling his name.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1968
Premiere Information
New York opening: 10 Jun 1968
Production Company
Petersham Films
Distribution Company
Warner Bros.--Seven Arts, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
San Francisco, California, USA; San Francisco, California, United States; Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Me and the Arch Kook Petulia by John Haase (New York, 1966).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Articles

Petulia


Richard Lester's Petulia (1968) is a fragmented film about a fragmented society, a disorienting film about disorientation. Stylistically and thematically, it's Lester's deepest plunge, a challenge still. Coming off his larky Beatles movies, A Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help! (1965), it represents a wary homecoming for Lester, the Philadelphia native turned London-based expatriate. Starring Julie Christie as an ambivalent socialite and George C. Scott as a surgeon longing to escape the numbing confinement of a suffocating domestic life, Petulia brings a gimlet eye to a cusp moment in San Francisco and America, just before love beads and flower child energies soured into anger, drugs and Vietnam-bred angst.

It's very much a '60s film, but not one populated by the usual '60s types. Its characters remain rooted in the straight world, drawn to the breakaway energies around them, but essentially people to whom the '60s happen, not people making them happen, ambivalent about severing their ties to their world of white privilege. Lester's first right move was scrapping the film's original title, The Arch Kook Petulia, based on its source, John Haase's novel. Kook is an almost comically inadequate word to describe Christie's character, implying as it does the kicky kind of apple-cart upsetter of screwball comedy. Christie's Petulia has her impulsive side, but she's essentially a sad woman, married to the weak, violent son of a rich family.

Petulia comes on to Scott's surgeon, Archie Bollen, at a charity gala in which Lester fires his first in a string of satiric missiles aimed unerringly at American excesses. Before we meet Petulia or Archie, we're assailed by the bizarre site of the gala's socialite sponsors, rolling through the hotel's service entrance on the way to the grand ballroom in wheelchairs, bandages and casts, costumed as the afflicted beneficiaries of their smugly obtuse charity. Hardly has Petulia approached Archie and offered herself to him than they find themselves checking into an automated hotel, where a credit card produces a keycard to an antiseptic room in a setting emblematic of sex without human context.

Not that there's even sex. Not that night. It comes later, as Petulia seems to run hot and cold, one moment retreating, the next showing up at the doc's apartment with a tuba, ready to let the good times roll. After they do, and the doc leaves her there to go to work the next morning, her husband shows up and beats her severely. This doesn't stop Petulia from sending the doc a gift, a grotesque mini-greenhouse that attaches to his balcony, but must be shielded from sunlight. In such ironies does the film abound. The satire of the absurdity of the milieu is conveyed in marvelously chosen artifacts -- including the ornately ostentatious California beachfront mansion the doctor goes to in order to confront the husband, only to find the latter's father, played in a superbly malevolent fascist vein by Joseph Cotten, pull rank as a senior pillar of the medical establishment, a man of jaw-droppingly arrogant entitlement.

Archie is astonished to find Petulia returning to her husband and the devouring embrace of his parents and their money, especially since his own trajectory had been precisely the opposite. Finding the bourgeois trappings of safety and security a turnoff, he has walked out on his own wife -- by all external measures perfect -- and two young sons because he felt embalmed in his marriage. What he wants, he declares, is to feel, and Petulia has awakened him to something like life. During one of his weekends with his sons, he takes them to Alcatraz and tells them there's no prison you can't break out of, only to be told that their mom's new suitor took them there the week before. She doesn't give remarriage the green light, though, until she's sure he isn't going to return through the door she has left open.

It's one of the beautifully handled subtleties in the brilliantly sophisticated, sentient screenplay by Larry Marcus and Barbara Turner, abetted by an impressively nuanced performance from Shirley Knight as Archie's ex. Richard Chamberlain, cast against type, impressively sheds his pretty boy image, too. He's really scary as Petulia's unstable husband. The film is buttressed as well by strong performances in small roles from Rene Auberjonois, Richard Dysart, Austin Pendleton, Pippa Scott and Kathleen Widdoes. Most bring to their work considerable stage experience, including residencies with the San Francisco-based American Conservatory Theatre. A final '60s imprimatur is supplied by appearances from Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company and The Grateful Dead.

Lester found a new facet of '60s icon Christie to mine – ambivalence. He was on to something few of her directors really used, she famously and repeatedly having stated her feelings of detachment from what went with stardom. Scott was to say he never really understood Archie, but trusted Lester. Good instinct, as it turned out, because self-uprooted Archie is all about confusion, which Lester obviously sensed and went with Scott's transmission of it. Ironically, the reason Petulia was attracted to Archie, we later learn, is the one thing he was secure and focused about -- his professionalism. Unbeknownst to Archie, Petulia fixated on his skilled hands and what she took to be his caring manner when he operated on a Mexican boy for whose injury Petulia felt responsible.

America does not like ambivalence in the leading characters of its movies, and the vacillations of both Petulia and Archie, to say nothing of the way they remain ever out of phase, subverted audience expectations. The problem Archie faces with Petulia is that they're never on the same page at the same time. This did not help it at the box-office. Nor did the film's kaleidoscopic style, with its flashbacks and flash-forwards supplying bits of the story, tantalizingly letting us know why things transpired as they did. The camerawork by Nicolas Roeg and editing by Antony Gibbs are as vital a part of the film as its actors. After the film's cool reception, Lester underwent an artistic retreat, moving closer to convention, with less interesting results. But Petulia was a brave film for him to have made, and braver still for its matching of a jagged style to a jagged story. True to its essential melancholy, it never succumbed to popular and clichéd takes on the '60s. The result is that it's one of the few films about the '60s still worth seeing.

Producer: Raymond Wagner
Director: Richard Lester
Screenplay: Lawrence B. Marcus; Barbara Turner (adaptation); John Haase (novel "Me and the Arch Kook Petulia")
Cinematography: Nicolas Roeg
Art Direction: Tony Walton
Music: John Barry
Film Editing: Antony Gibbs
Cast: Julie Christie (Petulia), George C. Scott (Archie), Richard Chamberlain (David), Arthur Hill (Barney), Shirley Knight (Polo), Pippa Scott (May), Kathleen Widdoes (Wilma), Roger Bowen (Warren), Richard Dysart (Motel Receptionist), Ruth Kobart (Nun), Ellen Geer (Nun), Lou Gilbert (Mr. Howard)
C-107m.

by Jay Carr

SOURCES:
The Films of Richard Lester, by Neil Sinyard, Barnes & Noble, 1985
Julie Christie, by Michael Feeney Callan, St. Martin's Press, 1985
Shattered Love: a Memoir, by Richard Chamberlain, Harper, 2003
IMDb
Petulia

Petulia

Richard Lester's Petulia (1968) is a fragmented film about a fragmented society, a disorienting film about disorientation. Stylistically and thematically, it's Lester's deepest plunge, a challenge still. Coming off his larky Beatles movies, A Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help! (1965), it represents a wary homecoming for Lester, the Philadelphia native turned London-based expatriate. Starring Julie Christie as an ambivalent socialite and George C. Scott as a surgeon longing to escape the numbing confinement of a suffocating domestic life, Petulia brings a gimlet eye to a cusp moment in San Francisco and America, just before love beads and flower child energies soured into anger, drugs and Vietnam-bred angst. It's very much a '60s film, but not one populated by the usual '60s types. Its characters remain rooted in the straight world, drawn to the breakaway energies around them, but essentially people to whom the '60s happen, not people making them happen, ambivalent about severing their ties to their world of white privilege. Lester's first right move was scrapping the film's original title, The Arch Kook Petulia, based on its source, John Haase's novel. Kook is an almost comically inadequate word to describe Christie's character, implying as it does the kicky kind of apple-cart upsetter of screwball comedy. Christie's Petulia has her impulsive side, but she's essentially a sad woman, married to the weak, violent son of a rich family. Petulia comes on to Scott's surgeon, Archie Bollen, at a charity gala in which Lester fires his first in a string of satiric missiles aimed unerringly at American excesses. Before we meet Petulia or Archie, we're assailed by the bizarre site of the gala's socialite sponsors, rolling through the hotel's service entrance on the way to the grand ballroom in wheelchairs, bandages and casts, costumed as the afflicted beneficiaries of their smugly obtuse charity. Hardly has Petulia approached Archie and offered herself to him than they find themselves checking into an automated hotel, where a credit card produces a keycard to an antiseptic room in a setting emblematic of sex without human context. Not that there's even sex. Not that night. It comes later, as Petulia seems to run hot and cold, one moment retreating, the next showing up at the doc's apartment with a tuba, ready to let the good times roll. After they do, and the doc leaves her there to go to work the next morning, her husband shows up and beats her severely. This doesn't stop Petulia from sending the doc a gift, a grotesque mini-greenhouse that attaches to his balcony, but must be shielded from sunlight. In such ironies does the film abound. The satire of the absurdity of the milieu is conveyed in marvelously chosen artifacts -- including the ornately ostentatious California beachfront mansion the doctor goes to in order to confront the husband, only to find the latter's father, played in a superbly malevolent fascist vein by Joseph Cotten, pull rank as a senior pillar of the medical establishment, a man of jaw-droppingly arrogant entitlement. Archie is astonished to find Petulia returning to her husband and the devouring embrace of his parents and their money, especially since his own trajectory had been precisely the opposite. Finding the bourgeois trappings of safety and security a turnoff, he has walked out on his own wife -- by all external measures perfect -- and two young sons because he felt embalmed in his marriage. What he wants, he declares, is to feel, and Petulia has awakened him to something like life. During one of his weekends with his sons, he takes them to Alcatraz and tells them there's no prison you can't break out of, only to be told that their mom's new suitor took them there the week before. She doesn't give remarriage the green light, though, until she's sure he isn't going to return through the door she has left open. It's one of the beautifully handled subtleties in the brilliantly sophisticated, sentient screenplay by Larry Marcus and Barbara Turner, abetted by an impressively nuanced performance from Shirley Knight as Archie's ex. Richard Chamberlain, cast against type, impressively sheds his pretty boy image, too. He's really scary as Petulia's unstable husband. The film is buttressed as well by strong performances in small roles from Rene Auberjonois, Richard Dysart, Austin Pendleton, Pippa Scott and Kathleen Widdoes. Most bring to their work considerable stage experience, including residencies with the San Francisco-based American Conservatory Theatre. A final '60s imprimatur is supplied by appearances from Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company and The Grateful Dead. Lester found a new facet of '60s icon Christie to mine – ambivalence. He was on to something few of her directors really used, she famously and repeatedly having stated her feelings of detachment from what went with stardom. Scott was to say he never really understood Archie, but trusted Lester. Good instinct, as it turned out, because self-uprooted Archie is all about confusion, which Lester obviously sensed and went with Scott's transmission of it. Ironically, the reason Petulia was attracted to Archie, we later learn, is the one thing he was secure and focused about -- his professionalism. Unbeknownst to Archie, Petulia fixated on his skilled hands and what she took to be his caring manner when he operated on a Mexican boy for whose injury Petulia felt responsible. America does not like ambivalence in the leading characters of its movies, and the vacillations of both Petulia and Archie, to say nothing of the way they remain ever out of phase, subverted audience expectations. The problem Archie faces with Petulia is that they're never on the same page at the same time. This did not help it at the box-office. Nor did the film's kaleidoscopic style, with its flashbacks and flash-forwards supplying bits of the story, tantalizingly letting us know why things transpired as they did. The camerawork by Nicolas Roeg and editing by Antony Gibbs are as vital a part of the film as its actors. After the film's cool reception, Lester underwent an artistic retreat, moving closer to convention, with less interesting results. But Petulia was a brave film for him to have made, and braver still for its matching of a jagged style to a jagged story. True to its essential melancholy, it never succumbed to popular and clichéd takes on the '60s. The result is that it's one of the few films about the '60s still worth seeing. Producer: Raymond Wagner Director: Richard Lester Screenplay: Lawrence B. Marcus; Barbara Turner (adaptation); John Haase (novel "Me and the Arch Kook Petulia") Cinematography: Nicolas Roeg Art Direction: Tony Walton Music: John Barry Film Editing: Antony Gibbs Cast: Julie Christie (Petulia), George C. Scott (Archie), Richard Chamberlain (David), Arthur Hill (Barney), Shirley Knight (Polo), Pippa Scott (May), Kathleen Widdoes (Wilma), Roger Bowen (Warren), Richard Dysart (Motel Receptionist), Ruth Kobart (Nun), Ellen Geer (Nun), Lou Gilbert (Mr. Howard) C-107m. by Jay Carr SOURCES: The Films of Richard Lester, by Neil Sinyard, Barnes & Noble, 1985 Julie Christie, by Michael Feeney Callan, St. Martin's Press, 1985 Shattered Love: a Memoir, by Richard Chamberlain, Harper, 2003 IMDb

Petulia - A Wake-Up Call for the Swinging '60s - Richard Lester's PETULIA on DVD


The Swinging Sixties! If you remember them, an old joke goes, you weren't really there. But if you don't remember them, chances are you weren't born yet. Today's younger generations have taken their image of the period largely from movies, including a few by Richard Lester that helped define the scene while the scene was still happening. Petulia, now available on DVD from Warner Home Video, was one of these. So were the Beatles comedies A Hard Day's Night and Help!, released to huge acclaim in 1964 and 1965, and The Knack...and How to Get It, also from 1965. All combine quintessential '60s content with an anything-goes editing style that captures the era's unstoppable energy, which Lester-an American who moved to England in his early twenties-knew from both sides of the Atlantic.

Petulia reached theaters in 1968, the year when public fascination with youthful idealism and psychedelia hit its peak, then started its slide into polarized debate over everything from the Vietnam war to the sexual revolution. The gifted George C. Scott plays Archie, a middle-aged San Francisco physician who's getting divorced just because he got "tired of being married." Young and beautiful Julie Christie plays Petulia, a self-described "kook" who comes on to Archie at a charity rock concert, announcing to this total stranger that she's been married all of six months and hasn't had an affair yet. Her husband, played with remarkable subtlety by Richard Chamberlain, is a businessman with a violent streak lurking behind his handsome smile. Important subplots center on Archie's unhappy former wife, his two young children, and a cheeky Mexican boy who brings major complications to Petulia's already complicated life. All this adds up to a sometimes intricate plot, but its main concern is the strange relationship between Archie and Petulia-at once a casual fling, a potentially life-changing love affair, and a psychological puzzle too hard for either of them to solve. Petulia calls herself a kook but is far more disturbed than such a breezy word conveys; her husband is an abusive tyrant disguised as a regular guy; and even Archie, the most stable and successful of the group, is on his way to becoming an exhausted has-been whose ambition is simply to "feel something" again before he gets too old to care.

This is promising material, and Lester took the risk of refusing to play it straight. Instead he ran the story through a cinematic Mixmaster, slicing and dicing its images and chronology, then splicing the pieces into a free-associating mosaic that opens up unexpected levels of meaning. Lester had paved the way for this in A Hard Day's Night and The Knack, and he's been credited (or blamed) with pioneering MTV-type editing styles. Many of his films are very linear, of course, and even the most radical aspects of Petulia were anticipated by European directors like Federico Fellini in 8 ½ and Alain Resnais in La Guerre est finis, not to mention Jean-Luc Godard in several early works. That said, though, Petulia was one of the first American studio pictures to confront mainstream audiences with a full-blown postmodernist vision. Especially daring is Lester's blend of flashbacks with flash-forwards, which film editor Antony Gibbs takes credit for suggesting: Interviewed in "The Uncommon Making of Petulia," one of the DVD extras, he says the idea occurred to him when Lester asked for something more exotic than the "fancy New Wave things" already written into the screenplay. Lester thought the flash-forwards should be lightning quick, Gibbs adds, but was easily convinced that if they went by too fast they'd just confuse the audience. The other extra on the DVD, a promotional short produced when Petulia was being shot, says the movie "starts in the middle and moves toward its beginning...and its end...at the same time." That's a rough but useful description.

The point of this unconventional approach is not just to dazzle the eyes, but to make sure the story's full meaning comes across. Petulia is sliced and diced because its characters' minds and hearts are sliced and diced, and because the shallow, artificial culture they live in has started to break apart in ways that mirror (and maybe cause) their growing incoherence. Lester's style is of a piece with the psychology and sociology he portrays-charmingly unpredictable one moment, decadent and dangerous the next. Petulia is a wake-up call for the '60s, warning that the decade has fallen under the spell of its own shining surfaces, smiley faces, and self-deluding kookiness. No wonder its characters can't get their inner selves together. They've almost forgotten they have inner selves, and that's perilous for American society, since the story's main figures aren't the hippies and dippies who crowd around the edges of some scenes, but members of the "respectable" ruling class whose escalating instability has wide-ranging consequences.

A key contributor to the movie's penetrating portraits of people, places, and things is the artful cinematographer Nicolas Roeg, who became a director soon after and followed similarly experimental paths in movies like Don't Look Now and Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession. Also important is the literacy of the screenplay by Lawrence B. Marcus and Barbara Turner, who adapted a novel by John Haase called "Me and the Arch Kook Petulia." Lending additional color are glimpses of vintage rock groups, including the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin's early band, Big Brother and the Holding Company.

Petulia got many enthusiastic reviews when first released. It also received some skeptical pans, including a big thumbs-down from the influential Pauline Kael, who called it "come-dressed-as-the-sick-soul-of-America-party" and blamed "the mass media" for hyping Lester too much. Seen today, when its style seems downright tame by Quentin Tarantino standards, the movie is an absorbing character study, a colorful time capsule, and a valuable history lesson. Turns out the Sixties weren't so Swinging after all.

For more information about Petulia, visit Warner Video. To order Petulia, go to TCM Shopping.

by Mikita Brottman and David Sterritt

Petulia - A Wake-Up Call for the Swinging '60s - Richard Lester's PETULIA on DVD

The Swinging Sixties! If you remember them, an old joke goes, you weren't really there. But if you don't remember them, chances are you weren't born yet. Today's younger generations have taken their image of the period largely from movies, including a few by Richard Lester that helped define the scene while the scene was still happening. Petulia, now available on DVD from Warner Home Video, was one of these. So were the Beatles comedies A Hard Day's Night and Help!, released to huge acclaim in 1964 and 1965, and The Knack...and How to Get It, also from 1965. All combine quintessential '60s content with an anything-goes editing style that captures the era's unstoppable energy, which Lester-an American who moved to England in his early twenties-knew from both sides of the Atlantic. Petulia reached theaters in 1968, the year when public fascination with youthful idealism and psychedelia hit its peak, then started its slide into polarized debate over everything from the Vietnam war to the sexual revolution. The gifted George C. Scott plays Archie, a middle-aged San Francisco physician who's getting divorced just because he got "tired of being married." Young and beautiful Julie Christie plays Petulia, a self-described "kook" who comes on to Archie at a charity rock concert, announcing to this total stranger that she's been married all of six months and hasn't had an affair yet. Her husband, played with remarkable subtlety by Richard Chamberlain, is a businessman with a violent streak lurking behind his handsome smile. Important subplots center on Archie's unhappy former wife, his two young children, and a cheeky Mexican boy who brings major complications to Petulia's already complicated life. All this adds up to a sometimes intricate plot, but its main concern is the strange relationship between Archie and Petulia-at once a casual fling, a potentially life-changing love affair, and a psychological puzzle too hard for either of them to solve. Petulia calls herself a kook but is far more disturbed than such a breezy word conveys; her husband is an abusive tyrant disguised as a regular guy; and even Archie, the most stable and successful of the group, is on his way to becoming an exhausted has-been whose ambition is simply to "feel something" again before he gets too old to care. This is promising material, and Lester took the risk of refusing to play it straight. Instead he ran the story through a cinematic Mixmaster, slicing and dicing its images and chronology, then splicing the pieces into a free-associating mosaic that opens up unexpected levels of meaning. Lester had paved the way for this in A Hard Day's Night and The Knack, and he's been credited (or blamed) with pioneering MTV-type editing styles. Many of his films are very linear, of course, and even the most radical aspects of Petulia were anticipated by European directors like Federico Fellini in 8 ½ and Alain Resnais in La Guerre est finis, not to mention Jean-Luc Godard in several early works. That said, though, Petulia was one of the first American studio pictures to confront mainstream audiences with a full-blown postmodernist vision. Especially daring is Lester's blend of flashbacks with flash-forwards, which film editor Antony Gibbs takes credit for suggesting: Interviewed in "The Uncommon Making of Petulia," one of the DVD extras, he says the idea occurred to him when Lester asked for something more exotic than the "fancy New Wave things" already written into the screenplay. Lester thought the flash-forwards should be lightning quick, Gibbs adds, but was easily convinced that if they went by too fast they'd just confuse the audience. The other extra on the DVD, a promotional short produced when Petulia was being shot, says the movie "starts in the middle and moves toward its beginning...and its end...at the same time." That's a rough but useful description. The point of this unconventional approach is not just to dazzle the eyes, but to make sure the story's full meaning comes across. Petulia is sliced and diced because its characters' minds and hearts are sliced and diced, and because the shallow, artificial culture they live in has started to break apart in ways that mirror (and maybe cause) their growing incoherence. Lester's style is of a piece with the psychology and sociology he portrays-charmingly unpredictable one moment, decadent and dangerous the next. Petulia is a wake-up call for the '60s, warning that the decade has fallen under the spell of its own shining surfaces, smiley faces, and self-deluding kookiness. No wonder its characters can't get their inner selves together. They've almost forgotten they have inner selves, and that's perilous for American society, since the story's main figures aren't the hippies and dippies who crowd around the edges of some scenes, but members of the "respectable" ruling class whose escalating instability has wide-ranging consequences. A key contributor to the movie's penetrating portraits of people, places, and things is the artful cinematographer Nicolas Roeg, who became a director soon after and followed similarly experimental paths in movies like Don't Look Now and Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession. Also important is the literacy of the screenplay by Lawrence B. Marcus and Barbara Turner, who adapted a novel by John Haase called "Me and the Arch Kook Petulia." Lending additional color are glimpses of vintage rock groups, including the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin's early band, Big Brother and the Holding Company. Petulia got many enthusiastic reviews when first released. It also received some skeptical pans, including a big thumbs-down from the influential Pauline Kael, who called it "come-dressed-as-the-sick-soul-of-America-party" and blamed "the mass media" for hyping Lester too much. Seen today, when its style seems downright tame by Quentin Tarantino standards, the movie is an absorbing character study, a colorful time capsule, and a valuable history lesson. Turns out the Sixties weren't so Swinging after all. For more information about Petulia, visit Warner Video. To order Petulia, go to TCM Shopping. by Mikita Brottman and David Sterritt

Quotes

It's almost 5 o'clock!
- Cashier
I'm sorry.
- Petulia
I want to go to bed.
- Cashier
So do we!
- Petulia
I turned those gentle hands into fists. You were the gentlest man I ever knew.
- Petulia

Trivia

Notes

Location scenes filmed in San Francisco and Tijuana. Opened in London in June 1968.

Miscellaneous Notes

Voted One of the Year's Ten Best Films by the 1968 New York Times Critics.

Released in United States Summer June 1968

Released in United States on Video March 16, 1988

Released in United States January 1990

Released in United States June 1996

Released in United States October 1998

Shown at United States Film Festival Park City, Utah January 20-28, 1990.

Shown at Hamptons International Film Festival (Archival Film Series) in East Hampton, New York October 14-18, 1998.

Released in United States Summer June 1968

Released in United States on Video March 16, 1988

Released in United States January 1990 (Shown at United States Film Festival Park City, Utah January 20-28, 1990.)

Released in United States June 1996 (Shown in Los Angeles (American Cinematheque) as part of program "Jagged Time Lapse: A Tribute to Nicolas Roeg" June 1-15, 1996.)

Released in United States October 1998 (Shown at Hamptons International Film Festival (Archival Film Series) in East Hampton, New York October 14-18, 1998.)