- ● An Amazon.com DVD Discoveries: Summer 2006 selection.
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- New featurette: "The Uncommon Making of Petulia"
- Vintage featurette: "Petulia: The Uncommon Movie"
- Theatrical trailer
Top Customer Reviews
Now finally released DVD, Petulia is just as bizarre, frustrating - and even as irritating - as it was thirty years ago, but the film is worth revisiting, mainly for performances by Christie, Scott and Chamberlain and also for the colourful images of San Francisco during the late 1960s. Directed by Richard Lester, with Nicolas Roeg as cinematographer - who gives the film an artier look than it really deserves - Petulia skewers time like a knife.
The film utilizes fast forward and backward cuts, which at the time seemed avant-garde and unconventional, but today it comes across as sort of exasperating. It begins when Petulia, a rich, married, kooky waif, played by Julie Christie, propositions Archie, a tired divorced surgeon, played by George C. Scott, at a San Francisco charity ball. She tells him that she has a husband, but that she desperately wants to have an affair with a married man.
Obviously a little odd, Petulia manages to capture Archie's heart and arrives with a tuba and bruises at Scott's apartment quite early one morning. He's a little hesitant to get involved with her as he still has feelings for his wife Polo (Shirley Knight). Archie's friends, Barney and Wilma (Arthur Hill and Kathleen Widdoes), understanding nothing, show him films of himself and his former wife, in hopes of reconciliation.Read more ›
"Petulia" tells the story of two very different people whose lives irrevocably intersect in a vague search for place and self in the 1960s. Lester claims to have shaped "Petulia"'s characters as symbols of 1960s America, and yet rarely has the cinema offered such complex and three-dimensional characters. The title character in particular, played by Julie Christie, is a young "kook" recently married into comfortable wealth, and whose behavior is not only unpredicatable, but erratic to the point of schizophrenia. George C. Scott's Archie is a rather serious doctor in the midst of a divorce (he terminated his marriage, he says, because he'd tired of being "a handsome couple") and making a rather forced effort to enjoy new bachelorhood. In the opening scene, Petulia tells Archie, "I've been married six months and I've never had an affair." After much discussion, but no kissing, Archie and Petulia decide, almost out of resignation, to have an affair. What these characters take from each other is a very complicated thing, which I can only describe as brief protection from what seems inevitable loneliness. Certainly they're an interesting pair. Über-critic Pauline Kael describes Julie Christie's portrayal of Petulia as "lewd and anxious, expressive and empty, brilliantly faceted but with something central missing, almost as if there's no woman inside." I couldn't say it better myself. George C. Scott's Archie is a brilliantly understated masculine foil to this Petulia.Read more ›
Lacking in the other comments ( printed here) is the central theme, as I saw it.
The conflict of a disaffected professional whose real life was in the operating room. He walks away from a seemingly "perfect" marriage for reasons even he cannot understand. He is looking for something at a personal level which he cannot define. His encounter with Petulia is pure serendipity. She, for reasons of her own is also searching for meaning. They touch, briefly, and move on. The affect of their relationship on those around them provides the counterpoint to this truly heartbreaking drama.
The wild 6os in San Fransco provides a very suitable backdrop for the main theme.
The final scenes in the labor and delivery rooms are pure genius.
When she says "Archie" it tells it all.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Watch "A Hard Day's Night," and you see the bursting exuberance of a new generation with no concerns about the future. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Charles Platt
What a mindblowing group of characters and great story. Witty dialogue, Julie Christie and George C Scott in two of the most charming and heartbreaking performances ever. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Worldmom
My favorite george c scott movie, and the beautiful julie christie! Just a great moviePublished 12 months ago by annette byrge
This is not the 1968 San Francisco of the hippie generation, but that of their flighty uncles and aunts. George C. Read morePublished 18 months ago by mr. contrarian
This film is cinematic, often looked over. The complicated storytelling through delineated storylines can be difficult if the viewer is not fully engaged. Read morePublished 23 months ago by JMG Buyer
A good look at 1960s San Francisco. I bought it when I saw George C. was in it, and because I like movies with a hippy theme.Published on December 7, 2013 by Ron Dagwell
This mediorce film is considered "one of the decades top films" by esteemed reviewer Leonard Maltin. Every once in awhile even the best reviewers get it wrong. Read morePublished on November 30, 2013 by Bo Knows
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