Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Richard Lester|
|Produced by||Don Devlin
|Written by||Lawrence B. Marcus|
George C. Scott
|Music by||John Barry|
|Edited by||Antony Gibbs|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros./Seven Arts|
|June 10, 1968|
|Box office||$1,600,000 (US/ Canada)|
The film stars Julie Christie, George C. Scott, and Richard Chamberlain, with Arthur Hill, Shirley Knight, Pippa Scott, Kathleen Widdoes, Richard Dysart, Ruth Kobart, Joseph Cotten, and Ellen Geer in supporting roles. Howard Hesseman and Rene Auberjonois make uncredited appearances. Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Grateful Dead playing "Viola Lee Blues", The Committee, and Ace Trucking Company are briefly featured in club sequences. Grateful Dead members Jerry Garcia, Mickey Hart, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, and Bill Kreutzmann appear in cameos during the movie's apartment house medical emergency scene as onlookers. Jerry Garcia also appears in duplicate on a large mural and in triplicate on a bus bench both times in stylized solid black and white.
The film has a non-linear construction with frequent flash-backs and flash-forwards (especially at the beginning of the film.) The title character is a young San Francisco socialite married to a savagely abusive man. She finagles a meeting with physician Archie Bollen, whom she first saw and with whom she became smitten as he treated an injured Mexican boy. Bollen is in the process of divorcing his wife, is sifting through new relationships with his ex, the new man in her life, his sons, and friends who knew him only as one-half of a couple. The two soon embark on a quirky relationship.
Filmed on location throughout San Francisco, Petulia included scenes at the apartment building located at 307 Filbert Street, the Cala Foods on Hyde, and in the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel where, amongst other things, Janis Joplin was filmed lip-synching to a pre-recording in May, 1967.
- Julie Christie as Petulia Danner
- George C. Scott as Dr Archie Bollen
- Richard Chamberlain as David Danner
- Arthur Hill as Barney
- Shirley Knight as Polo
- Pippa Scott as May
- Kathleen Widdoes as Wilma
- Roger Bowen as Warren
- Richard Dysart as Motel Receptionist
- Ruth Kobart as Nun
- Ellen Geer as Nun
- Lou Gilbert as Mr Howard
- Nate Esformes as Mr Mendoza
- Maria Val as Mrs Mendoza
- Vincent Arias as Oliver
- Eric Weiss as Michael
- Kevin Cooper as Stevie
- Joseph Cotten as Mr Danner
- Austin Pendleton as an Intern
Marcus was nominated for the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Drama.
The film was released on VHS. A US DVD was released in 2006, and now, following a deal Warner UK struck with former special interest label Digital Classics to release four catalogue titles from Warner Brothers, Petulia was released on DVD in the UK in 2009, on the Digital Classics label.
Giving the film his highest rating, four stars of a possible four, Roger Ebert wrote in his Chicago Sun-Times review of July 1, 1968: "Richard Lester's 'Petulia' made me desperately unhappy, and yet I am unable to find a single thing wrong with it."
- "Big Rental Films of 1968", Variety, 8 January 1969 p 15. Please note this figure is a rental accruing to distributors.
- "Festival de Cannes: Petulia". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
- From Digital Classics' own website: http://www.digitalclassicsdvd.co.uk/product/258