Talk:Ode to Billy Joe (film)

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Is there any reference in the song to suggest that the story behind it takes place in 1953? Songwriter Bobbie Gentry would have been ten years old at the time, and probably not romantically interested in boys in same the way the main character in the ballad is (apparently) interested in Billy Joe. The actress who played Bobbie Lee in the movie, Glynnis O'Connor, was nineteen at the time. The song furthermore says nothing about her leaving home after Billy Joe's death.

As far as I can determine, the date originated in Herman Raucher's screenplay. Raucher had also written Summer of '42 a few years before Ode to Billy Joe. His novelization of Bobbie Gentry's 1967 ballad was published in March 1976, during the height of the 1950s nostalgia craze in the United States. The movie was released nationwide the following June. Except for its reference to a "picture show," the song has a 1960s sensibility about it. It's more mature than the Everly Brothers' "Wake Up, Little Susie" (1957) or J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers' "Last Kiss" (1964), for instance. Its narrator keeps her feelings to herself, and is still mourning her lost love a year after his death.

I was only a child myself when the single was released in the summer of 1967, but I always imagined Billy Joe to be appreciably older than the balladeer -- and consequently that he committed suicide because he feared he'd crossed an age barrier with her, not because he had been seduced by a gay man.

--Varazslo 20:55, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

This article is about the movie, and in the movie he clearly commits suicide because of having gay sex with another man. Rent the movie and watch it yourself, if you like. In the movie, Billy Joe is about the same age as the girl. Frecklefoot | Talk 00:35, 25 September 2005 (UTC)
The 1953 date comes from Bobbie Gentry. In her song Belnda from her album,PatchWork, she mentions 1953 as the date of meeting Belinda. Belinda comes to life in the film as 'Belinda Wiggs' the stripper girlfriend of Bobbie Lee's brother. The rag doll thrown from off the bridge is also a song from PatchWork titled 'Benjamin'. skytorch70.226.124.139 (talk) 06:51, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

Bridge Renaming[edit]

Unfortunately, I don't have a means of providing a verifiable source on this, but I do recall clearly an AP article that came out sometime between 1978 and 1982 concerning Mississippi renaming a bridge to be the "Tallahatchie Bridge". The bridge in question was the one used in filming. It was a gala event with the governor, Bobbie Gentry, and various other entertainment folks in attendance... and one uninvited and unwanted dissident, a woman in her late seventies or early eighties who strenuously objected to the proceedings. The bridge was the Reynolds Bridge, she said, and it was named for her grandfather Reynolds who had designed it. Renaming it dishonored his memory. The woman was escorted away and the scheduled photo ops went on. Of all the songs, movies, etc., that was the saddest story to come out of the whole thing, IMO. --Wesley R. Elsberry (talk) 02:49, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

The renaming was part of the movie's premiere festivities on June 3, 1976. - Dravecky (talk) 12:25, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Film Facts..[edit]

The film was based,in part, on the original short story of Ode to Billie Joe written by Bobbie Gentry before she adapted it to song. She wrote Fancy as a short story first too. Her drafts and papers are housed at the Un. of Mississippi. The 1953 date comes from the song 'Belinda' from Bobbie's 1971 album ' PatchWork' The lyric goes" When I first met Belinda it was back in August, I believe in 53". Belinda ,the song, comes to life as the character Belinda Wiggs( the stripper) in the film. The rag doll( thrown from the bridge), Benajamin, is another beautiful Bobbie Gentry song also from her album ' PatchWork' In promoting the project, she stated in multiple interviews, she worked on the screenplay with Herman Rancher. She is credited as co-author. She handpicked him for the project based on his work in the film' 'The Summer of Forty Two' The figure of a 27 million dollar gross is just plain wrong. People magazine reported a 15 million dollar gross weeks after the films release just in southern markets. After it went into wide release Variety reported a 45 million dollar take in revenue. Bobbie's contract with Warners gave her a 10% stake in the film. As late as 2006, it was still earning substantial income on cable with a 10 show running on the country station CMT. The success of the film started a string of songs being adapted into films. Harper Vally PTA, Convoy and others earned substantial box office. This positive effect helped Universal greenlight Lorettan Lynns' Coal Miners Daugfter as a motion picture with a major budget in 1979. The 1980 film would gross over 80 million in the U.S alone. Ironically, Lynns poor contract with Universal would net her far less cash than Gentry's lucrative contract. In her 2005 hit album 'Van Lear Rose' she would bitterly complain" What happened to the cash?" Skytorch April 2009 Skytorch (talk) 06:56, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Would be nice to have a reference for any of that. — Frecklefσσt | Talk 14:12, 28 April 2009 (UTC)