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 Unrated   DVD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 61.56
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"It's a very real film about two people trying to get through to each other," director Richard Lester (A Hard Day's Night) says of his landmark romance Petulia, set in summer-of-love-era San Francisco. There Julie Christie plays a unhappily married socialite trying to get through to a recently divorced doctor (George C. Scott), who in his own words just wants to "feel something." He'll soon feel, even hurt, a lot. Because we know why kooky Petulia so desperately reaches out. As Lester zigzags through the flashbacks and flash-forwards of cinematographer Nicolas Roeg's startling images and Lawrence B. Marcus' knowing screenplay, Petulia's jigsaw pieces form a celluloid time capsule of life and love in the turbulent '60s. DVD Features:
Theatrical Trailer

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece film on several levels. Jan. 21 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Richard Lester's hazy "Petulia" is Top Ten list material, in my opinion. More the prototype for Soderberg's "The Limey" than even "Point Blank" was, this film is a masterpiece of fractured time, subjective narration, and non-linear editing.
"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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars IMPETUOUSNESS Aug. 20 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This film is unbelieveably great both stylistically and in its story of how "The Pepsi Generation" of the late-1960s put reckless impetuousness at a premium- which can lead to throwing away one's marriage one instant, and then changing your mind about it the next.
This is Richard Lester's greatest flick. "Hard Day's Night" was great, of course, but here you get a jump-cut style that includes both flashbacks and premonitions- it seems a very hip style and is suited to the subject matter of the film. And the shots are brilliantly composed- very dramatic visuals.
Also, you get about a minute and a half of the Dead playing "Viola Lee Blues", in their psychedelic heyday- complete multi-media experience.
And, in one scene Garcia and Weir appear amongst what are supposed to be the "neighbors", who are rubbernecking a denizen of their turf being carted off on a gurney. The neighborhood is Telegraph Hill, San Fran.- thought to myself: "why aren't these guys in the Haight-Ashbury?"- brcause they wanted to be in the movie!
Also, it has George C. Scott giving his usual great performance. And Julie Christie is believeably kooky.
Buy this one, man- one of the greatest all-time of celluloid creations. For real.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Cold Eye Cast on The Summer of Love Feb. 7 2000
Format:VHS Tape
There's an oft-repeated list of breakthrough films from the 1960's that contains the great: Dr. Strangelove, Point Blank, Bonnie & Clyde, Blow Up; the good: The Graduate, Midnight Cowboy; and the unwatchable: Easy Rider. But never Petulia! Why? Richard Lester's dazzling arsenal of jump-cuts, flash-forwards and flash-backs--used to comic effect in A Hard Day's Night and The Knack--are harnassed to a scathing and ahead-of-its-time analysis of various San Franciscans during the Summer of Love. I've seen the film at various times over 30 years and I still catch throwaway visuals and verbal asides that add resonance to the story. The performances are pitch perfect--with Julie Christie proving that no star since Audrey Hepburn combined beauty, talent and mystery in quite the same way. The cameos capture the city during that pivotal summer: Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Grateful Dead in performance; Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir taunting Petulia as she's carried into an ambulance; Howared Hesseman--later of TV's WKRP, giving George C. Scott the stoned treatment as he wanders around chilling looking, faceless Daly City. This doesn't celebrate the dawning of the Age of Aquarius--it dissects it, damns it, and, oddly enough, ends up finding some heart beneath the cool. It's a '60s classic that's aged as beautifully as, say, Bonnie & Clyde, which is the fate of very few "breakthrough" films.
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5.0 out of 5 stars MASTERPIECE OF FILM MAKING Nov. 20 2003
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
All the other reviews printed here confirm my long lasting enthuasm for "Petulia". I have screened it at least twice each year since the tape was released.
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Barbara Turner's Break-Thru Screenplay
I saw PETULIA years ago & although I remembered liking it very much, I don't really think I "got it" before. Read more
Published on Jan. 9 2004 by Jan Lisa Huttner
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST For Christie Fans
This is a movie that works extremely well on video.
The action moves back & forth...endless flashbacks etc... Read more
Published on Jan. 20 2001 by Peter Shilpot Freeman
5.0 out of 5 stars INCREDIBLE!
This move changed my life, and almost single-handedly propelled me into a career in film. If nothing else, it validates Richard Lester as an artist ahead of his time, honors... Read more
Published on April 18 2000 by ilan
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern masterpiece
This movie is incredible and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in an adult story, told by a director and a cast at the top of their craft. Read more
Published on Dec 14 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Richard Lester's best film
Petulia is one of the key films of the '60's. Compare this with anything by Nick Roeg to see why Richard Lester is a truly influential artist. Read more
Published on Oct. 15 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars George was one of the greats
Like the reviewer below me, I immediately thought of Petulia when I heard of George C. Scott's passing. His character in this film is one of his more likable portraits. Read more
Published on Oct. 3 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece.
Richard Lester's best film, better even than his incredible THE KNACK...AND HOW TO GET IT (which you need to see).
George C. Read more
Published on Sept. 23 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars penultmiate San Francisco in the 60's
Petulia gives a glimpse of San Francisco in the 60's that has almost never been captured on film. Lester gives a number of delicious touches--Janis Joplin performing at the... Read more
Published on Aug. 8 1999 by david@health-access.org
5.0 out of 5 stars Lester's Brilliant Portrait of Swinging 60s
Julie Christie gives one of the best performances of her career in this intoxicatingly fascinating motion picture, filled with complex relationships and startling imagery.George C. Read more
Published on July 12 1999
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