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A recently divorced surgeon begins an ill-fated affair with an unhappily married, woman.
Genre: Feature Film-Comedy
Release Date: 20-JUN-2006
Media Type: DVD
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Top Customer Reviews
"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 ›
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.
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
I saw PETULIA years ago & although I remembered liking it very much, I don't really think I "got it" before. Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2004 by Jan Lisa Huttner
This is a movie that works extremely well on video.
The action moves back & forth...endless flashbacks etc... Read more
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 morePublished on April 18 2000 by ilan
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 morePublished on Dec 14 1999
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 morePublished on Oct. 15 1999
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 morePublished on Oct. 3 1999