Petulia (1968, Spousal abuse adultery drama) – 6/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Richard Lester
Producer: Raymond Wagner
Julie Christie: Petulia
George C. Scott: Archie
Richard Chamberlain: David
Arthur Hill: Barney
Shirley Knight: Polo
Pippa Scott: May
Kathleen Widdoes: Wilma
Joseph Cotten: Mr. Danner
Music Composer And Conductor: John Barry
Writer (Screenplay): Lawrence B. Marcus
Writer (Original Novel): John Haase
Writer (Adaptation): Barbara Turner
Director of Photography: Nicolas Roeg

Petulia (1968)

A beautiful socialite insists on having an affair with a doctor but it’s not provoked by lust.


While certainly intriguing enough, this is typical of all Richard Lester movies: it feels a lot longer than it is. George C. Scott seems out-of-place as Julie Christie hurls herself sexually at him. She’s great and so is the equally great-looking Richard Chamberlain as her husband. With the exception of the luminous Christie and “beautiful” Chamberlain, the movie feels poorly photographed but it was clearly deliberate. The story is presented in a non-linear manner but the writers and director are way behind the audience. That said, it does feature the still-uncommon topic of spousal abuse and the nature of the affair is surprisingly convincing in it’s staccato confusion. I also liked that the hospital nuns drove a Porsche.

This movie contains sexual swear words, adult dialogue and gory and unpleasant scenes and sexuality.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.


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