george c. scott and julie christie star in director richard lester's 1968 masterwork petulia, which arrives on DVD June 28.
Like anyone, George C. Scott seems to be having trouble taking his eyes off Julie Christie in Petulia.

RICHARD LESTER: "I'm very, very uncomfortable with sentimentality. I can't say that I'm totally anti-romantic, but I suspect you'll have to ask my wife—and I'll make sure our time's up before she comes to the phone. Suffice it to say, I don't mind romanticism. I think there are elements of romanticism in Petulia, but I'm not a sentimental person. I think that's fair to say." [A.V. Club, 2007]

George C. Scott plays a doctor who finds himself going down the rabbit hole in San Francisco during the Summer of Love in Petulia.
George C. Scott plays a doctor who finds himself going down the rabbit hole in San Francisco during the Summer of Love in Petulia.

RICHARD LESTER: "I was very concerned with those three [How I Won the War, Petulia and The Bed-Sitting Room] that they didn’t reach an audience. I was proud of those three, as you well know; and films, I think, are successful or are failures based mainly on the number of people who see them. I’m certainly pleased that I made those three films, and maybe in my own deluded way I never imagined that Petulia would appeal to that small an audience. When approaching a film, I find myself so wrapped up in the subject, so dedicated to it, and so convinced of the purpose of making it that I approach every film with the feeling that 'Yes, this is going to be a work a lot of people are going to be interested in and it’s going to serve a useful purpose.'" [Movietone News, 1976]

Fortunately, since its release in 1968 and those last remarks from Lester a decade later, Petulia has indeed found a much larger audience as we approach its 50th birthday. And with Tuesday's release of the DVD and its availability on digital in this new world order, even more movie fans (and cinematic time-capsule fanatics) will have the chance to see this groundbreaking film in all its colorful and dramatic glory.

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