Sunday, January 07, 2007

TRUE romance

«True Romance» was Tarantino`s first script. He originally wrote it for himself, but made his buddy Roger Avary as his partner.

When the script first was tendered, no one would touch it. Largely because of the controversial dialogue- racist utterings and extreme violence. The movie was since restructured in a more linear format for shooting, and the raw ending was changed. The original script structure meant that an unsuspecting innocent reading for the first time could certainly be hit in the face with some provocative material.

On pages 1 and 2, for example, there was a debate on whether one would or would not have homosexual sex with Elvis.

Also in the first script Clarence died. A bullet hit him in his eye.

These things and many other was changed in the new script. Into a lighter version.

« True romance» is like any other Quentin Tarantino films, full of famous actors. Names like: Christian Slater, Val Kilmer and Samuel L. Jackson. Some of these actors even have small, minor roles.

«True Romance» is Tarantino`s most personal film. The hero in the movie Clarence Worley is a total movie kid, according to Tarantino, lives and breathes movies, positively revelling in trash culture along the way. Tarantino himself loves movies and all this stuff Clarence love. Through Clarence, Tarantino is able to indulge his obsessions- Elvis, kung- fu movies, and junk food.

Unlike the violence in for example. «Reservoir Dogs» where you have this long build up before the violence actually take action, the violence in «True Romance» is just on you and it`s over.

Critically «True Romance» was generally well- received. For example: `Dynamite. A full throttle blast of action and fireworks, a savagely funny thrill ride, `said Rolling Stone.


The Story

The Characters

Additional Material

The Story
It’s his birthday, and as usual the Detroit movie- nerd Clarence Worley is at the movies to see a kung- fu triple- feature. His boss on the comic book store has ordered a rookie hooker for his birthday. A girl named Alabama Whitman. Alabama walks through the doors with her bounty of food. She makes a quick scan of the theatre. Not many people are there. She makes a beeline for the front, which happens to be Clarence's area of choice. She picks the row of seats just behind Clarence and starts asking her way down it. Clarence turns and sees this beautiful girl all alone moving towards him. He turns his attention back to the screen, trying not to be so obvious. When Alabama gets right behind Clarence, her foot thunks a discarded wine bottle, causing her to trip and spill her popcorn over Clarence. Clarence tries to wipe her out of his mind, which isn't easy, and get back into the movie. They both watch the screen for a moment. Then, Alabama leans forward and taps Clarence on the shoulder.

The theatre light goes up. Alabama's now sitting in the next seat to Clarence. They're both applauding.

Clarence and Alabama are sitting in a booth at an all-night Denny's. Clarence is having a piece of chocolate cream pie and a coke. Alabama's nibbling on a peace of heated apple pie and sipping on a large Tab.

Later Clarence has taken Alabama to where he works. It's a comic book store called Heroes For Sale. Alabama thinks this place is super-cool.

Clarence's bedroom is a pop culture explosion. Movie posters, pictures of Elvis, anything you can imagine. The two walk through the door. Clarence and Alabama slow dance in the middle of his room to Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart". Clarence wakes up in his bed, alone. He looks around, and no Alabama. Then he hears crying in the distance. He puts on a robe and investigates. She's curled up in a chair crying. Clarence approaches her. She tries to compose herself. She says she’s a call-girl. This doesn’t seem to bother Clarence since asks her to be his wife.

The newlyweds are snuggling up together on the couch watching TV. Alabama watches the screen, but every so often she looks down to admire the ring on her hand.

In the bathroom Clarence splashes water on his face, trying to wash away the images that keep polluting his mind. Then, he hears a familiar voice. Clarence turns and sees that the voice belongs to Elvis Presley. Clarence isn't surprised to see him. He looks at Elvis. Elvis which is Clarence fantasy- person makes Clarence go to Alabama’s pimp to pick up her things. Clarence sticks a gun down his athletic sock.

His heart's really racing now. He climbs a flight of stairs and makes his way down a dark hallway to apartment 22, the residence of Drexl Spivey. Clarence knocks on the door. A figure jumps in the doorway wearing a yellow T-shirt. This is not how Clarence expected to confront Drexl, but this is exactly what he expected Drexl to be like. He positions himself in front of the food table, demanding Drexl's attention. He says he’s going to pick up Alabama’s things. Clarence takes out an envelope and throws it on the table. Drexl drops his chopsticks and opens the envelope. It's empty. Drexl starts slamming fists into Clarence's face. He’s on the top of him. Drexl bends down and looks for Clarence's wallet in his jacket. He flips it open to driver's license. He hands Marty the driver's license. Marty goes to get the car keys and a jacket. He’s going to pick up Alabama. While Drexl has his attention turned to Marty, Clarence reaches into his sock and pulls out the .38. he sticks the barrel between Drexl's legs. Drexl, who's standing over Clarence, looks down just in time to see Clarence pull the trigger and blow his balls to bits. Tiny spots of blood speckle Clarence's face. Clarence doesn't hesitate, he shoots Marty four times in the chest.

A hooker handles a suitcase to Clarence. Alabamas things. Clarence's forgotten his driver's license in Marty's bloody hand.

When Clarence gets back to Alabama and opens the suitcase they both get a surprise. The suitcase is full of cocaine. They are now leaving to Hollywood to sell the drug. On their way, they drop by Clarence father Cliff. They haven’t met eachother for four years, but after a short visit, they continue their little trip.

When the couple reached Hollywood, they visited Clarence friend, Dick. He has a friend that can help them sell the cocaine. A meeting is arranged.

Meantime some bad- guys have found Clarence drivers- licence. They pay his father a visit. Concotti and his men are just about to get friends with Cliff, when he starts telling this story about how Sicilians became niggers. Concotti can’t stand this story and sends three bullets in Cliff’s head.

Alabama is also in trouble while Clarence is trying to sell the cocaine. When she’s just about to die, she manages to get herself on her feet. Picks up a shotgun and kills the bad-guy. Clarence finds Alabama bloody on the motelroom. They clean her up, and leaves to finish the deal.

When they finally is about to finish the deal with the byers, the cops storms the room. Dicks friend Elliot has told the police all about this deal. Not long after the bad- guys enter the room. Unknown of this, Clarence is on the bathroom. When he comes out of the bathroom, have the gunfight between the cops and the bad- guys started. In the middle of this Clarence gets hit. Alabama thinks his dead, but he has just got a scratch beside his left eye. They both survived.

Since all the other is dead, Clarence and Alabama can just walk out of the room with all the money. They drive into the sunlight with a suitcase filled with money.

The Characters
Clarence Worley: Clarence is a total movie kid. He`s in the twenties and he loves Elvis, kung-fu movies and junk food. He doesn’t kill of his own accord, he does it on instructions imparted by the ghost of Elvis Presley. When he looks in the mirror, he sees the ghost of Elvis, and Elvis helps Clarence with different problems. Clarence kills because he`s seen it in the movies. He`s seen a zillion movies about pimps beating up whores. Clarence is very human, but part of the thing, though, is that he`s had as much a brush with this kind a stuff as anybody else. Everything he knows about this, he knows through seeing movies and when he goes to take out Drexl, you know he`s like a guy in a movie, he`s thinking of himself as coming in there and kicking ass and doing what a movie hero does. Through Alabama he has found his soul mate.

Alabama Whitman: Alabama has an undisclosed past. She has the same interests as Clarence. She loves movies, especially kung- fu movies. She has been a whore for four days or four clients before she meets Clarence. These four days is long enough for her to pick up a vicious pimp. Alabama is forced to kill one of the bad guys, when she’s just about to get killed herself

The Elvis ghost: The ghost Clarence sees when he looks in the mirror. He is a fantasy person. Gives instructions to Clarence when he’s going to kill the pimp. The ghost helps Clarence with different problems. He’s a symbol of Clarence mind. Everytime Elvis end his conversation with Clarence, he close it with; «Clarence, I like ya. Always have, always will.»

Drexl Spivey: Drexl is Alabamas pimp. He has spent ten years of his life i Jamaica and he has a sort of half rasta, half Queens accent. He’s the real owner of the drug Clarence mistakenly drags with him.

Clifford Worley: Clarence father. He’s a cop, and he has several years behind him as a alcoholic. Cliff hasn’t talked to Clarence for several years. He gets killed when he helps Clarence by not telling the bad- guys where he is. An unpopular story about how Sicilians became Negroes, ended his life. What a way to go!!

Additional Material
The Elvis ghost and Clarence

Clarence is a Elvis fan, and when Clarence is in trouble or need help with something, Elvis help him. All of the things Elvis say are in Clarence`s head. Elvis is a symbol to visualise his thinking process, and when he looks in the mirror, he can see Elvis walking around saying the things Clarence thinks. All the things Elvis say, will Clarence do.

This is the part before Clarence goes to Drexl’s place:

Clarence splashes water on his face, trying to wash away the images that keep polluting his mind. Then, he hears a familiar voice. Clarence turns and sees that the voice belongs to Elvis Presley. Clarence isn't surprised to see him.

Time and place

The story takes place in Detroit in the early nineties, it is here Clarence meet Alabama, and it`s here both of them lives. After the killing and the switching with the bags. Alabamas clothes and the cocaine. They hit the road to Hollywood where most of the story takes place. We get a view of different places they visits in the Detroit an Hollywood areas.

The theme

The theme is quite clear. I think the title of the movie says it all. True romance. Clarence and Alabama fall in love with eachother. Clarence is willing to do anything for Alabama. He is so in love with her that he even kills to make her free. He does all these things just for his love for Alabama.

The same with Alabama. Even though Clarence has dragged Alabama into a lot of problems, she still loves him. In the end Alabama says this to Clarence when she thinks he is dead


I could have walked away. I told you that. I told you I could have walked away. This is not my fault. I did not do this. You did this one hundred percent to yourself. I'm not gonna give you the satisfaction of feeling bad. I should laugh 'cause you don't deserve any better. I could get another guy like that. I'm hot looking'. What are you? Dead! Dumb jerk. Asshole. You're a asshole, you're a asshole, you're a asshole. You wanted it all, didn't ya? Didn't ya? Well watcha got now? You ain't got the money. You ain't got me. You ain't even got your body anymore. You got nothing'. Nada. Zip. Goose egg. Nil. Donut.


There is also initiation in this story. Both Clarence and Alabama starts with this nice personality, but after Clarence unfortunately visit at Drexl’s place all of this change. Clarence drags Alabama with him in the mess he made by killing Drexl, and by taking the drug in stead of Alabama’s clothes. They run away with the drug to sell it, and later does also Alabama have to kill. The nice persons in the beginning are suddenly not so nice anymore.

The language

The language in this movie is like all the other Tarantino movies tough. Even if the first script was changed, the language is hard. This is a romantic movie, but the language doesn’t help proving this at all. Hard language and conversations between the couple indicates that this is a different romance movie.

The ending

Parts of the movie are pretty raw for a romantic movie to be, but the ending is so romantic that you almost forget how raw it really is. Clarence doesn’t die and the happy couple drives into the sunlight with a briefcase full with money.

Like I mentioned the ending at the first script was to bloody for anyone to touch it. Her is a part of the ending at the first script.

Alabama breaks down and starts crying. She pulls the car over to the side. The song continues. She wipes her eyes with a napkin that she pulls out her jacket. She tosses it on the dashboard. She picks up the .38 and sticks it in her mouth. She pulls back hammer. She looks up and sees her reflection in the rear-view mirror. She turns it the other way. She looks straight ahead. Her finger tightens on the trigger.


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