True Romance

True Romance is an American motion picture released in 1993, directed by Tony Scott and written by Quentin Tarantino. It stars Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette in an ensemble cast; the film contains notable performances by some seasoned actors along with early appearances by later stars. It is billed as a "love story", albeit an unconventional one, as the plot revolves around drugs and violence. Clarence Worley (Slater) and Alabama (Arquette) attempt to start a new life for themselves using cocaine stolen from Alabama's former pimp and find themselves on the run from the Mafia, ending in a dramatic double-crossing when the police get involved.

True Romance was a breakthrough of sorts for Tarantino. It was his first screenplay, and he had hoped to direct the movie himself, but ended up selling the script: the money from the sale enabled Tarantino to direct Reservoir Dogs.

Also notable is the film's score, by Hans Zimmer: its leitmotif is based on a familiar piece by Carl Orff.

Clarence Worley (Slater) is watching a Sonny Chiba triple feature in a theater on his birthday when Alabama (Arquette) walks in late and sits directly behind him. She proceeds to dump popcorn all over him, then jumps in the seat next to him and asks what she has missed in the movie. They leave playfully joking around seemingly enjoying one another's company. Alabama invites Clarence for pie. They go to the diner and get to know each other. After taking Alabama to see his place of work, a comic book store, they then go back to Clarence's place and make love. When Clarence wakes up, he sees Alabama sitting outside. She confesses to him that she is a call girl, set up for him by his boss, and confesses her love for him. Clarence is in love with her as well - and they proceed to get married the next day.

Clarence has a vision that Elvis Presley (Val Kilmer) convinces him that he needs to get rid of Alabama's pimp. He decides to pay a visit to Alabama's former pimp, Drexl (Gary Oldman), to get her belongings. Clarence refuses Drexl's offer to sit down, instead handing him an empty envelope "for his conscience". A fight breaks out, and Clarence is swiftly subdued by Drexl and his doorman Marty. Drexl takes Clarence's driver's license and orders Marty to drive to his address and collect Alabama. While he is distracted, Clarence pulls a concealed gun and shoots them both. Clarence orders Drexl's other girls to pack up Alabama's things, and then escapes (unknowningly leaving his ID behind).

Clarence gets back he finds that he has taken the wrong suitcase: the one he now has is full of cocaine. Clarence and Alabama then visit Clarence's estranged father (Dennis Hopper), a former cop. Clarence asks him to find out if the police are looking for him; his father reports that the crime has been resolved as a gang warfare incident. Clarence departs on good terms, telling his father that he is leaving for California to visit his friend Dick (Michael Rapaport) in Hollywood. However, Clarence's lost ID allows Drexl's Mob employer, Vincent Coccotti (Christopher Walken), to track down Clarence's father and obtain Clarence's whereabouts.

In Hollywood, Clarence shows Dick the cocaine and arranges through Dick's friend Elliot (Bronson Pinchot) to meet with an esteemed movie producer named Lee Donowitz (Saul Rubinek), who is interested in purchasing it. They meet Elliot at a theme park; the discussions with Elliot make Clarence uncomfortable, so he has Elliot call Donowitz, whom Clarence arranges to meet. Elliot asks for sample and goes on a cruise; Elliot is caught in possession by the police, and detectives Nicholson (Tom Sizemore) and Dimes (Chris Penn) convince Elliot to tell them about Clarence's upcoming deal; he offers to wear a wire at the meeting in order to stay out of jail.

Virgil (James Gandolfini), one of Coccotti's men, tracks Clarence and Alabama down to the Hollywood Safari Inn from Floyd (Brad Pitt). When Alabama arrives alone while Clarence is getting hamburgers, Virgil attempts to beat the suitcase's location out of her. After tearing the room apart Virgil eventually finds the coke under the bed; as Virgil prepares to finish her off, Alabama manages to subdue him with improvised weaponry, grab his gun and kill him; when Clarence arrives he and Alabama flee with the cocaine.

At the meeting, Donowitz (protected by a pair of heavily armed guards) buys Clarence's story and agrees to make the deal. When Clarence goes to the bathroom, the police burst in to make the arrest. Lee's bodyguards hate cops and want to kill them; as the intensity builds, Coccotti's men then enter the room demanding their coke back. When one of the officers uses Elliot's name, Donowitz realizes Elliot is working with the police. In a moment of anger, Donowitz splashes a pot of hot coffee in Elliot's face and everyone starts firing. In the ensuing chaos, Donowitz, Elliot and the majority of the cops and mobsters are killed. Clarence walks out of the bathroom and is shot in the eye. Dick throws the suitcase of cocaine in the air, allowing him enough time to escape. In the aftermath, Alabama is able to revive Clarence and get him out of the room which is about to be covered in cops. They grab the money, escape the police and get away. The movie ends with Clarence and Alabama on a beach in Cancún with their new son Elvis.

The script for Natural Born Killers had been sold when Tarantino was introduced to director Tony Scott. Tarantino was a big fan of Scott's The Last Boy Scout. Scott read both True Romance and Reservoir Dogs and wanted to direct both, but Tarantino was already set to direct Reservoir Dogs, so Scott took the other. Other than the ending (Clarence was shot dead during the climactic Mexican Standoff in the script) and the ordering of the scenes, Scott's film uses Tarantino's original script.

Originally the screenplay began with the same "I'd fuck Elvis" scene, set before the opening credits, as the release. But the first scene in Tarantino's script is the scene where Drexl steals the cocaine. After that, the next scene was Clarence and Alabama showing up at Clarence's father home, from which point the scene order is the same up to where Clarence and Alabama meet Dick, which ends Act I. Dick asks how they met, which leads to the theater scene, marriage, and killing of Drexl and mistaken stealing of the cocaine. Act III begins with the scene where Dick sees the cocaine, after which the scripts converge.

Tarantino, in the commentary on the unrated director's cut DVD, mentions how this structure to the three acts results in the characters in the movie knowing everything in Act I while the audience doesn't know anything; the audience catches up in Act II, and the audience knows more than the characters in Act III.

A number of dialogue ideas in the film are refined in subsequent Tarantino scripts. For example in the fairground scene Clarence questions Elliot with "Do I look like a beautiful blond with big tits and an ass that tastes like French vanilla ice-cream?" - a rhetorical trick played out once more in Pulp Fiction when Jules questions the young men with the briefcase as to whether Marsellus Wallace is a woman. The 'Tasty burger' lines also bear a resemblance to Pulp Fiction.


* Christian Slater - Clarence Worley
* Patricia Arquette - Alabama Whitman
* Dennis Hopper - Clifford Worley
* Val Kilmer - Elvis, Mentor
* Gary Oldman - Drexl Spivey
* Brad Pitt - Floyd
* Christopher Walken - Vincenzo Coccotti
* Bronson Pinchot - Elliot Blitzer
* Michael Rapaport - Dick Ritchie
* Samuel L. Jackson - Big Don
* Saul Rubinek - Lee Donowitz
* Conchata Ferrel - Mary Louise
* James Gandolfini - Virgil
* Anna Thomson - Lucy
* Victor Argo - Lenny
* Paul Bates - Marty
* Chris Penn - Nicky Dimes
* Tom Sizemore - Cody Nicholson

True Romance is notable for its ensemble cast. Featured actors who were popular at the time of production include Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken, Val Kilmer, Gary Oldman and Samuel L. Jackson. Other actors featured had yet to achieve the peak of their fame at the time, including Brad Pitt and James Gandolfini. Jack Black had a role as a movie theater attendant in a deleted scene.

Notably, some of the appearances by the supporting cast are very brief. Christopher Walken appears in only one scene, but gives a very memorable speech (as he would do in Tarantino's Pulp Fiction); Val Kilmer's face is never even seen in focus; Samuel L. Jackson's part was mostly edited out, though the full performance is included as a deleted scene on the 2-disc unrated director's cut DVD. Brad Pitt's character, in his few scenes, is never sober.

Allusion is a device prevalent in much of Tarantino’s work, and True Romance is certainly no exception. The “ready to negotiate” scene, where Clarence confronts Drexel, is particularly rich in allusion. Most obvious is the film The Mack, which is playing in the background and whose themes of drugs, violence, and pimping not only offer insight into the psychology of Drexel (and Clarence, who apparently knows the film well) but also echo similar themes in True Romance. The scene also manages to nest one allusion inside another when Clarence makes a decidedly bold proposal and Drexel satirizes his moxie by referring to him as the famously tough “Charlie Bronson, Mr. Majestyk.” This explicit allusion is also made in Kill Bill Volume 2, where a Mr. Majestyk poster hangs on a wall, but more subtly, the Bronson reference also recalls a scene in Once Upon a Time in the West, where Bronson and Jason Robards, like Clarence and Drexel, employ a swinging lamp in their face off. Hamlet also figures heavily in True Romance, a fact viewers are cued into by the phrase “something rotten in Denmark,” which appears twice in the film. Numerous more or less direct parallels can be drawn: a protagonist haunted and compelled by a ghost (Hamlet by the King of Denmark, Clarence by the King of Graceland); action climaxing in an epically entangled Mexican standoff (like Hamlet, Clarence dies in Tarantino’s script); the murder of the protagonist’s father; as well as overt elements of metatheatre and betrayal. Other allusions figuring into “True Romance” are T.J. Hooker, Freejack, Apocalypse Now, and Dr. Zhivago. TJ Hooker to Hamlet: this sort of allusional pastiche, along with the intertextuality of its Bonnie and Clyde and Hamlet redux themes make True Romance an inviting text for postmodern and poststructuralist critical treatment.

Clarence's father, Clifford Worley (Dennis Hopper), is paid an unwelcome visit by Vincent Coccotti (Christopher Walken), consigliere to a Mafia boss named "Blue" Lou Boyle. Coccotti questions Worley as to the whereabouts of Clarence and the missing narcotics. Clifford realizes during the interrogation that he will be killed regardless of how he answers. Apparently to deliberately provoke and enrage Coccotti, Worley brings up a history of the ancestry of Sicilians. Worley is allegedly quoting history (but in reality an urban legend) on the claim of Sicilian people having Black people's ancestry through the Moors (who themselves were not "black," but of Arab lineage), or, as Hopper puts it in the movie: "Sicilians were spawned by niggers." This speech is the precursor to Worley's death.

This scene has been nominated by Tarantino himself (on the True Romance Unrated Director's Cut DVD commentary) as one of his proudest moments. "I had heard that whole speech about the Sicilians a long time ago, from a black guy living in my house. One day I was talking with a friend who was Sicilian and I just started telling that speech. And I thought: “Wow, that is a great scene, I gotta remember that.”

In an interview with MOJO magazine in September 2006 Walken commented on his genuine friendship with Hopper implying that this helped create the warmth that exists between the otherwise antipathetic characters, "we really like each other, but I kill him anyway." He also expressed admiration for the Tarantino dialogue which was too good to improvise around instead being delivered meticulously as scripted.

On an episode of "Inside the Actors Studio", Hopper was questioned by one of the film students if "the Sicilian scene" was scripted or improvised. After laughing for a moment, Hopper replied that the scene was mostly done as scripted, and the only part that was improvised was the "eggplant" and "cantaloupe" remarks.

This scene has been colloquially named the Sicilian scene and become a cult favorite - and is included in Tarantino's original script.[1] The dialogue from the scene can be found in wikiquote.

* The comic book that Christian Slater's character is shown skimming through at the comic book store is an issue of Marvel Comics' Sleepwalker. Although he provides a description of what is happening in the comic, it is not the actual storyline. The scene was written in the original screenplay to correspond with an issue of Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos.
* Patricia Arquette's character is named Alabama. This is another re-used name in Tarantino's films. In Reservoir Dogs Lawrence Tierney asks Harvey Keitel about an ex-girlfriend and partner with the name Alabama; Mr. White talks about doing jobs with someone named Alabama, says she hooked up with a man named Frank McGarr , he quotes "she's a hell of a woman, and a good little thief."
* Gary Oldman modelled Drexyl's voice on the rapper Ice-T.
* Although Vincent Coccotti (Christopher Walken), admits he serves as consigliere to a Mafia boss named "Blue" Lou Boyle, his men with him referred to him as "Don Vincenzo.
* In the scene at the movies, Christian Slater's character is watching a Sonny Chiba triple-feature, claiming Sonny Chiba to be his favorite actor. Chiba is one of Tarantino's favorite actors, he later appeared in Kill Bill. Tarantino has claimed that Chiba was an inspiration for the film.
* In addition to many scenes being shot in Detroit there are many references to the area. Clarence states that he used to live by the airport while growing up in Dearborn, MI. In reality Dearborn does not border either Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport or the City of Romulus, MI (the city where the airport is located). Dearborn does however lie to the east of the airport about a few cities over.
* The character Clarence Worley is overtly regarded as Quentin Tarantino's onscreen alter-ego.
* Alabama's final voiceover monologue serves as the lyrics of the trance single, "Solar coaster" by Solar Stone.

"I look back and I'm amazed/and my thoughts were so clear and true/that three words went through my mind endlessly/repeating themselves, like a broken record/you're so cool/you're so cool/you're so cool. .."
* Clarence (Christian Slater) says the line "We're gonna spend the rest of our lives spending" in reference to what he and Alabama will do once they sell off their cocaine. In another Tarantino movie, Jackie Brown, Samuel L. Jackson's character says that once he sells all his guns he will "spend the rest of my life spendin."
* In the scene where Clarence drives to Drexl's pad, he pulls out a matchbook with the address '447 E. Montcalm' written on it. The movie then shows footage of Drexl's pad. This is actual footage and the actual address of prostitute establishment that once stood in Detroit. The entire area was demolished and is now home to Detroit's Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers.
* There are also allusions to Badlands, most notably the recurring theme tune and also Alabama's commentary.
* The sunglasses that Christian Slater wears throughout the film are the same ones that Uma Thurman steals from the character 'Buck' in Kill Bill.
* The word fuck was said 234 times throughout this film.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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