You’re a Big Boy Now Blu-ray Review

3 Stars Idiosyncratic coming-of-age comedy is not for all tastes.
You're a Big Boy Now

In You’re a Big Boy Now Francis Ford Coppola tries French New Wave comedy on for size.

You're a Big Boy Now (1966)
Released: 08 Jun 1967
Rated: TV-MA
Runtime: 96 min
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Cast: Elizabeth Hartman, Geraldine Page, Rip Torn
Writer(s): David Benedictus, Francis Ford Coppola
Plot: Post-teen virgin moves to New York City, falls for a cold-hearted beauty, then finds true love with a loyal lass.
IMDB rating: 6.0
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: Warner Archive
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: X Hr. X Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Case Type: keep case
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: All
Release Date: 05/14/2024
MSRP: $21.99

The Production: 3/5

Francis Ford Coppola’s You’re a Big Boy Now, his second feature film, is typical of young work: trying lots of different styles to convey a familiar coming-of-age story: slapstick farce, surrealist segues, music video-like interludes, arty cinematography (lots of zooms and hand-held shots) with influences as far-ranging as Italian Neorealism and French New Wave. In its day, it was heralded as something fresh and new, but in retrospect, it seems rather callow and tiresome, redeemed by formidable actors playing cartoonish eccentrics as if they were part of Shakespeare’s canon.

Determined that his coddled nineteen-year-old son Bernard (Peter Kastner) learn to fend for himself in the Big, Bad Apple, New York Public Library overseer I.H. Chanticleer (Rip Torn) sets his mama’s boy up in his own apartment with a landlady (Julie Harris) who’s been instructed by Bernard’s smothering mother (Geraldine Page) to keep her apprised of his every move. On his own for the first time, Bernard enjoys his first tastes of freedom. Pert library assistant Amy Partlett (Karen Black) lets Bernard know she’s interested in him, but in his obsession with all things female, he sets his sights on haughty, unbalanced actress/disco dancer Barbara Darling (Elizabeth Hartman). Trying to get a romance going with his dreamy ideal is tough for a young man who has so many pairs of eyes watching his every move, and Bernard’s experiment with freedom has many ups and downs.

The novel by David Benedictus forms the basis of Francis Ford Coppola’s screenplay, but the world he’s established is a live-action cartoon one with his characters so madly eccentric and otherworldly that the overly familiar story and the quirky characters quickly wear out their welcome. Bernard can’t move a foot without either tripping, spilling something, or doing damage to people or property (admittedly, his klutziness can be momentarily amusing as when he gets caught in the gears of a peep show). Everyone in the story lives on the edge of losing control, and the film’s reasonably brief running time (97 minutes) saves it from exhausting the viewer though it doesn’t inevitably go anywhere we weren’t expecting it to go. Even at this early stage of his career, writer-director Coppola demonstrates his mastery of form. There’s an exhilarating shot from above a box kite as Bernard and his friend Raef del Grado (Tony Bill) enjoy an outing in Central Park, and the panning, tracking photography Coppola employs as Bernard chases after his wayward kite is both fun and free. He also does those Godard-like inserts as characters express their thoughts and dreams. The story takes us all over Manhattan, so we get to revel in the Mays store, the automat, a discotheque, Times Square porn shops, and, of course, the New York Public Library with their assistant librarians on roller skates whizzing around the stacks searching for or returning books in their proper places (Bernard even hitches a ride downstairs on the book dumb waiter). Much of it is a New York that is no more and is greatly nostalgic to see once again.

Though he’s not top-billed, gap-toothed Peter Kastner is front and center as Bernard Chanticleer (and yes, there is a rooster that plays a major comic role in the story). He can do the physical comedy quite well, and he’s fully convincing as a virginal, milk-drinking nebbish who’s naïve to the world. Elizabeth Hartman as the sometimes cruel and always commanding Barbara Darling isn’t quite as adept playing a cartoon femme fatale as her older castmates like Geraldine Page (Oscar-nominated) and Rip Torn who excel at unconventional characters and are the film’s strongest assets. Julie Harris as the rooster-owning landlady of Bernard’s apartment house has a hilarious scene locked in the valuable manuscript vault with Torn and fighting for her honor (Torn doesn’t make a move against her; it’s all in her vivid imagination). Karen Black is introduced in the film and plays sweet Amy Partlett, the character who’s the closest to a living, breathing being. Tony Bill scores occasionally as the pill-popping hipster who takes the gullible Bernard under his wing while Michael Dunn pops up occasionally as Barbara’s playwright and dressing room mate though he vanishes from the film’s second half.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

The movie has been framed at 1.66:1 and is presented in 1080p resolution using the AVC codec. It’s a very clear and clean image that’s being presented here with excellent color and very realistic flesh tones. There are no age-related anomalies like scratches or splices except in the occasional insert taken from another source. The movie has been divided into 22 chapters.

Audio: 5/5

The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono sound mix offers solid fidelity throughout. Dialogue is always easy to understand, and the generous selection of pop songs from John Sebastian and the Lovin’ Spoonful get an expert presentation. There are no problems at all with hiss, pops, crackle, or flutter.

Special Features: 1/5

Theatrical Trailer (3:22, HD)

Overall: 3/5

Francis Ford Coppola’s quirky rendition of a romantic comedy You’re a Big Boy Now may have dated a bit and may wear you out with its idiosyncratic approach and skewed characters, but in light of his later career, it’s an interesting look at some of his early cinematic ideas.

Matt has been reviewing films and television professionally since 1974 and has been a member of Home Theater Forum’s reviewing staff since 2007, his reviews now numbering close to three thousand. During those years, he has also been a junior and senior high school English teacher earning numerous entries into Who’s Who Among America’s Educators and spent many years treading the community theater boards as an actor in everything from Agatha Christie mysteries to Stephen Sondheim musicals.

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Wayne Klein

Supporting Actor
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Mar 9, 2005
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I actually like the movie and don’t feel the technique wears out its welcome. It’s just an ambitious film from a young filmmaker. The technique also takes a story that might be rote in other hands and improves it.
 

Robert Harris

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Feb 8, 1999
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Robert Harris
This is very much a film of its time - Summer 1966.

It was shot on a minuscule budget using practical locations, with interiors shot at the CBS TV studio on W. 26th St in NY, where soaps were shot.
 
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DarkVader

Second Unit
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May 30, 2021
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Carlos
I love that Coppola took a chance and cast Hartman as 'Barbara Darling': a self-absorbed bitch/man-eater, not the type of role that Hartman was usually cast in and she's surprisingly good. On the other side of that coin Karen Black is cast as the sweet ingenue...the first and last time we would ever see her play that kind of part.
 
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