Buster and Billie (1974)

R | 98 or 100 mins | Drama | 1974

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HISTORY

According to studio production notes from AMPAS library files, writer Ron Turbeville based the film’s characters on people he knew in high school, specifically a girl he dated who was known as a “gang-bang.” Turbeville stated that the girl was abused by her parents, had no clothes and was starved for attention. He noted that similar girls were ubiquitous in American high schools.
       Various contemporary sources, including Box on 17 Dec 1973, referred to the film’s working title, Black Creek Billie . The name appears at the beginning of the picture as graffiti in the boys’ bathroom.
       A news item in Var on 24 Oct 1973 announced that Columbia Pictures acquired distribution rights to the film for $650,000 and reported a $400,000 profit for producer Ted Mann. However, Box stated that the budget for the picture was $350,000.
       The film was shot on location in Statesboro, Georgia. Director Daniel Petrie told Box that he was lured to this location by Georgia’s Motion Picture and Television Advisory Committee, an organization established by former Georgia Governor, President Jimmy Carter. According to the article, the production team selected Georgia from five other Southern states because of the cooperation of the Committee, which helped scout locations and facilitated shooting arrangements.
       Box noted that aside from the featured actors in the film, the remaining characters were cast with Statesboro locals. Studio production notes stated that there were only ten professional actors in the cast and added that some Statesboro townspeople played themselves. The principal actors were taken to ... More Less

According to studio production notes from AMPAS library files, writer Ron Turbeville based the film’s characters on people he knew in high school, specifically a girl he dated who was known as a “gang-bang.” Turbeville stated that the girl was abused by her parents, had no clothes and was starved for attention. He noted that similar girls were ubiquitous in American high schools.
       Various contemporary sources, including Box on 17 Dec 1973, referred to the film’s working title, Black Creek Billie . The name appears at the beginning of the picture as graffiti in the boys’ bathroom.
       A news item in Var on 24 Oct 1973 announced that Columbia Pictures acquired distribution rights to the film for $650,000 and reported a $400,000 profit for producer Ted Mann. However, Box stated that the budget for the picture was $350,000.
       The film was shot on location in Statesboro, Georgia. Director Daniel Petrie told Box that he was lured to this location by Georgia’s Motion Picture and Television Advisory Committee, an organization established by former Georgia Governor, President Jimmy Carter. According to the article, the production team selected Georgia from five other Southern states because of the cooperation of the Committee, which helped scout locations and facilitated shooting arrangements.
       Box noted that aside from the featured actors in the film, the remaining characters were cast with Statesboro locals. Studio production notes stated that there were only ten professional actors in the cast and added that some Statesboro townspeople played themselves. The principal actors were taken to the town before production started to study the local culture and dialect.
       Props and wardrobe were also authentic to Statesboro, as described in production notes. A clothing store had dead stock from the 1940s and a local merchant provided the entire contents of a Statesboro grocery store that he purchased during that era. Vintage cars were rented or donated by residents.
       On 1 Jun 1973, a DV news item announced that principal photography was complete. Box reported on 26 Jun 1973 that the shooting schedule included thirty days in and around Statesboro, Brunswick and St. Simons Island, Georgia.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
25 Jun 1973.
---
Box Office
17 Dec 1973.
---
Box Office
24 Jun 1974
p. 4699.
Daily Variety
1 Jun 1973.
---
Daily Variety
17 Oct 1973.
---
Daily Variety
20 Nov 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jun 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Nov 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 1974
p. 3, 9.
LAHExam
11 Oct 1974.
---
Los Angeles Times
9 Oct 1974
Section IV, p. 11.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
19 Jun 1974
p. 6.
New York Times
22 Aug 1974
p. 28.
Newsweek
15 Jul 1974
p. 83.
Time
16 Sep 1974
p. 7.
Variety
24 Oct 1973.
---
Variety
12 Jun 1974
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Asst cam
Gaffer
Elec
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Standby painter
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Mus supv
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd eff ed
Rerec mixer
Boom op
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Title des
Titles opticals & processing by
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to the prod
Asst to the prod
Prod coord
Helicopter pilot
Casting
Prod secy
Scr supv
Set operations
Set operations
Set operations
Set operations
Transportation
Loc equip by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Billie's Theme," written and performed by Hoyt Axton
"Anytime," words and music by Herbert "Happy" Lawson
"Lightnin' Bar Blues," words and music by Hoyt Axton
+
SONGS
"Billie's Theme," written and performed by Hoyt Axton
"Anytime," words and music by Herbert "Happy" Lawson
"Lightnin' Bar Blues," words and music by Hoyt Axton
"Hillbilly Gal," words and music by Claude Casey and Troy L. Martin
"Long Lonesome Road," words and music by Claude Casey.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
1974
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 21 August 1974
Los Angeles opening: 9 October 1974
Copyright Claimant:
Ted Mann Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
12 June 1974
Copyright Number:
LP50096
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Consolidated Film Industries
Lenses/Prints
Camera and lenses by Panavision, Inc.
Duration(in mins):
98 or 100
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1948, a school bus drives through the Georgia countryside, picking up kids on the way to Greenwood High School. Buster Lane races past in his pickup truck. Convening in the boys’ restroom, Buster encourages his albino friend Whitey to invite his love interest, Sally, on a double date that evening, but implies that the girl is undesirable. After school, Buster meets his girlfriend, Margie Hooks, and Sally, her best friend. When Sally says she refused Whitey, Buster makes fun of her and provokes a fight with Margie. Buster offers Whitey a ride and speeds to overtake the school bus. Playing pool at Jake’s country store, Buster bets against his classmate Smitty and wins, then buys beer for his supporters. As Smitty and Warren leave, they announce that they’re going to have sex with Billie, the town tramp. The boys eagerly join them, but Buster stays behind and tells Jake that sex should be private. Buster explains that he’s engaged to be married if he is able to graduate when Margie calls him at the store and apologizes for their fight over Sally. Waiting at Margie’s house, he tells her father that things are looking up on his farm. The couple heads to Black Creek to make out in Buster’s truck. When Margie insists on keeping her virginity until they are married, Buster becomes frustrated. In his attempt to persuade her, he refers to a doctor’s article about men who are not able to fulfill their sexual anticipation and die young from kidney problems. Meanwhile, in the woods, Whitey lies on top of Billie and the ... +


In 1948, a school bus drives through the Georgia countryside, picking up kids on the way to Greenwood High School. Buster Lane races past in his pickup truck. Convening in the boys’ restroom, Buster encourages his albino friend Whitey to invite his love interest, Sally, on a double date that evening, but implies that the girl is undesirable. After school, Buster meets his girlfriend, Margie Hooks, and Sally, her best friend. When Sally says she refused Whitey, Buster makes fun of her and provokes a fight with Margie. Buster offers Whitey a ride and speeds to overtake the school bus. Playing pool at Jake’s country store, Buster bets against his classmate Smitty and wins, then buys beer for his supporters. As Smitty and Warren leave, they announce that they’re going to have sex with Billie, the town tramp. The boys eagerly join them, but Buster stays behind and tells Jake that sex should be private. Buster explains that he’s engaged to be married if he is able to graduate when Margie calls him at the store and apologizes for their fight over Sally. Waiting at Margie’s house, he tells her father that things are looking up on his farm. The couple heads to Black Creek to make out in Buster’s truck. When Margie insists on keeping her virginity until they are married, Buster becomes frustrated. In his attempt to persuade her, he refers to a doctor’s article about men who are not able to fulfill their sexual anticipation and die young from kidney problems. Meanwhile, in the woods, Whitey lies on top of Billie and the boys tell him to hurry. Back at school on Monday, the bus driver challenges Buster to a fight over his driving antics. Although Buster tells the man that he might not be able to graduate if he’s found fighting, he knocks the bus driver over with his car door and kicks him in the head. As the crowd disperses, Billie looks at Buster admiringly. In the bathroom, Buster’s friends encourage him to join the “gang bang boys” but Buster refuses and calls himself the Lone Ranger. After lunch, Buster asks Billie on a date. Buster drives Billie into the woods on Friday night and despite her silence, he unbuttons her shirt. Some time later, Whitey sleeps over at Buster’s house and observes that his friend is troubled. On the way to school, Whitey suggests they go to the coast instead because he has never seen the ocean. The next time Buster takes Billie out, he encourages her to speak but she is too shy. Later, after sitting for class portraits at school, Margie tells Buster she’s excited about their upcoming wedding. The boys get drunk at Jake’s and decide to go after Billie, but discover she is once again away from home. Meanwhile, Buster and Billie are enjoying each other’s company and after he drops her off in the middle of the night, he turns around to ask her to go to church with him. Buster then visits Margie and breaks up with her. The next day at church, Margie, Sally and Buster’s friends watch in shock as he arrives with Billie on his arm. On the way inside the chapel, Buster introduces Billie to the Reverend and explains that even though her parents are not churchgoers, Billie will soon be a member. Afterwards, Buster races his truck through the countryside to Billie’s delight until the vehicle overturns, leaving Buster and Billie unscathed. When Buster returns home that evening, his parents reprimand him for his involvement with Billie but he tells them he loves her. Buster explains that her parents’ abuse lead to her promiscuity because she is starved for affection and his father agrees to support Buster. Back at Jake’s, Buster is shunned. Sometime later, Buster and Billie go swimming in the nude, attend a drive-in movie and watch the sun rise. When Buster gets sick, Billie sits at his bedside and reads him a comic book. In the following days, Buster brings Billie gifts of a dress and cardigan and announces that he’s taking her to Slim Mim’s Jamboree. Buster shows Billie how to dance at the concert, and Margie and Warren attend as a couple. Afterwards, Billie draws the words “I love you” in the dirt with a stick. Time passes and the boys, in a drunken stupor, chase Billie through the woods while Buster works on his farm. Warren knocks her out and the boys rape her. When she scratches Mole in the face, he hits her until she dies. As they stand in the pouring rain, Warren conspires to cover up the killing and tells the boys to meet at Jake’s in a half hour. Back at the country store, Buster wonders where his friends are, then drives through the rain in search of Billie. After finding her body, Buster returns to Jake’s and notices mud on Mole’s boots. Warren suggests a game of pool. Buster hits Warren in the head with a pool cue and repeatedly beats Mole with the cue ball. Whitey tries to restrain him, but Buster throws him on top of the pool table and collapses in tears. Sometime later at the police department, an officer says the only people at Billie’s funeral were Buster’s parents and the reverend. The sheriff expresses regret that he could not let Buster go but says that he could not make an exception because Buster killed his two friends and his bail was not set for his release until earlier that morning. As the sheriff receives reports that local gardens have been excavated, Buster drives his truck to Billie’s gravesite, which is overflowing with the stolen flowers. He sits at her grave, repositions an overturned vase, then walks back toward the flowers in his truck. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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