Honky (1971)

R | 89 or 92 mins | Drama | November 1971

Full page view
HISTORY

Although a copyright statement appears onscreen for the Getty and Fromkess Picture Corp., the film was not registered for copyright. The picture was originally titled Shelia , the name of the book on which it was based, but according to a Nov 1971 Beverly Hills Citizen article, the name was changed to the more provocative Honky to stir audience interest. That article also stated that Honky had opened in Chicago and Columbus, OH six weeks earlier. As noted in several contemporary sources, scenes were shot on location in Kansas City and throughout Southern California. The picture marked the debuts of both co-star John Neilson and director William A. Graham. The song "Something More," by Quincy Jones and Bradford Craig, received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original ... More Less

Although a copyright statement appears onscreen for the Getty and Fromkess Picture Corp., the film was not registered for copyright. The picture was originally titled Shelia , the name of the book on which it was based, but according to a Nov 1971 Beverly Hills Citizen article, the name was changed to the more provocative Honky to stir audience interest. That article also stated that Honky had opened in Chicago and Columbus, OH six weeks earlier. As noted in several contemporary sources, scenes were shot on location in Kansas City and throughout Southern California. The picture marked the debuts of both co-star John Neilson and director William A. Graham. The song "Something More," by Quincy Jones and Bradford Craig, received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Beverly Hills Citizen
25 Nov 1971
p. 1, 5.
Box Office
29 Nov 1971.
---
Daily Variety
11 Nov 1971.
---
Filmfacts
1971
pp. 689-90.
Hollywood Reporter
1 May 1970
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jun 1970
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Nov 1971
p. 3.
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
24 Nov 1971.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Nov 1971.
---
New York Times
16 Dec 1971.
---
Variety
17 Nov 1971
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Gaffer
Best boy
Key grip
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
COSTUMES
Ward supv
MUSIC
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd eff
VISUAL EFFECTS
Main & end titles by
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod supv
Scr supv
Transportation capt
Loc supv
Unit pub
STAND INS
Stunt gaffer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Shelia by Gunard Solberg (Boston, 1969).
SONGS
"Something More," music by Quincy Jones, lyrics by Bradford Craig, sung by Carlton Dinnall
"Hey Girl," music by Quincy Jones, lyrics by Bradford Craig, sung by Billey Preston
"Train Whistle," music by Quincy Jones, lyrics by Bradford Craig, sung by Birch Corral
+
SONGS
"Something More," music by Quincy Jones, lyrics by Bradford Craig, sung by Carlton Dinnall
"Hey Girl," music by Quincy Jones, lyrics by Bradford Craig, sung by Billey Preston
"Train Whistle," music by Quincy Jones, lyrics by Bradford Craig, sung by Birch Corral
"Out There," music by Quincy Jones, lyrics by Bradford Craig, sung by The Capers.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Shelia
Release Date:
November 1971
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 24 November 1971
Production Date:
early May--mid June 1970 at Samuel Goldwyn Studios
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
DeLuxe
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
89 or 92
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

At a Calvin Coolidge High School pep rally, white student Wayne Divine spots black student Shelia Smith and, smitten, accepts her offer of a marijuana cigarette. Soon, the two are in love, despite malicious comments from both the black and white students. One day in the park, Wayne expresses his desire to travel to California, which Shelia shares. She takes him to a nearby Chinese restaurant, where Wayne is temporarily intimidated by the stares of the other customers, invoking Shelia’s disdain. When she then asks him to help finance a drug deal, Wayne agrees to consider it. At home, Wayne’s middle-class father Archer sneers at what he sees as his son’s hippie mentality and lack of a work ethic. Wayne is continually frustrated that he cannot afford the insurance on his beloved car, despite his weekend jobs, but his father remains unsympathetic. During dinner, when Archer calls civil rights activists “marching coons,” Wayne expresses his disgust, earning his father’s ire. The next day at school, Wayne and Shelia ignore the fire drill, prompting Shelia’s best friend Sharon to upbraid her for ceasing to care about her future. When Wayne then brings up the drug deal to Shelia, she acts disinterested, and soon after, Wayne is caught cutting the fire drill and brought before the principal, who lectures him about his sub-par grades and suspends him for two days. Soon after, Shelia forges Archer’s signature on a bank slip so Wayne can withdraw his money, which they pool with hers in order to have enough to buy the marijuana. Later, when Wayne’s parents leave for a party, he takes his car, which he is forbidden to drive, and heads ... +


At a Calvin Coolidge High School pep rally, white student Wayne Divine spots black student Shelia Smith and, smitten, accepts her offer of a marijuana cigarette. Soon, the two are in love, despite malicious comments from both the black and white students. One day in the park, Wayne expresses his desire to travel to California, which Shelia shares. She takes him to a nearby Chinese restaurant, where Wayne is temporarily intimidated by the stares of the other customers, invoking Shelia’s disdain. When she then asks him to help finance a drug deal, Wayne agrees to consider it. At home, Wayne’s middle-class father Archer sneers at what he sees as his son’s hippie mentality and lack of a work ethic. Wayne is continually frustrated that he cannot afford the insurance on his beloved car, despite his weekend jobs, but his father remains unsympathetic. During dinner, when Archer calls civil rights activists “marching coons,” Wayne expresses his disgust, earning his father’s ire. The next day at school, Wayne and Shelia ignore the fire drill, prompting Shelia’s best friend Sharon to upbraid her for ceasing to care about her future. When Wayne then brings up the drug deal to Shelia, she acts disinterested, and soon after, Wayne is caught cutting the fire drill and brought before the principal, who lectures him about his sub-par grades and suspends him for two days. Soon after, Shelia forges Archer’s signature on a bank slip so Wayne can withdraw his money, which they pool with hers in order to have enough to buy the marijuana. Later, when Wayne’s parents leave for a party, he takes his car, which he is forbidden to drive, and heads to Shelia’s, surprised to discover that she lives in a luxurious home in a wealthy neighborhood. Inside, Wayne meets Shelia’s mother and physician father Craig, and although he finds them kind, she later disdains her father for being “too white” and leaving his poor Southern hometown. They head to a black nightclub in the city, where Shelia’s contact is revealed to be in jail, but another pusher, attracted to Shelia, offers to supply them. After making the arrangements, Wayne refuses to smoke the dealer's hash, and as a result, Shelia angrily directs him to drop her at the Langdenmeyers’ house, where Sharon, who is there babysitting, is throwing a party. Wayne states that perhaps they “should dissolve the partnership” but accompanies her there, where she apologizes by dancing for him sensually. Later, in the posh bathroom, he gets high and they begin to make love, until Sharon interrupts them. Because the partygoers need more alcohol, Wayne takes Sharon in the Langdenmeyers’ car to his house to steal some. After a brief spat between them, Wayne backs the car out of the driveway too quickly, hitting another car. He speeds off and stops at a nearby store, and upon surveying the damage to the car, hatches a desperate plan to flee to California. When Shelia agrees to go with him, he rushes home to pack in secret, but there discovers that his parents have passed the Langdenmeyers’, seen his car there, driven it home and hidden his keys as punishment. Wayne is walking to meet Shelia at the local diner when he is picked up by a friend named Vice. When Vice stops to drag race with another student, the police give chase, and although Wayne is terrified of being caught, Vice eventually eludes them. As a rainstorm begins, Wayne reaches the diner, where Shelia awaits to inform him that Langdenmeyers have called the police about their car. Sharon drives them to the bus depot, furious with Shelia for her newly acquired rebellious attitude, but Shelia tells her friend that she cannot understand unless she gets high with her. In response, Sharon declares that Wayne is using Shelia for her money, but Shelia retorts that she is leaving to save her life. At the bus station, white and black passengers alike stare at the couple, and the ticket agent demands that they buy a ticket or be thrown out. Wayne buys the cheapest fare, then, spotting the police, hides in the rest room. Upon returning, he finds Shelia sharing a coffee with a black sailor and jealously demands that she leave with him. They take the bus to the next town and then hitch rides until they reach a Southern town called Aurora. There, some boys stop to offer them a ride, but when Wayne sees that they are drunken hillbillies, he politely refuses. The boys try to wheedle them into accepting, then speed off, hurling a racial epithet at Shelia. Wayne tries to soothe her, but she declares that he cannot know how she feels, and they argue until suddenly the hillbillies return. Wayne and Shelia hide in the field off the side of the road, but the men finally spot them and give chase, beating Wayne mercilessly until he loses consciousness. The next morning, he awakens and remembers the events of the past evening: Wayne revives from the hillbillies' beating and struggles to find the boys, who have taken Shelia to an abandoned building nearby to rape her. Wayne comes upon them as they finish and jump into their car. When he throws a brick through the front window of the car, they stop, and he jumps the driver but is soon overpowered, and they once again beat him into unconsciousness. Back in the present, Wayne finds Shelia still sitting in the building, and they can do nothing but stare at each other in wordless horror. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.