Monster (2003)

R | 108-109 mins | Drama | 24 December 2003

THIS TITLE IS OUTSIDE THE AFI CATALOG OF FEATURE FILMS (1893-1993)
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HISTORY

Before the title appears, the film opens with the written prologue: “Based on a true story.” The film begins with images of Aileen “Lee” Wuornos as a little girl as Charlize Theron, as Wuornos, describes her dreams of being discovered and becoming a beautiful and rich movie star. The offscreen narration ends as she explains that one day the dreams “just stopped.” The title Monster then appears onscreen. Wuornos’ offscreen narration is heard intermittently throughout the film. Within the story, Wuornos is called “Lee,” never Wuornos or Aileen.
       At the end of the film before the police are shown leading Lee away after her trial, a title card appears explaining that Lee and Selby never saw each other again and that Lee spent twelve years on death row. A written list of organizations and people that the producers wished to thank appears at the end of the film. Among them are Wuornos’ friend Dawn Botkins and the Seminole County Court. The following written disclaimer appears in the closing credits: "While this film is inspired by real events in the life of Aileen Wuornos, many characters are composites or inventions, and a number of incidents depicted in this film are fictional. Other than Aileen Wuornos, any similarity to any person, living or dead, is not intended and purely coincidental."
       The film eliminates the early part of Wuornos' life. According to Wuornos’ biography, Wuornos was born Aileen Pittman in Rochester, MI on 29 Feb 1956. Her teenaged parents separated months before she was born, and her father, Leo Pittman, subsequently committed suicide while serving a prison sentence for ...

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Before the title appears, the film opens with the written prologue: “Based on a true story.” The film begins with images of Aileen “Lee” Wuornos as a little girl as Charlize Theron, as Wuornos, describes her dreams of being discovered and becoming a beautiful and rich movie star. The offscreen narration ends as she explains that one day the dreams “just stopped.” The title Monster then appears onscreen. Wuornos’ offscreen narration is heard intermittently throughout the film. Within the story, Wuornos is called “Lee,” never Wuornos or Aileen.
       At the end of the film before the police are shown leading Lee away after her trial, a title card appears explaining that Lee and Selby never saw each other again and that Lee spent twelve years on death row. A written list of organizations and people that the producers wished to thank appears at the end of the film. Among them are Wuornos’ friend Dawn Botkins and the Seminole County Court. The following written disclaimer appears in the closing credits: "While this film is inspired by real events in the life of Aileen Wuornos, many characters are composites or inventions, and a number of incidents depicted in this film are fictional. Other than Aileen Wuornos, any similarity to any person, living or dead, is not intended and purely coincidental."
       The film eliminates the early part of Wuornos' life. According to Wuornos’ biography, Wuornos was born Aileen Pittman in Rochester, MI on 29 Feb 1956. Her teenaged parents separated months before she was born, and her father, Leo Pittman, subsequently committed suicide while serving a prison sentence for child molestation. Her mother Diane, overwhelmed by the responsibilities of single motherhood, abandoned Aileen and her older brother Keith, who were then adopted by their maternal grandparents, Lauri and Britta Wuornos. Pregnant by the age of fourteen, Aileen was sent to a home for unwed mothers to deliver the baby. After their grandmother died in 1971, the children became wards of the court, and Aileen soon dropped out of school, becoming a teenage hooker to support herself as she drifted across the country. In 1976, after a series of arrests for violations such as drunk driving, disorderly contact, assault and disturbing the peace, Aileen hitchhiked to Florida, where she embarked on a life of crime, using the aliases of Lori Grody, Susan Blahovec and Cammie Marsh Green.
       In Jun 1986, Wuornos met lesbian Tyria Moore, who in the film is called "Selby Wall," at a gay bar in Daytona. The two became lovers, and after their passion faded, they remained close friends and traveling companions. As noted in the biography, after a series of arrests for petty crimes, Wuornos was becoming increasingly belligerent, at times going out of her way to provoke confrontations. At bars and truck stops, she would thumb rides, supplementing her prostitute’s income with theft. On 13 Dec 1989, the body of Wuornos' first victim, Richard Mallory, was found, shot three times in the chest with a .22 pistol. From that date to 19 Nov 1990, the bodies of five more men were found, all victims of gunshot wounds. Several of the bodies were found naked.
       Although Wuornos was suspected of killing a seventh victim, his body was never found. Witnesses had seen two women in one of the victim’s cars, and suspect sketches were drawn from their descriptions. Over the next few weeks, four callers identified the woman as Tyria Moore and Susan or Lee Blahovec. Their movements were traced through hotel receipts. Fingerprints, eventually identified as Wuornos', placed her at one of the murder scenes. Wuornos had been pawning her victims’ possessions, and the police used the pawn receipts to track her to The Last Resort, a biker bar in Port Orange, FL, where she was arrested on outstanding warrants while police finished building the murder case against her. A day after Wuornos’ arrest, Moore was found at her sister’s home in Pennsylvania, where she agreed to help the police in return for immunity from prosecution.
       In a series of telephone calls to the then-imprisoned Wuornos, who was unaware that the police were taping them, Moore begged Wuornos to confess to spare Moore from prosecution as an accomplice. On 16 Jan 1991, Wuornos summoned detectives and confessed to six killings, all allegedly performed in self-defense. Wuornos’ trial for the murder of Richard Mallory began on 13 Jan 1992. Wuornos took the stand as the only defense witness, claiming Mallory had violently raped and beaten her. After ninety minutes of deliberation, the jury returned a guilty verdict and recommended the death sentence. Months later, an NBC television reporter discovered that Mallory had served ten years for violent rape in another state.
       On 31 Jan 1992, Wuornos was sentenced to death. On 31 Mar 1992, Wuornos pleaded no contest to three other murders, ending her testimony by turning to the prosecuting attorney and saying, “I hope your wife and children get raped…” The judge in the case gave her three additional death sentences. In Nov 1992, she received her fifth death sentence and in Feb 1993, after pleading guilty to yet another murder, received her sixth death sentence. After spending twelve years on death row, Wuornos refused to continue appealing the sentences, and on 9 Oct 2002, was executed by lethal injection. From the execution chamber Wuornos purportedly stated, “…I’m sailing with the Rock and I’ll be back like Independence Day with Jesus, June 6, like the movie, big mothership and all. I’ll be back.”
       Although not depicted in the film, Wuornos was befriended by Arlene Pralle, a forty-four-year-old “born again” Christian, who saw Wuornos’ picture in the newspaper and contacted her. Throughout 1991, Pralle appeared on talk shows and in tabloids to defend Wuornos. On 22 Nov 1991, Pralle and her husband legally adopted Wuornos, saying that “God had told her to.”
       According to a Nov 2003 Var article, Patty Jenkins, who wrote and directed Monster, obtained the rights to letters Wuornos wrote to her close friend and confidant Botkins during the twelve years she spent on death row. A Mar 2003 LAT news item added that Jenkins also corresponded with Wuornos. The Var article noted that Jenkins resisted pressure to turn the project into a “slasher film,” and instead wanted to humanize Wuornos by “focusing on the surrounding circumstances rather than the killings.” In a Dec 2003 NYT article, Jenkins said that she made the film to “tell the truth” [by finding] the space between the man-hating lesbian serial killer [trumpeted by the press stories] and the feminist hero.” In a Dec interview in LA Weekly, Jenkins explained that she created the fictionalized character of Wuornos’ friend, “Thomas" (portrayed by Bruce Dern in the film), to convey that Wuornos was more of a misanthrope than a man-hater.
       Although evidence recounted in biographical sources strongly suggests that Wuornos’ first victim raped and beat her, as dramatized in the film, the rest of Jenkins’ account of the murders was fictionalized. In the LA Weekly interview, Jenkins stated that she imagined the murders as having their own narrative arc, saying, “I wanted the first and last murder to be like bookends. In the first murder, he’s a murderer and she’s the victim. By the last murder, she’s a murderer and he’s the victim.”
       A Sep 2003 “Variety Life Supplement” in Var noted that Jenkins had to persuade the film’s financiers to hire Charlize Theron over Kate Winslet and Heather Graham. Theron, who cut her hair, gained thirty pounds and wore a prosthetic overbite to play Wuornos, put her salary into the finishing costs of the film. Although a Sep 2002 Back Stage West Drama-Logue item stated that Lion’s Gate had greenlighted the project, which was to begin shooting in Los Angeles in Oct 2002, Lion’s Gate was not involved in the production. The film was shot in Daytona Beach, Port Orange, Winter Park, Kissimmee and Orlando, FL, the actual locations in which Wuornos committed her crimes. Monster marked the first feature-length film for Jenkins and Theron’s first credit as a producer.
       Several other works have been based on the life of Wuornos. Two documentaries directed by Nick Broomfield focused on Wournos’ life: the 1992 film Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer, in which Broomfield interviewed Pralle and Wuornos, and the 2004 film Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer, co-directed by Joan Churchill, in which Broomfield interviewed Wuornos and Botkins. A teledrama, Overkill: The Aileen Wuornos Story, starring Jean Smart and directed by Peter Levin, was broadcast on 17 Nov 1992 on CBS. According to a Nov 16 1992 Var news item, Moore and writer Jackelyn Giroux filed a motion to stop the broadcast on the grounds that the producers never obtained permission from the principals depicted in the film. An opera entitled Wuornos, written by Carla Lucero, opened in San Francisco on 22 Jun 2001. In 2002, Sue Russell published the book Lethal Intent, dealing with Wuornos' life.
       Monster was selected as one of AFI’s top ten films of the year and Theron won the 2003 Award for Best Breakthrough Actress presented by the National Board of Review. Theron also won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture--Drama, the Screen Actors Guild award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, an Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead and an Academy Award for Best Actress. Jenkins won an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature, and the film also received a nomination for Best First Screenplay from the Independent Spirit Awards.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
PERSONAL & COMPANY INDEX CREDITS
HISTORY CREDITS
CREDIT TYPE
CREDIT
General (mod):
Corporate note credit:
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Back Stage West Drama-Logue
5 Sep 2002
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Nov 2003
---
LA Weekly
19--25 Dec 2003
pp. 32-33
Los Angeles Times
16 Mar 2003
---
Los Angeles Times
26 Dec 2003
Calendar, p. 4
Los Angeles Times
5 Jan 2004
Calendar, p. 1, 8
New York Times
24 Dec 2003
The Arts, p. 1, 5
New York Times
30 Dec 2003
The Arts, p. 1, 5
Variety
16 Nov 1992
---
Variety
Sep 2003
---
Variety
6 Nov 2003
---
Variety
17 Nov 2003
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
1st asst dir
1st asst dir, 2d unit/2d 2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Prod
Prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Co-prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Cam op/Addl photog
Addl photog
Addl cam op
1st asst cam
1st asst cam, 2d unit
1st asst cam, prep
1st asst, B cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam, 2d unit
2d asst cam, 2d unit
2d asst cam, 2d unit
Loader
Steadicam op
Stills photog
24-frame playback tech
24-frame playback tech
Chief lighting tech
Best boy elec
Best boy elec
Rigging gaffer
Elec
Key grip
Key grip
Key grip, 2d unit
Best boy grip
Best boy grip
Best boy grip, 2d unit
Dolly grip
Crane tech
Grip
Grip, 2d unit
Cam intern
Lighting and grip equipment supplied by
Cranes and dollies provided by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dept coord
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Telecine
Avid film comp provided by
Avid consultant
Avid tech
Avid tech
News footage post-prod
News footage post-prod
Video playback rentals
Lokbox electronic negative conforming
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Lead man
Swing set dresser
On set dresser
Addl set dresser
Addl set dresser
Addl set dresser
Addl set dresser
Addl set dresser
Addl set dresser
Addl set dresser
Const coord
Const foreman
Scenic artist
Lead scenic artist
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Prop master
Asst prop master
Prop maker
Prop maker
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Cost supv
Key set cost
Cost prep
Ward asst
Ward asst
Los Angeles ward asst
Los Angeles ward asst
Los Angeles ward asst
Los Angeles ward asst
MUSIC
Score wrt, prod and arr
Mus supv
Mus ed
Mus consultant
Mus coord
Mus asst to BT
Hurdy-Gurdy
Live band rec
Live band rec at
Addl guitars
Addl bass
Addl programming
Exec mus consulting
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Addl boom
Sd des & supv
Sd des & supv
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
1st asst sd ed
ADR mixer
ADR rec
Backgrounds ed
Dial ed
Foley ed/Mixer
Eff ed
Audio eng
Audio eng
Audio eng
Sd mixed at
Dolby consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff tech
Spec eff asst
MAKEUP
Personal makeup artist to Charlize Theron
Key makeup artist
Prosthetic dentistry
Makeup asst
Makeup asst
Makeup asst
Key hairstylist
Hair asst
Hair asst
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
ADR voice casting
Extras casting
Extras coord
Unit prod mgr
Story ed
Dialect coach
Scr supv
Scr supv, 2d unit
Prod coord
Prod accountant
Accounting prod asst
Post prod accounting services
Post prod accountant
Prod controller for VIP
Prod secy
Prod secy, Los Angeles
Prod supv
Prod supv
Prod supv for VIP
Post prod supv
Prod consultant
Prod consultant
Prod consultant
Prod consultant
Post prod consulting by EPC
Prod assoc
Beth Kono
Asst to Charlize Theron
2d asst to Charlize Theron
Asst to Christina Ricci
Asst to Bruce Dern
Asst to Patty Jenkins
Asst to Patty Jenkins
Asst to Mark Damon
Key set prod asst
Key set prod asst
Office prod asst
Prod asst, Los Angeles
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Loc asst
Loc scout
Set nurse
Craft service
Craft service intern
Stage mgr
Stage mgr
Stage mgr
Unit pub
EPK dir
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver, 2d unit
Cam car
Cam car
Intern
Intern
Intern
Intern
Intern
Completion bond
Completion bond
Completion bond
Completion bond
Banking services
Banking services
Hotel facilities
Prod insurance
Prod insurance
Financing consultant
Prod financing
Prod financing
Prod financing
Project consulting
Project consulting
Payroll provided by
For Media 8 Entertainment
For Media 8 Entertainment
For Media 8 Entertainment
For Media 8 Entertainment
For Media 8 Entertainment
For Media 8 Entertainment
For Media 8 Entertainment
For Media 8 Entertainment
For Media 8 Entertainment
Christa Zofcin Esq.
For Media 8 Entertainment
For Media 8 Entertainment
Mus legal
[Attorney]
Legal services
[Attorney]
Legal services
[Attorney]
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stand-in for Charlize Theron
Stand-in for Charlize Theron
Stand-in for Christina Ricci
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
SONGS
“All She Wants Is,” written by Nicholas James Bates, Nick Rhodes and John Nigel Taylor, performed by Duran Duran, courtesy of Capitol Records, used by permission of Colgems-EMI Music Inc./EMI Music Publishing Ltd.; “Shake Your Groove Thing,” written by Dino Fekaris and Frederick J. Perren, performed by Peaches & Herb, courtesy of Universal Records, under license from Universal Music Enterprises; “Space Age Love Song,” written by Francis Maudsley, Paul Reynolds, Alistair James Score and Michael Score, performed by A Flock of Seagulls, courtesy of Jive Records, under license from BMG Film & TV Music Division; “Tide Is High,” written by John Holt, Tyrone Evans and Howard Barrett, performed by Blondie, courtesy of EMI Records, under license from Embassy Music Corp./Music Sales West; “What You Need,” written by Andrew Farriss and Michael Hutchence, performed by INXS, courtesy of Universal Records, Atlantic Recording Corp., by arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing, under license from WB Music Corp.; “Sugar and Spice,” written by Tony Hatch, performed by Searchers, courtesy of Sanctuary Records Group, under license from Universal Music Enterprises; “Come with Us,” written by Thomas Owen Rowlands and Edmund John Simons, performed by Chemical Brothers (featuring Beth Orton), courtesy of Virgin Records Ltd./Astralwerks, under license from Universal Music Enterprises, Amplitude Music, EMI Film & Television Music; “Crimson and Clover,” written by Tommy James and Peter P. Lucia, Jr., performed by Tommy James & The Shondells, courtesy of Rhino Entertainment Company, Virgin Records/EMI Records Ltd., by arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing, used by permission of EMI Longitude Music; “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah),” written by Gary Glitter and Mike Leander, performed by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, courtesy of Blackheart Music, under license from Palan Songs America, Universal Music Enterprises; “Don’t Stop Believin’,” written by S. Perry, Jonathan Cain and Neal J. Schon, performed by Journey, courtesy of Sony Music, under license from Wixen Publishing; “Secret Crush on You,” written and performed by Pete Surdoval and Al Gross, courtesy of Marc Ferrari/Master Source, used by permission of Master Source; “Flirtin’ with Disaster,” written by Danny Joe Brown, David Lawrence Hlubek and Banner Harvey Thomas, performed by Molly Hatchet, courtesy of Sony Music, under license from Mister Sunshine Music; “Keep on Lovin’ You,” written by Kevin Patrick Cronin, Jr., performed by REO Speedwagon, courtesy of Sony Music, under license from Hori-Pro Entertainment Group; “Crazy Girl,” written by Scott Nickoley and Jamie Dunlap, performed by Molly Pasutti, courtesy of Mark Ferrari/Master Source, under license from Master Source; “A Road Runner: Road Runner’s ‘G’ Jam,” written by Lamont Herbert Dozier, Brian Holland, Eddie Holland, Greg Ridley, Jerry Shirley, Steve Marriott and Dave “Clem” Clempson, performed by Humble Pie, courtesy of Universal Records, used by permission of EMI Blackwood Music Inc., O/B/O Jobete Music Co., Inc.; “Sweet Peace and Time,” written by Greg Ridley, Jerry Shirley, Steve Marriott and Dave “Clem” Clempson, performed by Humble Pie, courtesy of Universal Records, under license from EMI U Catalogue Inc., Rondor/Almo Music Corp.
SONGWRITERS/COMPOSERS
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
24 December 2003
Premiere Information:
World premiere at AFI Fest: 16 Nov 2003; New York opening: 24 Dec 2003; Los Angeles opening: 26 Dec 2003; General release: 9 Jan 2004
Production Date:
4 Feb 2003--17 Mar 2003 at the Chapman/Leonard Studio and Production Center
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Film & Entertainment VIP Medienfonds, 2 GmbH & Co.
2003
KG and MDP Filmproduktion GmbH
2003
Physical Properties:
Sound
dts Digital Sound; Dolby Digital in selected theatres
Color
FotoKem
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Lenses/Prints
Kodak Motion Picture Film; Filmed with Panavision cameras and lenses
Duration(in mins):
108-109
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
40180
SYNOPSIS

After years of prostituting herself along the highways of Florida, Aileen “Lee” Wuornos sits in the rain by the side of the freeway and contemplates ending her life with a gun she is holding. Deciding to spend her last five dollars on getting drunk, Aileen walks into a gay bar and orders a beer. When Selby Wall, a young lesbian with her arm in a cast, sits down next to Lee and offers to buy her a drink, Lee, horrified that Selby might think she is a lesbian, lashes out at the girl. However, after Selby assures Lee that she is lonely and just wants to talk to someone, the two share drinks until closing time when Lee’s belligerent attitude prompts the bartender to throw them out. Selby then invites Lee home to spend the night. There Selby caresses the love-starved Lee’s face, but the next morning, their tranquility is shattered when Donna Tentler, a friend of the Walls with whom Selby is staying, bursts into the room and demands to know what is going on. After Lee makes arrangements to meet Selby at a roller rink later that night and hurriedly leaves, Donna warns Selby never to bring “people like that” home again. Lee proceeds to a warehouse in which her possessions are stored and there meets her friend Tom, a kindly father figure who gives her a sandwich and a beer. Later, Lee prepares for her date with Selby by styling her hair in the bathroom of a gas station. At the roller rink, Selby tells Lee that she thinks it is “wild” that people actually pay to be with ...

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After years of prostituting herself along the highways of Florida, Aileen “Lee” Wuornos sits in the rain by the side of the freeway and contemplates ending her life with a gun she is holding. Deciding to spend her last five dollars on getting drunk, Aileen walks into a gay bar and orders a beer. When Selby Wall, a young lesbian with her arm in a cast, sits down next to Lee and offers to buy her a drink, Lee, horrified that Selby might think she is a lesbian, lashes out at the girl. However, after Selby assures Lee that she is lonely and just wants to talk to someone, the two share drinks until closing time when Lee’s belligerent attitude prompts the bartender to throw them out. Selby then invites Lee home to spend the night. There Selby caresses the love-starved Lee’s face, but the next morning, their tranquility is shattered when Donna Tentler, a friend of the Walls with whom Selby is staying, bursts into the room and demands to know what is going on. After Lee makes arrangements to meet Selby at a roller rink later that night and hurriedly leaves, Donna warns Selby never to bring “people like that” home again. Lee proceeds to a warehouse in which her possessions are stored and there meets her friend Tom, a kindly father figure who gives her a sandwich and a beer. Later, Lee prepares for her date with Selby by styling her hair in the bathroom of a gas station. At the roller rink, Selby tells Lee that she thinks it is “wild” that people actually pay to be with her and explains that her father sent her to Florida after she was accused of trying to kiss a girl back home in Ohio. Lee pulls the reluctant Selby onto the rink and the two glide along, staring romantically into each other’s eyes. Later, their passionate kissing in the alley outside the rink is observed by Trevor, Donna’s son. The next day, as Lee solicits along the highway, Donna informs Selby that Trevor reported seeing her in the alley. Donna has conveyed the information to Selby’s father, who wants his daughter to return to Ohio immediately. After having sex with one john, Lee is picked up by Vincent Corey, who drives her into an empty field and demands that she perform oral sex on him in addition to the previously agreed-upon fornication. Impatient to keep her date with Selby, Lee refuses to perform both acts, after which Corey bashes her in the head, ties her hands to the car door and brutally rapes her with a pipe. When he pours alcohol on her wounds, Lee, fearing that he is about to kill her, flies into a frenzy, and wrenching her hands free, pulls her gun from her jacket and shoots him several times, then, howling in fury, pistol-whips him. After covering up the body, Lee wipes the blood from her face and drives off in Corey’s car to see Selby. Lee’s tapping on Selby’s window awakens Donna, who summons her husband Charles to chase off the vagrant. Although Selby is angry at Lee for not keeping their date, she runs outside to warn her to leave and informs her that she has agreed to return home to Ohio. Promising to put Selby on a bus bound for home if she is unhappy, Lee hands her the cash she has made from soliciting and begs her to stay with her for one week. Selby accepts Lee’s offer, and the two drive off in Corey’s car. After checking into a roadside motel, Lee takes Selby to her hangout at The Last Resort, a biker bar in Port Orange, Florida. Later, as Lee drives Corey’s car into the woods and wipes it clean of fingerprints, Selby returns to Donna’s to collect her belongings. Donna then calls Selby’s father, who berates the girl and demands that she come home. Thrusting the phone at Donna, Selby leaves and returns to the motel to tell Lee she has decided to stay with her. Overwhelmed with happiness, Lee promises to take care of Selby, but when Lee vows to “quit hooking,” Selby worries about how she will support them. Lee naïvely replies that she will get a career-level job like veterinarian or “business person.” However, when Lee tells one of her potential employers that she has no experience and no work history, the man laughs, prompting Lee to swear at him. When Lee recounts her humiliating rejection to Selby and admits that she has run out of money, Selby whines that she is hungry and worries over how Lee will provide for her. After failing to find any work at the employment office, Lee is about to throw out the employment section of the newspaper when she spots a story stating that Corey’s body has been found. Upon returning to the motel, Lee is confronted by Selby, who is upset that Lee has curtailed their income by refusing to solicit men. Lee then confesses that she killed her last john after he raped and beat her. When Lee states that she was afraid the man was going to kill her, Selby apologizes and Lee shows her the murder story in the paper, then admits that she stopped soliciting because she was fearful of getting caught. Conceding that she has been hooking since she was thirteen years old, Lee resigns herself to a life of prostitution and returns to picking up johns along the road. One night, a john drives Lee into a deserted field, and when he asks her to call him “daddy,” she shoots him. As Lee drives off in the dead man's car, she muses about a Ferris wheel from her childhood dubbed “the monster.” The wheel magically lit up the night sky, but when she rode on it, she became nauseous and vomited. Upon returning to the hotel, Lee hands Selby a fistful of cash, then muses that in her life, the “harmless stuff always hurts the most…[but] things so horrible don’t bother her.” After a night of passionate love making, Lee rents Selby an apartment and carries her over the threshold. Later, Lee is picked up by a nervous, stuttering john who admits that it is his “first time.” When the man puts his wallet on the dashboard of his car and tells her to take what she wants, Lee masturbates him and he thanks her. Afterward, Lee continues soliciting, and upon returning home, cuts out a newspaper story about another murder and stuffs it into a box. The next morning, Selby, disgruntled about being left home alone while Lee is out working, drives off in one of the dead men’s cars that Lee has driven home. Selby goes to a lesbian bar where she meets several women who tell her about a place called “Fun World.” When Selby comes home, Lee chastises her for taking the car, prompting Selby to accuse Lee of “scaring off people,” and insists that she take her to Fun World. There Selby sees the women from the bar and goes off with them. Later, Selby asks Lee to join her on the Ferris wheel. Remembering her sickening childhood experience, Lee smiles wanly and joins Selby. As Selby drives them home, Lee tells her that she turned to prostitution to support her younger brother and sister, who called her a "whore" when they found out. Mesmerized by Lee’s story, Selby misses the turnoff, and when she makes a sharp turn, the car careens out of control and smashes into someone's front yard. When the owners of the house run out, Lee speeds off, then abandons the car. After Selby complains that she wants to drive in the car rather than walk, Lee informs her that the vehicle belongs to a dead man. As they hurriedly pack their clothes to flee, Lee shows Selby the box stuffed with clippings about the murders. Selby protests that Lee cannot go around killing people, to which Lee responds that she "is good with the Lord and people kill each other every day.” To steal a car for their getaway, Lee picks up another john, but when Lee begins to talk about her rape and expresses her rage toward men, the older john becomes nervous. Pulling out her gun, Lee shoots him and upon examining his wallet, discovers that he was a retired policeman. At The Last Resort, Lee tells Tom goodbye, wailing that she had no control over what she did and never had a choice. As the couple who saw the crash provides the police sketch artists with a description of the women, Lee, urged by Selby to secure another car, walks the highway looking for a john. A kindly, elderly man stops and offers Lee a room and some clothes. Unnerved, Lee tries to get out of the car, but when he sees the gun slip out of her pocket, she forces the man to drive into the woods and shoots him, even though she feels profound anguish for her actions. When Lee returns home, Selby tells her about seeing their sketches on a television news broadcast. Realizing that they are in danger, Lee takes Selby to the bus station where Lee breaks down and begs her to come back one day. After giving Selby the last of her money and putting her on a bus headed for Ohio, a depressed Lee leans dejectedly over a bridge and throws the gun into the water below. At The Last Resort, Lee is met by Tom, who admonishes her to leave the bar. When Lee insists on waiting for Selby’s call, an undercover policeman posing as a biker offers to give her change for the pay phone. While following the man to his car to get the change, Lee is apprehended by the police. Arrested on an old warrant, Lee is taken to prison where Selby phones her as the police record the conversation. Although Lee tries to discuss their relationship, Selby is only interested in manipulating her into taking sole responsibility for the murders. Although Lee realizes that Selby is setting her up, she vows her love for Selby then states “it was me and only me,” as the police record their conversation. Lee’s confession is played in court, where Selby takes the stand and testifies against her former lover. After the judge sentences Lee to death, she tells him to "rot in hell [for] sending a raped woman to death." As Lee recalls all the empty platitudes she has heard in her lifetime, the police lead her away.

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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
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AFI Life Achievement Award
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.