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Ode to Billy Joe (1976)

Director: Max Baer Jr.
Cast: Robby Benson, Glynnis O'Connor, Joan Hotchkis, Sandy McPeak, James Best, Terence Goodman, Becky Bowen, Simpson Hemphill, Ed Shelnut, Eddie Talr, William Hallberg, Frannye Capelle, Rebecca Jernigan, Ann Martin, Will Long, John Roper, Pat Purcell, Jim Westerfield, Jack Capelle, Al Scott, Peggy Kubena, Paul Hughes Sr., Michael D. Carlin, Andy Sims


At last, we're given the answers to the questions raised by the haunting 1967 Bobbie Gentry song of the same title. Eighteen- year-old Billy Joe McAllister is in love with Bobbie Lee, but her father refuses to allow her to receive gentlemen callers before she's sixteen. In the Mississippi Delta, in a time before the boondocks had seen television and indoor plumbing, a young man's fancy turns constantly to thoughts of love. Billy Joe is no different in this regard and his persistence is making it difficult for Bobbie Lee to maintain her virtue (the dog-earred issues of "Torrid Romance" don't help either). Perhaps an indictment of the artificial conventions of society, the film demonstrates the tragic consequences of a young couple's first awkward grapplings with love and sex. As Bobbie Lee says shortly after Billy Joe's lifeless body is dragged from the Tallahatchie River, "What do I know of love... I'm only a child." Yet, there seems little doubt that what she feels for the dead boy ..

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