Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jonathan Demme|
|Written by||E. Max Frye|
|Edited by||Craig McKay|
|Distributed by||Orion Pictures|
|Box office||$8.4 million|
Something Wild is a 1986 American action comedy film directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Melanie Griffith, Jeff Daniels and Ray Liotta. It was screened out of competition at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival. The film has some elements of a road movie.
In New York City, Charlie Driggs (Jeff Daniels) is a seemingly conventional banker whose wife has left him. In a café, a brunette (Melanie Griffith) who calls herself Lulu spots him leaving without paying. After a teasing confrontation, the two leave in a 1967 Pontiac GTO convertible that, Lulu says, she acquired from a divorce. They embark on a bizarre adventure, including crashing and abandoning the car, stealing from a liquor store and leaving a diner without paying. Believing Charlie to be married, Lulu discloses that her real name is Audrey, and takes him to visit her mother, Peaches. Audrey now adopts a different persona, becoming a demure blonde. Coming to accept Audrey's free-wheeling lifestyle, Charlie realizes he is falling in love with her.
The relationship (and movie) takes a dark turn when her violent ex-convict husband, Ray Sinclair (Ray Liotta), shows up at a high school reunion; Ray wants her back. Dumping his girlfriend Irene (Margaret Colin), Ray takes Audrey and Charlie on a short-lived crime spree, and intentionally breaks Charlie's nose during it. The trio end up in a motel room where Audrey learns Charlie is no longer happily married and, under duress, reluctantly realizes she has to stay with Ray.
Ray tells Charlie to leave, warning him to keep away, but Charlie secretly tails them when they leave the motel. Charlie devises a plan to extract Audrey from Ray's grasp, and having done so, he takes Audrey to his home. However, Ray figures out where Charlie lives, shows up to his home, and begins beating up Charlie. During the scuffle, Charlie stabs Ray, who dies. Audrey is taken away for questioning. Charlie later comes looking for Audrey at her apartment, but she has moved. Near the café where they first met, Audrey (in her third incarnation) appears with a station wagon. She invites Charlie into her car and back into her life.
Something Wild was acclaimed by critics. The film currently holds an 89% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 36 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "Boasting loads of quirky charm, a pair of likable leads, and confident direction from Jonathan Demme, Something Wild navigates its unpredictable tonal twists with room to spare." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 73 out of 100, based on 14 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Something Wild was released on DVD on June 5, 2001. The film was presented in its original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio. The only special feature was the original theatrical trailer. That edition is currently out of print.
The film was released on Criterion Collection DVD and Blu-ray Disc on May 10, 2011. The Blu-ray has a new, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Tak Fujimoto and approved by director Jonathan Demme. It also features new video interviews with Demme and writer E. Max Frye, the original theatrical trailer, and a special booklet featuring an essay by film critic David Thompson.
The film's soundtrack was released as an LP and CD, featuring only 10 of the 49 tracks in the title credits. All the school reunion songs performed by The Feelies, including "Fame" and "I'm a Believer", were omitted, and The Troggs' "Wild Thing", which gave the film its title and which was sung in the convertible scene, was also left out.