“THERE’S ALWAYS VANILLA”— Special Blu-ray Edition

“There’s Always Vanilla”

Special Blu-ray Edition

Amos Lassen

George A. Romero’s “There’s Always Vanilla” is a biting satire of early 70s American society and an overlooked entry in the late director s filmography. It is available now for the first time on DVD and Blu-ray.

When young drifter Chris meets beautiful model Lynn by a chance occurrence, the pair hit it off and a romantic relationship begins. But with their wildly differing outlooks on life, it becomes clear that the coupling is doomed from the start.

This is certainly not the kind of film that we would think that Romero would make. It was made during the burgeoning “youth” and “indie” movements of the late sixties and early seventies. It is a very peculiar little film and the original version of it was so short that a whole series of time filling confessional sequences were added in order to increase its running time.

Twenty-something Chris Bradley (Raymond Laine) returns to his home town in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania after a tour in Vietnam and an several odd jobs, including pimping. Chris’ wealthy and surprisingly hip father (Roger McGovern) wants him to work for the family baby food business, but he wants no part of that. One day Chris meets an attractive older woman named Lynn (Judith Steiner), a model who works in TV commercials. Chris charms and insults his way into her life, and he soon moves in with her. They start would seems like a match made in heaven, but personal problems and diverse agendas get in the way of the affair.

The film is atypical of the usual Hollywood romance. Laine narrates the story in retrospect to the camera, and although his character is completely arrogant and irresponsible, he comes out likable, which is not an easy thing to pull off. Judith Steiner proved that she could be a leading lady.

Rudy Ricci’s script has snappy dialogue and Romero successfully creates tension. There’s satire about the advertising industry, a subplot about backstreet abortion two years before Roe vs. Wade, and some gentle comedy around Chris’ attempts to reconnect with his businessman father and his toddler son from a previous relationship. It’s not very well strung together and in places it loses cohesion entirely but that is okay since this is very much a period piece and as such is effective. As a portrait of a relationship, it’s dismally believable. The title comes from a discussion of favorite ice cream flavors and the avoidance of disappointment.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS include:

Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation

Original Uncompressed PCM Mono Audio

English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

Brand new audio commentary by Travis Crawford

Affair of the Heart: The Making of There s Always Vanilla brand new documentary featuring interviews with producers John Russo and Russell Streiner, stars Judith Streiner and Richard Ricci, and sound recordist Gary Streiner

Digging Up the Dead The Lost Films of George A. Romero archive interview with Romero discussing his early films There s Always Vanilla and Season of the Witch

Location Gallery with audio commentary by Romero historian Lawrence DeVincentz

Memorabilia Gallery

Trailer

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx

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