“Aloha, Bobby and Rose”
A ’68 Camaro and a Saturday Night
Floyd Mutrux’s 1975 cult flick “ALOHA, BOBBY AND ROSE” about two young L.A. people who meet and share the dream of ditching the seedy side of Hollywood for the easy life of Hawaii is finally available on Blu-ray. Bobby (Paul le Mat) has a ‘68 Camaro and a dead-end job,, and Rose (Dianne Hull) has a five-year-old son and a nowhere life. The two meet and quickly fall in love and we learn Rose’s fantasy of leaving the Hollywood streets behind and saying “aloha” to life in exotic Hawaii. But when a seemingly safe attempt to rob a liquor store to bankroll their journey goes tragically wrong, Bobby and Rose find themselves on the run from the law and for their lives. Barreling across nighttime L.A. in a bid to make it to the tropics, the young lovers learn that “aloha” means “goodbye” as well as “hello”.
Bobby tries to hold up a liquor store by using a fake gun, but the shop’s owner comes out of a back room and threatens to kill him, so Rose hits the man over his head with a bottle and the gun accidently discharges and kills the young clerk. Now the two must go on the run and evade the police who are after them.
Like many films made in the ‘70s, the story flow is ignored for the sake of the characters. The picture begins with Bobby (with his friend Moxey) trying to hustle some money in a pool game. When he loses the match and reveals that he had no money to begin with, he spends the next day trying to find the money to pay them back. Moxey waits at the pool hall the following night, while Bobby is out with Rose but this story thread is never re-visited.
Even before the convenience store robbery scene, we realize that this film could go anywhere. Yet now, some forty years after it was made, it is still a fin and exciting film. The tone of the picture changes from woozy, nostalgic melancholy to tragedy and it continues to surprise us. With every ten or so minutes of screen time, the story arc changes and moves into new terrain keeping us happy as we journey with Bobby and Rose.
The wonderful cinematography of William Fraker makes the film exciting to watch just as the sound track of popular songs makes it easy to listen to. The over-exposed night photography, hazy backlighting, soft hues, and secondary colors create a world full of nostalgia, allure and danger.
“Aloha Bobby and Rose” was one of the top 10 moneymakers of 1975. The film spoke to viewers on a personal level and the disillusioned post-Vietnam, post-Watergate audience could identify with the restless characters onscreen.