Pretty Poison is a film about the youth in the 1960s. It shows how they loved and how their passionate expression fueled them into promiscuity, pills, and a general disregard for life itself. In 1968, the country mourned the deaths of two significant political figures: Martin Luther King, Jr., and John F. Kennedy, Jr.
The deaths gave the studio executives some pause; releasing this movie would be risqué and may be seen as offensive to some.
Thankfully some incredible movie critics saw the film buried in Hell’s Kitchen and knew that the film must have some merit. Special thank you to Joe Morgenstern, Pauline Kael, Judith Crist, and Arthur Knight for taking a chance and giving the film rave reviews. Time magazine even wrote, “The nicest, nastiest crime film to come out of Hollywood in years!”
So why does it deserve to be named to The National Film Registry? It was a film that depicted the dark side of humanity. And it was one of the first films where the female lead was the killer. In the summer of 2019, my cousin sent me a message that Pretty Poison was featured on the marquee in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. For me, it was a clear sign to attempt to get the film included in The National Film Registry. Pretty Poison deserves a chance to be preserved so it can be enjoyed for many years.
My dad meant the world to me. In the last few weeks of his life, he asked me to make him one promise, to get one of his two best-known films into The National Film Registry. I agreed but had no idea how hard it would be to ask people to nominate, which is what I am doing now, for Pretty Poison. I am asking you to pretty please nominate a film that was made in 1968. A film that a studio was too afraid to release, a film that still to this day is used to teach new film students about the art of filmmaking.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for helping me keep a promise to a man who always saw the good in others and worked as hard as he could to keep his family comfortable.