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Theodore Thompson
Theodore Thompson

True Romance

The title and plot are a play on the titles of romance comic books such as True Life Secrets, True Stories of Romance, Romance Tales, Untamed Love and Strange Love.[citation needed]

True Romance

Happy Holidays! Carolina and Devin will be back in 2023 with more romance, reality show recaps, and pop culture gosss. Here's a classic True Romance episode for listeners going into the new year. If you have a moment please rate & review the podcast here.

Elvis-worshipping comic book store employee Clarence Worley (Christian Slater) is minding his own business at a Sonny Chiba triple bill when Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette) walks into his life - and from then on, the two are inseparable. Within 24 hours, they're married and on the run after Clarence is forced to kill Alabama's possessive, psychopathic pimp. Driving a Cadillac across the country from Detroit to Hollywood, the newlyweds plan to sell off a suitcase full of stolen drugs to fund a new life for themselves... but little do they suspect that the cops and the Mafia are closing in on them. Will they escape and make their dream of a happy ending come true?

Everyone has their own idea of what's romantic, and that applies to movie endings, too. As the screenwriter of the 1993 film "True Romance," Quentin Tarantino liked the idea of tragic romance, which has been a pretty consistent thread throughout his career. (Name one non-tragic Tarantino romance. I'll wait.) The director of "True Romance," Tony Scott, saw things a bit differently, and wanted to give this violent, dramatic romantic tale a happy ending. In an interview with IndieWire back in 2012, Tarantino reminisced about the original ending that he wrote into the script for runaway lovers Clarence (Christian Slater) and Alabama (Patricia Arquette), and explained his theory on why exactly Scott and uncredited script co-writer Roger Avary changed it.

"True Romance" is one of my favorite movies, a gritty and bloody romance between a nerdy cinephile who works in a comic book store and the brand-new working girl who falls in love with him while turning her very first trick. It's ridiculously sweet, in theory, though Clarence also kills Alabama's pimp (played by an absolutely unhinged Gary Oldman) and steal a briefcase full of cocaine that belongs to the mafia. This may be no "When Harry Met Sally," but for certain kinds of film fans, it's the ultimate swoon-worthy love story.

While Clarence is clearly a Tarantino stand-in, he also picked up a little bit of sweetness along the way. Whether that came entirely from Slater's performance or Scott's direction is anyone's guess, but it would be truly heartbreaking to kill the excitable, romantic nerd after everything he did to try and give Alabama a new life. While Tarantino's ending might have been more "punk rock," it doesn't really tonally fit in with the rest of the film, which posits their romance as the one thing that can conquer all. This isn't "Romeo and Juliet," after all. Romance is supposed to win.

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