The Tim Buckley Archives

Film and Television
Feature Films - The Christian Licorice Store

Tim appeared - uncredited - as a musician in The Christian Licorice Store (1971), playing a live version of Pleasant Street, while being photographed by actress Maud Adams.

Pleasant Street first appeared on the 1971 album Goodbye and Hello, made reference to ‘All the stony people, Walking 'round in Christian licorice clothes’. In a 1967 interview with Folklore Center promoter Izzy Young, Tim noted that the song referenced 'an acid head from Brooklyn."

(NOTE: Some of the links on this page may redirect you to, the music-publishing site for the Estate of Tim Buckley)

Starring Beau Bridges, Maud Adams, Gilbert Roland

Directed by James Frawley


Produced by Cinema Center Films
Distributed by National General Pictures

This performance can be seen in it's entirety
on MVDvisual's 2007 DVD Tim Buckley - My Fleeting House.


Angst on Sunset Strip

The Christian Licorice Store keeps the audience off balance. It comes on like a fairly conventional, chichi love story, a lot of fancy wrapping around an empty package. But whenever total apathy threatens, a small moment occurs — a shot, a gesture, a line of dialogue — so well rendered that expectations are revived. They may be frustrated anew in the next scene, but even at its worst The Christian Licorice Store always manages to be interesting.

The plot is an offhand affair about a hot-shot California tennis player (Beau Bridges) afflicted with the same psychogenic pestilence that has raged through so many other contemporary movies (Five Easy Pieces, Two-Lane Blacktop). The tennis player has a smashing girl friend (Maud Adams), who turns him on but threatens to tie him down.

His career is lucrative but unfulfilling. Even when his beloved coach and manager (Gilbert Roland) dies, he is incapable of feeling much more than self-pity. So with characteristic cool, he embarks on a course of suicide.

The movie is a patchwork of pop culture — its title derived from a Tim Buckley tune, its sound track laden with song fragments and snippets of news broadcasts, its pastel photography reminiscent of countless TV commercials. Monte Hellman, director of Two-Lane Blacktop, even appears in a cameo role. All this does not amount to much more than another episode of Sunset Strip angst, but there are reassuring indications throughout that Director James Frawley and Scenarist Floyd Mutrux are capable of better work.

Roland's death is especially effective. The camera finds him lying in bed, pans over to pick up his clock radio switching on, continues slowly round the room, showing dozens of framed pictures that range over his past, then comes to rest again on him. He has not moved. The radio continues to play.

©Time Magazine - December 1971

The Christian Licorice Store (1971)

(Published: April 5, 1974)

Every concept of box-office poison admits to exceptions; from Gone With the Wind to M*A*S*H,supposedly toxic subjects have yielded hits. And with all respect to the exhibitor who once stated, "I don't want any more movies where people write with feathers," even the currently despised costume picture could have a comeback.

But some in Hollywood suspect that sports movies (along with films about writers) rarely do well. The Christian Licorice Store, which is playing today and tomorrow at the First Avenue Screening Room, offers some clues about potential sports flops.

The movie, which was made in 1971 by James Frawley, who later directed Kid Blue, follows the fortunes of "the new golden boy of tennis," Beau Bridges, all floppy hair and ceaseless smiles. There's no excitement afoot while he smashes his way to victory, because we know we're watching actors and not a real game. So the grunts of effort fail to generate suspense. The camera does all the work; the players aren't athletes—it's the movie maker who decides who will lose or win.

Admittedly, Licorice Store has other problems. The tennis star has a soupy sense of alienation and a beautiful, adoring girlfriend (Maud Adams) who was given no character whatsoever. Eventually, he's corrupted by lush offers for hairspray ads and movie roles.

Decadence is his destiny—as established by a party scene where he strokes two young women (a timid imitation of Blow Up) in a house with an unfilled swimming pool. Empty pools always mean that all's not well in Hollywood.

However, one vast, brief pleasure lurks within this picture: a visit with Jean Renoir. He talks about a book he's writing, and says that "it's going slowly—but I hope safely," adding that it's not an autobiography but "some souvenirs" from the present and the future, as well as from the past.

That glimpse of the great man is worth the movie's oppressively lyrical soundtrack, and a script crammed with lines like "This is a damn good racket," or "I think the nicest things in life happen when you're naked."

There's also one gallantry that wipes the eye of history: A young woman says, "I would have loved the thirties," and is told, "The thirties would have loved you."

© 1974 New York Times

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