Quentin Tarantino: watch his first film My Best Friend’s Birthday

Quentin Tarantino: If you thought “Reservoir Dogs” was Quentin Tarantino’s feature debut, you’re right because it’s the first he finished, but do you know his unfinished film: “My Best Friend’s Birthday”?

Quentin tarantino: watch his first film my best friend's birthday
AGENCY / BESTIMAGE

In 1983, Quentin Tarantino was 20 years old and worked in the city of Manhattan Beach, in the video club Video Archives. His colleague Craig Hamann writes an incomplete version of 30 to 40 pages and shows it to Tarantino, who finishes it with him, with a view to staging it. And the shooting will take … 3 years!

From 1984 to 1987, he shot scenes with a 16mm camera borrowed from director Fred Olen Ray, to tell My Best Friend’s Birthday, the story of Mickey, left by his girlfriend on her birthday. His friend Clarence then arrives to celebrate him as he has never been.

Clarence is played by Tarantino, while Mickey is played by Hamann. With a budget of around 5000 dollars, the shooting is almost finished, only three scenes are not filmed for lack of money.

One of those that was saved shows K-Billy Radio, which we will hear about in Tarantino’s next film: Reservoir Dogs (1992).

But why is the available film incomplete?

After 5 days spent assembling the scenes frame by frame, the editor threw in the towel. Tarantino then convinces his mother to rent a Steenbeck table and edited the film himself. Among the versions of the film that popped up on the net in the early 2000s, one lasts 29 minutes and is a compilation made by Tarantino of his favorite scenes.

My Best Friend’s Birthday was thought to last 70 to 80 minutes, but is not finished and some of the rushes are even destroyed. According to one of the film’s producers (and Video Archives employee) Rand Vossler, this happened at the developer’s house following a power outage. The film was processed too long and came out completely white.

Some bios will instead recount that the movie burned down, but Tarantino ended up declaring that to be wrong, but that he let those versions of the story run because he found them better than the truth.

Quentin tarantino: watch his first film my best friend's birthdayZuma Press / Bestimage
Quentin Tarantino

In My Best Friend’s Birthday: The Making of a Quentin Tarantino Film, the filmmaker says that he still has enough to finish the film, something to give hope to fans who would one day want to discover the full scenario.

More info: before My Best Friend’s Birthday, Tarantino had co-wrote a film with fellow musician Scott McGill: Love Birds in Bondage (1983). A girl suffering from brain injury after a car accident is hospitalized due to her unpredictable behaviors. Heartbroken, her boyfriend decides to also be interned in order to stay with her.

A few scenes were shot, but ultimately destroyed. Tarantino believes that McGill, who committed suicide in 1987, destroyed them himself.

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