The Americanization of Emily


Action / Comedy / Drama / Romance / War

Plot summary

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Top cast

Judy Carne Photo
Judy Carne as 2nd 'Nameless Broad'
James Garner Photo
James Garner as Lt. Cmdr. Charles Edward Madison
Julie Andrews Photo
Julie Andrews as Emily Barham
Sharon Tate Photo
Sharon Tate as Beautiful Girl
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
866.53 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 55 min
P/S 0 / 1
1.85 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 55 min
P/S 1 / 2

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by EUyeshima8 / 10

Overlooked Gem Looks Angrily and Wittily at the American Military Propaganda Machine

Masterfully scripted by Paddy Chayefsky, this 1964 anti-war film is not quite a classic but nonetheless an unexpected treat and one that deserves resurrection by a new generation of viewers. Set in WWII London, the dark hearted plot focuses on Navy Lieutenant Commander Charles Madison, an especially notorious personal assistant to the mentally unstable Admiral William Jessup. Madison's job is to make sure Jessup gets anything he wants, and he has a warehouse full of contraband to back him up. Smug in his self-awareness about his cowardice, he meets Emily Barham, an English war widow who has lost her father and brother as well as her husband to the war. She is repulsed by Madison's manipulative agenda and cavalier materialism, and he finds her priggish and self-righteous. Needless to say, they fall in love. Complicating matters is Jessup's hare-brained scheme to ensure the first casualty of the D-Day invasion on Omaha Beach be a naval man. Without a glimmer of irony recognized, the admiral assigns Madison and his colleague "Buzz" Cummings to find the appropriate sailor and film his heroic death.

The sheer audacity of this task is a hallmark of Chayefsky's vitriolic style, and the film is full of his brittle, observant dialogue and sharply articulate soliloquies. You need an actor of consummate charm and cunning to play Madison effectively, and Garner responds by turning in one of the best performances of his long career. He shows not only his deft comedic touch but also a piercing insight into the integrity that can come from an acknowledged lack of courage. Squeezed in between her twin juggernauts of sugar, "Mary Poppins" and "The Sound of Music", Julie Andrews gives an intelligent, passionate performance as Emily that actually eclipses her acting in either mega-hit. The movie's title comes from her character's resistance to what she sees as cheapening her values by becoming more American. Together, they not only spark romantically but also trade speeches of barbed cynicism making Chayefsky's words fly off the page with supple dexterity.

Screen stalwart Melvyn Douglas is a terrifically befuddled blowhard as Jessup, while an especially energetic James Coburn aggressively turns "Buzz" into a monomaniacal yes-man. Joyce Grenfell is superb in her few scenes as Emily's no-nonsense mother. For interested baby boomers, you can even see future "Laugh-In" regulars Alan Sues and Judy Carne in bit parts, as well as the late Sharon Tate. If there is a weakness to the film, it comes from Arthur Hiller's pedestrian direction making the film more episodic than it should. The 2005 DVD package has a sharp print of the film and includes Hiller's informative commentary on an alternate track. He is understandably proud of the film since his subsequent work ("Love Story", "Making Love") has not even come close to the quality of this production. There is also a short, "Action on the Beach", which shows how the realistic filming of the D-Day scene was executed. It would be interesting to see this film in a double bill with Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" to get alternative perspectives on the same event.

Reviewed by MartinHafer5 / 10

Highly uneven--like two disparate movies spliced together.

"The Americanization of Emily" is about an unlikely romance between an incredibly jaded and pragmatic naval officer (James Garner) and a very patriotic Englishwoman (Julie Andrews). She has little respect for him, as so many of her family sacrificed their lives in combat. He, on the other hand, already saw action and is very happy to have a cushy desk job. Inexplicably, the pair fall in love and slowly Emily is won over to Garner and his ways. The romance is quite lovely, by the way.

The film also has another thread running through it--one that seems to have nothing to do with the romance and is more like "Catch-22" or "Network" (also by Paddy Chayefsky). The Admiral that Garner serves under (Melvyn Douglas) is losing his mind. And, despite there being no rational reason for doing this, he's about to send Garner on a suicidal mission. And, when this Admiral completely loses his mind and is hospitalized, his suddenly gung-ho junior officer (James Coburn) forces Garner to go on this nutty mission.

If these sound like two entirely separate stories, well, you're right. They never really meshed well. In addition, James Coburn's character made zero sense at all. In the first half of this film, he's bedding every woman that moves. Later, inexplicably, he's off to murder his supposed best friend for public relations purposes. Huh?! The bottom line is that I am really not sure what the film was trying to say and it came off as highly uneven and weird--just to be weird.

Reviewed by SnoopyStyle8 / 10

Great Lines from Chayefsky

Building up to D-Day, American Charlie Madison (James Garner) arrives in England on May 4, 1944. He is a "Dog-Robber" or a personal attendant of a general or an admiral keeping the highest ranked personnel happy. Emily Barham (Julie Andrews) is the driver given to the brash Madison and she's not very impress with the American at first. She had suffered great losses. Despite that, they fall for each other. His superior Adm. William Jessup (Melvyn Douglas) is going crazy trying to maintain the profile of the Navy. He comes up with a scheme to make the first dead man on Omaha beach to be a sailor and sends Charlie off to the pointless suicide mission.

For this movie, it's the Paddy Chayefsky screenplay that is the most important. His lines are sizzling. James Garner eats up his rants. The 'cowardice as a virtue' speech has no parallels that I know of. His character is deeply complex. Julie Andrews is absolutely winning. The story doesn't portray the military in the best light.

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