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The Americanization of Emily

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Overview

The lively but somehow slightly distasteful The Americanization of Emily stars James Garner as a WWII naval officer who happens to be a craven coward. While his comrades sail off to their deaths, Garner makes himself scarce, generally hiding out in the London flat of his lothario navy buddy James Coburn. Garner falls in love with virtuous war widow Julie Andrews the "Emily" of the title, but she can't abide his yellow streak. Meanwhile, crack-brained admiral Melvyn Douglas decides that he needs a hero--the first ...
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Overview

The lively but somehow slightly distasteful The Americanization of Emily stars James Garner as a WWII naval officer who happens to be a craven coward. While his comrades sail off to their deaths, Garner makes himself scarce, generally hiding out in the London flat of his lothario navy buddy James Coburn. Garner falls in love with virtuous war widow Julie Andrews the "Emily" of the title, but she can't abide his yellow streak. Meanwhile, crack-brained admiral Melvyn Douglas decides that he needs a hero--the first man to die on Omaha Beach during the D-Day Invasion. Coburn is at first elected for this sacrifice, but it is the quivering Garner who ends up hitting the beach. He survives to become a hero in spite of himself, winning Andrews in the process. Paddy Chayefsky's script, based on the novel by William Bradford Huie, attempts to extract humor out of the horrors of war by using broad, vulgar comedy instead of the light satirical touch that would seem to be called for. Americanization of Emily was Julie Andrews' second film; it should have led to a steady stream of adult-oriented roles, but the box-office clout of Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music consigned her to "wholesome family entertainment."
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Michael Costello
Paddy Chayefsky's cutting black comedy was the first film to wring laughs from the notion that perhaps not all American troops had a completely gung-ho attitude toward their WWII service. James Garner stars as Charley Madison, a wheeler-dealer officer who prides himself on avoiding combat while he romances strait-laced Englishwoman Emily Barham (Julie Andrews) in the countryside. When she refuses to marry him due to his reluctance to pick up a rifle, he's forced to reconsider his position. Emily is a coruscating piece of work by the legendary Chayefsky, who fashioned one of the most thoughtfully hilarious films ever written on military service and marriage in a series of brilliant one-liners. Although Garner is assailed as a coward by his girlfriend, few commentators have noted that his pragmatic code of values is identical with that of Casablanca's (1942) Rick Blaine ("I stick my neck out for nobody"). When Charley says he would die to defend what is his -- his wife, his house, and his family -- he expresses a sentiment that runs deep in American life. Conversely, Emily's mantra of God, honor, and country expresses the spirit of self-sacrifice in wartime for which the British are famed. One of the film's great strengths is that the iconography of each of these two performers expresses perfectly, without a word being spoken, something essential and opposed about their native cultures, and at the same time they have terrific sexual chemistry. Yet, this may be even more a film about marriage than about war. When Emily questions the value of Charley's live-for-today creed, asking in effect, "Are you going to get rid of me when I'm not fun any more," she's spoken the key line of the film. If Charley would slide out of his military duties, why wouldn't he eventually slide out on her? That the film never answers these questions is one of its beauties, and as Charley reminds her, marriage is always a gamble. James Coburn as Charley's cunning buddy, Melvyn Douglas as a wavering admiral, and Joyce Grenfell as Emily's mother are all perfectly cast. The film's only drawbacks are Arthur Hiller's shaky direction and a low-budget D-Day scene, in which Garner is not just the first, but seemingly the only man charging the beach.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/14/2014
  • UPC: 888574098674
  • Original Release: 1964
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Time: 1:55:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 5,943

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Garner Lt. Cmdr. Charles Madison
Julie Andrews Emily Barham
Melvyn Douglas Adm. William Jessup
James Coburn Lt. Cmdr. "Bus" Cummings
Joyce Grenfell Mrs. Barham
Edward Binns Adm. Thomas Healy
Liz Fraser Sheila
Keenan Wynn Old Sailor
William Windom Capt. Harry Spaulding
John Crawford C.P.O. Paul Adams
Douglas Henderson Capt. Marvin Ellender
Edmon Ryan Adm. Hoyle
Steve Franken Young Sailor
Gary Cockrell Lt. Victor Wade
Alan Sues Enright
Bill Fraser Port Commander
Lou Byrne Nurse Captain
Alan Howard Port Ensign
Linda Marlowe Pat
Janine Gray 'Nameless Broad'
Judy Carne Nameless Broad
Kathy Kersh 'Nameless Broad'
Paul Newlan Gen. William Hallerton
Technical Credits
Arthur Hiller Director
Robert Armbruster Musical Direction/Supervision
Robert R. Benton Production Designer, Set Decoration/Design
Paddy Chayefsky Screenwriter
George W. Davis Production Designer
Henry W. Grace Production Designer, Set Decoration/Design
Philip H. Lathrop Cinematographer
Johnny Mandel Score Composer
Tom McAdoo Editor
Hans Peters Production Designer
Martin Ransohoff Producer
Elliot Scott Production Designer
Bill Thomas Costumes/Costume Designer
William J. Tuttle Makeup
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2004

    A Good Movie

    This was a pretty good film. James Garner and Julie Andrews make a wonderful pair. Garner is very charming in this film and Andrews looks absolutly beautiful. I really enjoyed it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2002

    ''The Americanization of Emily''

    Although the plot is a little stretched, both James Garner and Julie Andrews deliver fantastic performances in ''The Americanization of Emily,'' a wartime movie about a coward who becomes an unlikely hero. Garner and Andrews have believable and enjoyable chemistry, as well as equally believable and enjoyable tension, and you'll love to hate James Coburn, who is quite good in his supporting role. Apparently Paul Newman has a bit part: see if you can spot him; I couldn't!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2001

    Intelligent Film

    An American Naval officer, James Garner, is set up to be the first casualty of D-Day in this romantic-comedy AND antiwar film. Julie Andrews, as a British war window, is wonderful. This is an intelligent and thought-provoking film.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews