The Group

Overview

Based on the novel by Mary McCarthy, The Group was one of the slickest, and most highly publicized, cinematic soap operas of the 1960s. Filmed largely in New York, the story charts the exploits of eight young women, all of whom graduate from an exclusive Vassar-ish college in the middle of the Depression. Among the talented young actresses making their screen debuts herein are Candice Bergen as Lakey, the group's resident Lesbian; Joan Hackett as Dottie, a repressed socialite who takes up with bohemian artist ...
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Overview

Based on the novel by Mary McCarthy, The Group was one of the slickest, and most highly publicized, cinematic soap operas of the 1960s. Filmed largely in New York, the story charts the exploits of eight young women, all of whom graduate from an exclusive Vassar-ish college in the middle of the Depression. Among the talented young actresses making their screen debuts herein are Candice Bergen as Lakey, the group's resident Lesbian; Joan Hackett as Dottie, a repressed socialite who takes up with bohemian artist Dick Brown Richard Mulligan; Joanna Pettet as Kay, who marries philandering playwright Harald Peterson Larry Hagman; and Kathleen Widdoes as Helena, the wealthiest of the girls who insists upon proving her value in the workplace. The other girls are Pokey Marin-Robin Redd, who seems happiest when pregnant; Jessica Walter as Libby, the group's viper-tongued gossip and the darling of the Manhattan literary set some have suggested that McCarthy based this character on herself; Elizabeth Hartman as Priss, the requisite heart-on-sleeve liberal; and Shirley Knight as Polly, whose bumpy love life culminates in a very colorful engagement party. Hal Holbrook, likewise making his first screen appearance, plays Gus LeRoy. Sumptuously produced, The Group is a bit empty dramatically, though the sheer volume of continuing characters manages to sustain audience interest. Incidentally, here's a note for "blooper" spotters: wasn't the Pan Am building constructed in the 1950s?
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Some might dismiss The Group as another women's melodrama but they do so at their own peril - because this is fantastic Hollywood filmmaking. Sidney Buchman's tight-as-a-drum script pares the famous Mary McCarthy novel down to a colorful, densely-plotted narrative that moves along at breakneck speed. The dialogue snaps with electricity and the characterizations reveal themselves with subtlety, with each of the lead characters flowering into their adult selves in ways that are often surprising. All the female leads do strong work but the standouts are Joanna Pettet as the toughie who succumbs to neurosis, Jessica Walters as the bitchy man-eater who is secretly afraid of intimacy and Shirley Knight, who is unexpectedly sexy as the mousy nurse who flowers into a woman when she takes up an affair with a married man. Elizabeth Hartman is also quite affecting as the "baby" of the group, showing a touching vulnerability in her handful of scenes. In terms of the men, Larry Hagman is the big scene-stealer as Pettet's self-absorbed cad of a husband but Hal Holbrook also does effective work as a pleasantly neurotic publisher and Richard Mulligan is charismatic in a bit role as a bohemian pick-up artist. However, the glue that holds The Group together is Sidney Lumet's dazzling direction: he brings a wonderfully kinetic touch to the material, an approach aided with skill by Boris Kaufman's sharp lensing and Ralph Rosenblum's punchy editing techniques. In short, The Group is a stunning, surprisingly substantial example of the women's melodrama - and a must for anyone interested in this genre.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/15/2011
  • UPC: 883904201373
  • Original Release: 1966
  • Source: Mgm Mod
  • Time: 2:30:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 16,982

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Candice Bergen Lakey Eastlake
Joan Hackett Dottie Renfrew
Elizabeth Hartman Priss Hartshorn
Shirley Knight Polly Andrews
Joanna Pettet Kay Strong
Hal Holbrook Gus Leroy
Mary-Robin Redd Pokey Prothero
Jessica Walter Libby MacAusland
Kathleen Widdoes Helena Davison
James Broderick Dr. Ridgeley
James Congdon Sloan Crockett
Larry Hagman Harald Peterson
Richard Mulligan Dick Brown
Robert Emhardt Mr. Andrews
Carrie Nye Norine
Philippa Bevans Mrs. Hartshorn
Leta Bonynge Mrs. Prothero
Marion Brash Radio Man's Wife
Bill Fletcher Bill, the Actor
George Gaynes Brook Latham
Martha Greenhouse Mrs. Bergler
Russell Hardie Mr. Davison
Vincent Harding Mr. Eastlake
Doreen Lang Nurse Swenson
Baruch Lumet Mr. Schneider
John O'Leary Putnam Blake
Hildy Parks Nurse Catherine
Polly Rowles Mrs. Andrews
Douglas Rutherford Mr. Prothero
Truman Smith Mr. Bergler
Arthur Anderson Pokey's Husband
Leora Dana Mrs. Renfrew
Richard Graham Rev. Garland
Ed Holmes Mr. MacAusland
Technical Credits
Sidney Lumet Director
Tony Belletier Asst. Director
Irving Buchman Makeup
Sidney Buchman Producer, Screenwriter
Gene Callahan Production Designer
Robert de Cormier Musical Direction/Supervision
Charles K. Feldman Executive Producer
Charles Gross Score Composer
Anna Hill Johnstone Costumes/Costume Designer
Boris Kaufman Cinematographer
Vic Ramos Casting
Ralph Rosenblum Editor
Jack Wright Jr. Set Decoration/Design
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