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The Americanization of Emily
The Americanization of Emily
Actors: James Garner, Julie Andrews, Melvyn Douglas, Martin Ransohoff, Arthur Hiller
Director: Arthur Hiller
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Military & War
NR     2005     1hr 55min

An American naval officer, in London during WW II, falls in love with his British military driver. Genre: Feature Film-Comedy Rating: NR Release Date: 10-MAY-2005 Media Type: DVD


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Movie Details

Actors: James Garner, Julie Andrews, Melvyn Douglas, Martin Ransohoff, Arthur Hiller
Director: Arthur Hiller
Creators: Martin Ransohoff, Philip H. Lathrop, Tom McAdoo, John Calley, Paddy Chayefsky, William Bradford Huie
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Classic Comedies, Drama, Military & War
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Black and White,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/10/2005
Original Release Date: 10/27/1964
Theatrical Release Date: 10/27/1964
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 55min
Screens: Black and White,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 18
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

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Movie Reviews

An all-time-best anti-war film
David J. Kucharski | Washington, DC USA | 02/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Hollywood movies were becoming increasingly adventurous in the early 1960s, tackling a wide variety of subjects with candor and intelligence. THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY is one of the finest films of that period, a movie that manages to be a biting satirical comedy, a clear-eyed love story, and a passionate denunciation of warfare all at the same time.James Garner portrays "dog-robber" Charlie, an American naval officer stationed in London during WWII and charged with the duty of keeping his admiral (Melvyn Douglas) in as complete a state of comfort as possible. Charlie freely admits that he likes his job because it keeps him far away from combat and the risk of death. This attitude does not intially endear Charlie to Emily (Julie Andrews), a military driver and Britisher who has lost several family members to the fighting. Slowly, however, the two fall in love and plan to build a life together. Then trouble intervenes: the admiral devises a public relations plan to ensure that the first man killed in the D-Day invasion is a sailor. And it looks like Charlie is in danger of becoming that man. . .THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY was made in 1964, the same year as DR. STRANGELOVE, an anti-war film that has now become legendary. EMILY was popular enough but somewhat overlooked at the time of its release, and it is not as well-known today as it deserves to be.Paddy Chayevsky's screenplay is filled with witty, pungent dialogue (even during Charlie and Emily's love scenes). And the performances are excellent. Garner has said more than once that this is his favorite of his films. And Andrews, in what was only her second movie (she made EMILY between MARY POPPINS and THE SOUND OF MUSIC) is extraordinary, giving us a portrait of a highly complex woman who first disdains her lover's cowardice and then clings to him because of it.The black-and-white photography (which blends seamlessly with actual WWII newsreel footage) is crisp. And Johnny Mandel's score is wonderful, from his tongue-in-cheek march over the credits to the haunting love theme which was later given a Johnny Mercer lyric, "Emily."If you enjoy war (or anti-war) films, love stories, black comedies, or thought-provoking drama, you'll find much to enjoy in THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY."
A Satirical and Intelligent Adult Comedy
Cowboy Buddha | Essex UK | 06/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I first saw The Americanization of Emily many years ago and I have always loved it. Before getting it on video recently, I had not seen it for a very long time but I thought about it often - not least because I had since followed the film's example by being an American guy in love with an English Rose. That culture shock is the heart of the film and is something I can attest to. I also remember my father, who had been in the US Navy in WWII, telling me how accurately the film depicted the navy brass. All in all, The Americanization of Emily gets better every time I see it.Paddy Chayefsky's script gives the film its solid foundation with three dimensional characters who speak articulate yet believable dialogue. The mixture of satire, sex and sentiment is just right. The British are fond of saying that Americans have no sense of irony. They have obviously never seen this film.Holding everything together and making the audience genuinely care is James Garner in the most impressive performance of his career. He plays a "dog robber" - personal aide to an important admiral, an officer dedicated to making the war as comfortable as possible, and a devout coward. Stationed in London during the buildup to D-Day, Garner is having a very pleasant war indeed. He is a man who is very sure of himself and what he believes in. At least, until he meets Julie Andrews - English war widow and military driver. These two people have absolutely nothing in common. So it is inevitable, yet somehow oddly logical, that they fall in love.But a little thing called World War Two keeps getting in the way. Garner's mentally unhinged admiral decides that the first dead man on Omaha Beach should be a sailor and wants Garner to photograph the event - if not have the honour of being dead himself. Cue the best exploration of heroism and cowardice (also known as common sense) ever put on screen.Although the film is undoubtedly Garner's brightest moment, the rest of the cast make solid and memorable contributions. Melvyn Douglas, in one of his last roles, as the admiral and James Coburn, in one of his early roles, as a gung-ho junior officer both ably demonstrate that the phrase "military intelligence" is a contradiction in terms. The wonderful English actress Joyce Grenfell is both batty and touching as Julie Andrews' mother. And what about Julie Andrews? People who only know her from the oversweet Mary Poppins or Sound of Music will be amazed by her utterly convincing performance as a woman who refuses to let reality destroy her romanticism. She and Garner spark and complement each other beautifully and their chemistry, more than anything else, makes this film so memorable.You might think that a black and white film made in the Sixties and set during World War Two would seem dated. But The Americanization of Emily is as fresh and engaging as ever because, above all, it is about people and the human condition. And they, for better or worse, never change."
Cowardice as a religion
Dave | Tennessee United States | 12/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Lt. Cmdr. Charles Madison (James Garner) is a veteran "dog-robber", meaning his main task is to keep whatever commanding officer he's assigned to as comfortable as possible. Assigned to Admiral William Jessup (Melvyn Douglas), Madison keeps him supplied with the best food, clothes, and women. Madison is not only the best "dog-robber", he's also a self-confessed coward who avoids combat duty like the plague. While staying in London in May, 1944, as the Allied forces prepare for D-Day, Madison meets an attractive British war widow, Emily Barham (Julie Andrews). Emily has lost a father, a brother, and a husband in this war, and she is sick and tired of gallant men sacrificing their lives in a seemingly endless war.

Madison talks freely and honestly about his cowardice, and Emily finds herself falling in love with this American officer who sees no glory in young men being blown apart for their country. But as their relationship progresses and they talk of marriage, the deadline for the D-Day invasion draws near. Admiral Jessup is temporarily insane and comes up with a suicidal mission that will get the U.S. Navy plenty of glory on D-Day. He orders Madison to take a camera crew and join the first wave attacking Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, where casualities among the attackers are expected to be 50% or higher. Madison is ordered to film the first sailor being killed on Omaha Beach, and before long he realizes that HE is supposed to be the first sailor killed!

Although universally categorized as an anti-war movie, Arthur Hiller, the director insists in the audio commentary that The Americanization of Emily is not anti-war, but "anti-glorification of war." But this brilliantly-directed movie takes quite a poke at the U.S. military, and at times even America itself. It's a very clever and incredibly dark satire with a nice mixture of drama and humor. You'll be surprised at how true most of the dialogue in the movie is, especially Garner's many lines about the absurdities of war. There's not one bad performance in the whole film, and James Garner, Julie Andrews, and James Coburn consider this the best movie they've appeared in. One of the best performances is that of Keenan Wynn, who plays the drunken sailor ordered to join Madison's camera crew for the suicidal mission. He gets very little screen time, but he's one of the most memorable characters in the movie. This extraordinary classic just gets better and better each time I watch it and I highly recommend this DVD."
The First of Paddy Chayefsky's Triple Crown
Archmaker | California | 05/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Paddy Chayefsky wrote 3 great movies in a row in the 60's and 70's, each dealing with great institutions and centering around the crack-up of men within those institutions. All are bitingly funny, wise, and loaded with a knowing cynicism, the satire just barely exaggerating the themes explored. They are, of course, The Americanization of Emily, Hospital, and Network.In Hospital the target was the bureaucratization of Medical Care and Science (pre HMO era); in Network it was Corporate Media and the merger of Power with Journalism and Popular Entertainment (pre AOL/Time Warner etc.), and in The Americanization of Emily, the first, it is the Military and the marketing of Warfare and Valor.In each film, men struggle with their sanity amidst institutions that have gone mad. But, to render these films into a few lines of description is not to do them justice. They are complex films, with many ideas and subplots all wrapped up in Chayefski's beautiful, intelligent, and unique language.They are also hilarious, and complimented by brilliant casting. In The Americaniztion of Emily, James Garner is the perfect choice to play the conniving and slick "dogrobber" Charlie Madison, a confirmed "coward" since tasting combat and finding life as an Admiral's facilitating aide much more to his liking. It is arguably Garner's best performance.The rest of the cast is fine, with Julie Andrews demonstrating how her goody-two-shoes image (from Mary Poppins etc) probably kept her from better roles, such as this passionate and sexy woman. James Coburn and Melvin Douglas are both standouts as well.An Admiral having a breakdown wants the first fatality on Omaha Beach to be a sailor so that he can parlay that into bigger appropriations for the Navy from the Congress. Using this, Chayefsky (working from William Bradford Huie's novel), fashions a terrific discussion of the nature of valor, heroism, modern warfare and love & one's true responsibility. Chayefsky basically understands that modern warfare is a meat-grinder, killing thousands at a go, and individual acts of heroism, while noble, are lost in so vast a slaughter. They are the myths of another era and perpetuate the idea of war as somehow noble and worthwhile. He centers his blame not on the Military and Politicians who blunder us into wars, but on the mass of people who go along with and surrender to the myth of sacrifice and heroism. How does one individual cope with this massive power bent on destroying him?You may find the ending with Charlie going along with the myth problematic, but it is a final acknowledgement that one individual can only affirm and cherish his own life and that his world begins with "you {Emily}, a room, a house, a neighborhood, a city, a country and a that order".The themes may be serious, but the movie is a load of fun. Don't miss it. DVD version someday, please."