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The Americanization of Emily

 

"I consider myself lucky when an Emily comes along. But films like Emily aren’t available too readily. The script was so good; it had something to say...."

Julie Andrews

Americanization of EmilyAn American soldier's talent for living the good life in wartime is challenged when he falls in love and is sent on a dangerous mission. During the build-up to D-Day in 1944, the British found their island hosting many thousands of American soldiers who were "oversexed, overpaid, and over here". That's Charlie Madison exactly; he knows all the angles to make life as smooth and risk-free as possible for himself. But things become complicated when he falls for an English woman, and his commanding officer's nervous breakdown leads to Charlie being sent on a senseless and dangerous mission.


The Americanization of Emily Publicity Photo

Directed By
Arthur Hillier
Screenplay By
Paddy Chayefsky, William Bradford Huie
Music By
Johnny Mandel
Release Date/Runtime
27 Oct 1964 (US)
115 Minutes
Character
Emily Barham
Cast
Julie Andrews, James Garner, Melvyn Douglas, James Coburn, Joyce Grenfell
   

 

The Americanization of Emily Awards and Nominations
 
1965 Academy Awards
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White (Nominated)
Best Cinematography, Black-and-White (Nominated)
 
1965 Laurel Awards
  Supporting Performance, Male - Melvyn Douglas (Nominated)
Drama (Nominated)
Dramatic Performance, Male - James Garner (Nominated)
 
1966 British Academy Awards
  Best British Actress - Julie Andrews (Nominated)
   

 

The Americanization of Emily Curiosities
 
James Garner says that this is his favorite of his movies. Julie Andrews is his favorite leading lady. On the occasion of Julie's being honored with the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award, James GArner said about her: "Some of my best experiences have been working with Julie Andrews.  And she's good-looking, too!  Julie is one of my favorite actresses.  I remember one night when working on our favorite movie, The Americanization of Emily:  We were at the beach in Santa Monica, and it started to rain quite hard.  Julie got wet and very, very cold, so in between scenes, my buddy and I would rub her feet to try to keep her warm.  I wouldn't do that for just anyone.  She is a very special lady.  I know she will be proud, and rightly so, in receiving this award."   
 
The Americanization Of Emily turned out to be the only movie that Julie Andrews made that was not in color.
 
At age twenty-eight and never having had an acting lesson in her life, Julie admitted that she was "scared to death" at the prospect of making such a serious movie. "I was at a loss without songs," she said. "At least in Mary Poppins I would always take comfort in the knowledge that I would be doing a song and would feel secure eventually. but in Emily there were no songs to hang on to." Yet that was precisely why she had chosen the straight dramatic role, "because it proposed another huge challenge: I'd have to act. It would also give me the chance to prove to myself and the public that I could do something besides musical comedy."
Ironically or not, Blake Edwards thought that Julie Andrews was wrong for the role, they had met only once, casually, at that point.
 
Julie Andrews and James Garner would work together in another 2 films: Victor/Victoria (1982), and One Special Night (1999).
 
Producer Martin Ransohoff had seen forty minutes of rough-cut footage of Mary Poppins. "After three minutes of that stuff I knew Julie was our girl," he said. "I just took that one look and knew she was right for Emily. She did not generate obvious, overt sexuality. She is not a sex symbol, but she has a classic sensuousness. She also had a certain refinement - another classic quality - rather than a great deal of sex appeal, slightly refined and highbred than most."  Even before the movie was released he was convinced that Julie Andrews would be the next movie superstar. "She's the most exciting thing I've seen in 10 years," he said in 1966. "There's an open honesty in her face that's like magic - it lights up the screen. She is a dream to work with. She is cooperative and has ideas, and is anxious to help. All conversations with her are on an intellectual level. She brings quality to a project. She's infectious around the set, with a sense of humor that has a great effect on other performers and a great positive ness both behind the scenes and in front of the camera. A film can be damaged by a growler, but Julie lifts up a production. She is totally lacking in the kind of ego that says  she knows it all and is always right."
 
James Garner said about Julie "I didn't know her, but I had seen hen in My Fair Lady, and that was good enough for me. Besides, she has one of the greatest figures in the business, and I fancy myself something of an expert."
 
Garner recalled in later years: " We did the first love scene Julie had ever done in a movie, and her first real love scene anywhere. She knows only one way to do something - and that's right. In reality she's not like what she's like on screen - certainly not in Mary Poppins - but nobody does it better than Julie can. Julie's a little bit more natural at anything than anybody else."
 
Garner figured that he and Julie had "kissed over five hundred times, counting rehearsals," during the making of The Americanization Of Emily. "What a pleasure; she's a great kisser." Not only did she return the compliment: "he was a consummate, divine kisser," but she also confessed to her knees buckling when she got up after one particularly intense kissing scene involving the two of them rolling around on a bed. "
 
"Nobody knows the depths of her talent or personality," James said. "She's so fresh she opens her mouth and the whole world blooms. The things  about Julie on screen and off camera that made people like her are warmth, levity, an sincerity. That's what makes her the star she is. Throughout the history of films, people have succeeded because of their marvelous human qualities. These people had something on the screen that made people want to seem then and come to them. She has that. Julie is a person that the camera does not affect. She does what she does without being affected by all those lights and forty people around her. Some stars can only do it with all that; some can't do it with any of that. She is a personality who became a superstar. An actor working with a young superstar like Julie might worry about being acted into the draperies. I wouldn't compete with Julie on those terms for two reasons: I might lose, and I wouldn't care. It would be unthinkable, people would hate themselves for being jealous, or mean to Julie. She gives you no reason to. And yet Julie is a very strong-willed girl She is very professional, warm and friendly, hard-to-know and complex. It is not facade. She does not give to everybody past a certain line, but she gives to everybody up to that line. She doesn't give people problems and make them feel bad. If something is bothering her she doesn't show it to everybody else. "
 
Arthur Hiller (director) said of Julie, "She's utter perfection. She's got great compassion - on the screen and off."

 

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