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The Americanization of Emily Reviews

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EightThirty .

Super Reviewer

February 8, 2010
09/02/2010 (ONLINE)

I really had no idea what was going on for a while, but I held on and allowed myself to get in tune with the flavor. Although this is not my cup of tea, I must say it was quite a treat.

The characters are quite enjoyable and when you begin to understand the style and blends of humorous tones you start laughing a little harder and the appreciation begins to reveal how amazing this film actually is!

This is, I would say is a "Romantic Comedy". I loved James Coburn's performance, he really draws light to the film making the experience of viewing this film that much better.

Watching this has definitely kindled an interest in me for Silver Screen movies. This new fondness will lead me in considering more movies like this. Black and White.
July 20, 2014
Maybe the best peace movie ever made highlighted by soliloquies by Garner about war and love. Original footage spliced in ingenious ways to show the folly of the pursuit of war.
February 20, 2009
Emily Barham: I believe in honor, service, courage, and fair play, and cricket, and all the other symbols of British character. Which have only civilized half the world!
Lt. Cmdr. Charles E. Madison: You British plundered half the world for your own profit, let's not pass it off as the age of enlightenment.

A wonderful film that balance love with war and motivates the coward. The dialogue is well written. The movie is well acted.
November 25, 2007
Hilarious movie. The situation these two put themselves into is incredibly funny. James Coburn is great.
November 25, 2007
I find myself in a general malaise for lack of decent acting. Yes, 99% I want the cheesiest, most horrid celluloid monster I can find. But sometimes, I need fine acting and all together no special effects. This is a film that delivers on this. James Garner and co. put on an amazing performance. This was back in a time here acting was what was done sometimes. I miss it. Funny film. Funny plot. Great acting. I suggest it to anyone who likes older movies.
July 28, 2014
James Garner gives his best speeches and Julie Andrews falls in love. What a great film.
July 28, 2014
James Garner and Julie Andrews are great in this satire about WWII. It gave a different perspective to what war is. Great acting, screen play, and photography. Wish it had been in color since it was made in 1964.
July 26, 2014
When you think of movie genres "anti-war comedy's" rarely comes to mind. I believe it's the only one I have ever seen and I surprised to see this kind of movie from this time period. This film is intensely philosophical and not subtle about it at all. Direct and frank conversations about the value of war and the solder are plentiful along with longwinded monologues. This can be a tricky thing to pull off in a film without sounding preachy or coming off unrealistic, but this movie makes it work within the context of the story. It stars James Garner as Lt. Cmdr. Charles Edward Madison who took a job as a kind of navy publicist when he realized how hard fighting actually was. Weather he came up with his anti-war rationalization out of cowardice or if he actually believes his own rap is left up to the viewer to decide. This is one of Julie Andrews first films and only black and white film. I always found her to be too matronly to be attractive but in this movie I found her very beautiful. There are also a few elements of this film that reminded me of Casablanca, a man who is only out for himself who has his selfish believes tested for a greater good. James Codburn plays Lt. Cmdr. Paul 'Bus' Cummings, Garners eventual counterpoint, a man whose face could be a star trek alien without any prosthetics. I think the biggest problem with this film is the title, look past it because it's very misleading and has nothing to do with "Americanization".
David B.
July 3, 2014
An enjoyable anti-war movie,good acting, especially from Garner and Coburn.
February 22, 2012
Paddy Chayefsky has never been more despicable yet more poignant in this underappreciated wartime farce.
Dave J
April 9, 2014
Wednesday, April 9, 2014

(1964) The Americanization Of Emily

Adapted from the 'novel' written by William Bradford Huie, which viewers have to adapt their brains to the James Garner character who's job description is what the US army would call a 'dog-runner'. He plays a Lt. Cmdr. Charles Edward Madison, who works as an intern for top admirals, which 'dog runners' provide them with whatever they want, whether it'll be girls, food or liquor etc... and it just happens to be somewhere on England too. One of the major problems I had was that, I had a hard time trying to figure out whether it was set during WWII, or did it take place right after it, since many references were being made throughout without grasping it's actual time frame, for it made many suggestions. And by the time it reached more than the half way mark, that was when I finally was able to tell that the time this film was based on was right before D-Day. The second problem is that the top admiral, played by Melvyn Douglas appears to be, too laid back for my tastes. I mean, to document a movie is one thing, but to send thousands to their deaths is another.

At the beginning, viewers get to subject themselves to see how a 'dog-runner' operates- not just an introductory description about what they do, before Charles begins to fall in love with a volunteer war widow, Emily(Julie Andrews). And it complicates matters even more, when Charlie's admiral wanted him to film the very first sailor/ soldier to set foot on Omaha Beach, even though Charles himself has no known army training experience, nor know anything about film making, except that he does know how to act like a complete coward, which was why he liked being a 'dog runner' in the first place.

Because it's based on something that is made up, it's still quite entertaining because of the likable cast of James Garner, Julie Andrews, Melvyn Douglas as the Admiral William Jessup, and James Coburn as Cahrles best friend "Bus". Like 'Saving Private Ryan', 'From Here To Eternity' and 'MASH' and many others, it's just another one of those movies with an actual set up, with a fictional story built into it.

3 out of 4 stars
April 7, 2014
Great film--don't listen to the "critics." Great music, humor, script, satire of war--it's all carried out magnificently! '"Nuff said," said the non-critic!
November 16, 2012
Some great dialog exchange and where the last act of this movie goes is pretty surprising.
July 17, 2012
The Rotten Tomato description isn't quite accurate. It's somewhat of an anti-war movie, a satire, an attempt to cast Julie Andrews in an adult role. Clever screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky-- includes Garner's bizarre monologue defending cowardice.
FilmGrinder S.
October 3, 2011
"Don't show me how profitable it'll be to fall in love with you, Charlie. Don't Americanize me." Emily Barham (Julie Andrews)

Love the message and has a good cast (James Coburn, Keenan Wynn and such). To me, its a mix between CATCH 22 and FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS.
Monsieur Rick
February 6, 2010
A cynical American Naval officer first clashes with and then falls in love with his idealistic British driver who is a war widow. After convincing her to enjoy life and stop being so altruistic, he... A cynical American Naval officer first clashes with and then falls in love with his idealistic British driver who is a war widow.

After convincing her to enjoy life and stop being so altruistic, he is selected by the Navy's PR machine to become "the Unknown Sailor," the first man to die landing at Normandy on D-Day, a death that will prove that the Navy can't be equaled, especially by the Army, in bravery. A sometimes brilliant script by Paddy Chayevsky elevates this one well above the normal fare. Starring: Julie Andrews, James Garner, Melvyn Douglas, James Coburn---------RT

Ok, so now you know the storyline. This is an anti-war film which chooses comedy to make its point. The main job of this naval officer is to supply his superiors with creature comforts, including girls.

Didn't find this "hilarious" at all (as described on the dvd jacket. It was mildly humourous, if that.) James Garner and James Coburn fans will be pleased as these two dominate most of the film. MASH, the movie and tv series was far more sarcastic about war than this film could ever hope to be. But I guess for its day it was supposed to be a statement. Dr. Strangelove was of the same era and was obviously more potent in that respect.

But I must admit this...... James Garner and Julie Andrews make a very handsome couple. Besides, I like both of them.

Got to know NOTES about the film:

1 Both James Garner and Julie Andrews consider it their favorite of the films they appeared in.

2 The film was nominated for two Academy Awards:

Academy Award for Best Art Direction - (George W. Davis, Hans Peters, Elliot Scott, Henry Grace, Robert R. Benton)

Academy Award for Best Cinematography - (Philip H. Lathrop)

BAFTA Award for Best Actress - (Julie Andrews)

3 The screenplay's theme of cowardice as a virtue has no parallel in the novel; in fact, the novel does not mention cowardice at all.

4 The screenplay implies, but never explicitly explains what is meant by the term "Americanization." The novel uses "Americanized" to refer to a woman who accepts, as a normal condition of wartime, the exchange of her sexual favors for gifts of rare wartime commodities.

5 Sharon Tate, a small bit in the film, was brutally murdered in what later became known as the Sharon Tate Murders. A very sad thing.


James Garner as Lt. Cmdr. Charles E. "Charlie" Madison
Julie Andrews as Emily Barham
Melvyn Douglas as Admiral William Jessup
James Coburn as Lt. Cmdr. Paul "Bus" Cummings
Joyce Grenfell as Mrs. Barham
Keenan Wynn as Old Sailor
Edward Binns as Admiral Thomas Healy
Liz Fraser as Sheila
William Windom as Captain Harry Spaulding
John Crawford as Chief Petty Officer Paul Adams
Douglas Henderson as Captain Marvin Ellender
Edmon Ryan as Admiral Hoyle
Steve Franken as Young Sailor
Alan Sues as Petty Officer Enright

Sharon Tate had an uncredited role as "Beautiful Girl".

Directed by Arthur Hiller
Produced by Martin Ransohoff
Written by William Bradford Huie (novel)
Paddy Chayefsky (screenplay)

Music by Johnny Mandel
Cinematography Philip H. Lathrop
Christopher Challis
Editing by Tom McAdoo

Distributed by MGM
Release date(s) 27 October 1964

Running time 115 minutes
Andrew K.
November 2, 2010
A wonderful surprise of a film. I never heard about it before, watched on TCM based solely on the star power. In the film, James Garner is a provider for high-ranking US brass in England during WWII. He plans parties. Julie Andrews is invited as a companion and falls for Garner while watching him work. Garner, who is opposed to war, finds himself on the front lines on D-Day.

Basically, I could listen to James Garner and Julie Andrews talk all day. I love their voices! There is some great, witty banter throughout the film. The character development of Garner's character is amazing. Despite all of the comedy, there is great dramatic moment and themes throughout. Highly recommended, especially if you can appreciate good writing.
December 9, 2009
Cowardice as Virtue

We as a nation don't seem to remember that there was any war between Pearl Harbor and D-Day. The Attack on America is always the part which captures the imagination. We forget that there was war in quite a lot of the world long since; the UK and France declared war in 1939, with the invasion of Poland, and Poland was not the first country invaded. Indeed, quite a lot of people are actually taught that the war began in 1941, not that it's when the US entered the war. However, Poland and so forth don't even count--how many people do you think realized pre-[i]Schindler's List[/i] that Auschwitz (and, my, we're talking about it a lot this week) was in Poland, not Germany? However, there is mention of Anzio, one of the battles in Italy, and at least one of the characters here spent time in the Pacific before coming to Europe and the tame part of the war in the UK before D-Day. Indeed, our main character tells of having been at Guadalcanal before realizing that he didn't actually want to be there and taking the safe job he'd been offered as an admiral's aide.

Our main character is Charlie Madison (James Garner), more formally Lieutenant Commander Charles Edward Madison. He works as a dog-robber, a man whose job it is to procure whatever it is which will come in handy for his admiral. He has a room full of chocolate, alcohol, and on and on, including dresses for the women he procures as well. One day, he encounters the titular Emily (Julie Andrews), war widow Emily Barham. She's prim, and her husband died a very short time after leaving her for battle. Charlie woos her, and they fall in love. Now, this whole time, he's quite open about the fact that he's a coward. He's seen war,and he has no intention of ever seeing it that close-up again so long as he lives. However, his admiral, Admiral William Jessup (Melvyn Douglas), in an attempt to promote the glory of the Navy, decides that the first man on Omaha Beach must be a sailor, indeed, the first man to die on Omaha Beach must be a sailor, and Charlie must be there to film it.

Really, though, Charlie isn't a coward. He thinks he is, and he tells people he is, but he really isn't. Not wanting to storm the beach at Normandy is not cowardice. It's intelligence. Guadalcanal was a horrible, messy, bloody business. No man who had been there could have illusions left about the glory of war, or at least you'd hope. Not only that, but Omaha wasn't much better. It wouldn't take a military genius to tell that it wouldn't be. No one with any sense would want to face all that. There are perfectly legitimate reasons for doing so, but because you want to is not a sign of bravery, it's a sign of suicidal tendencies. He doesn't see value in the whole business--presumably, were he to know about the Nazi atrocities, he would. On the other hand, the stories of German atrocities during the first war had turned out to be exaggerated at best. He's right, too, that it was a two thousand-year history of infighting and generic barbarism which led to the invasion at Normandy in the first place, and he's right that glory wasn't much consolation to the widows.

He's also right that Emily has a lot of nerve talking about the vices of the Americans. Yeah. America had a lot of things, even during the war, that the UK did not. However, there weren't a lot of Hershey bars being made in 1944. The average American was not living the life of an admiral; I suspect the average British admiral was living a slightly higher life than the average citizen as well. The war in Europe wasn't our war; we realistically had our hands pretty full in the Pacific even yet. And, yes, the US has always had a culture based on acquisition, but on the other hand, the first British colonies on the mainland were established in an attempt to get some of the gold being acquired by the Spanish. It also must have put a great burden on the UK to feed and house that many additional people in the days leading up to the invasion. However, Lend-Lease must have been terribly helpful in the days before the US entered the war, and that was forced through over the isolationism of the time.

So what is Emily's Americanization? She lightens up on the evils of American culture, for starters, seeing some of the positive aspects as well as the negative. She also moves away some from the stiff upper lip position on war. She sees the virtue in Charlie's stance on war, and she sees the necessity for what he must become. She is more open in general, more affectionate. Oh, she still does what she has to do, and in some ways, she leads to the Britishization of Charlie and even some of those around him. However, Charlie is not made different by her Britishness per se. It's that he's falling in love with her. His best friend, Bus--Lieutenant Commander Paul Cummings (James Coburn)--goes through three different girls over the course of the film, one of them Sharon Tate, and it's implied that, under normal circumstances, Charlie would, too. But at least half the women are British, and they're not exactly monogamous, either, and it's doubtful the male British servicemen are, either. Charlie has fallen in love, and love changes everyone, regardless of situation or nationality.
May 1, 2009
This excellent film combines humor and drama in ways I've never seen before. Far from heavyhanded in either department, its notable trait is a kind of circular irony that runs through the film, becoming even more profound in the film's final scenes. James Garner plays a man whose ideal is cowardice and self-service. Julie Andrews is magnificent as Emily. The movie is well written. It is a good film that mixes humor, drama, and war.
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