Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Americanization of Emily

James Garner and Julie Andrews in The Americanization of Emily
This blog has been going for nearly three months now and I haven't yet said anything about its namesake -- the 1964 film starring Julie Andrews and James Garner (who also starred together in Victor Victoria). This was the same year, incidentally, that Mary Poppins was released -- a busy year for our Julie. The film is a romantic comedy with a clear anti-war message. Julie Andrews, as usual, acts everyone else off the screen.

Although filmed in black and white, which gives it a 1940s wartime feel, the film is very much a film of its time -- the 1960s. It lacks the propaganda attitude that a typical 1940s film would have ("We're all in this together," and "Self-sacrifice is necessary for the good of our respective countries and the war effort"). Instead, the hero (James Garner) is a self-confessed coward who wants to live out the war safely away from the front line. The love-interest (Julie Andrews) encourages this because she'd rather have a live coward than a dead hero. Although Garner's character claims cowardice as his religion, he is painted as less cowardly and more just sensible in not wanting to put himself in mortal danger.

By the way, for a similar view of war (albeit a different war), you might be interested in watching Blackadder Goes Forth. In fact, if you haven't seen any Blackadders yet, your homework is to start at the beginning and watch them all in order, including Blackadder's Christmas Carol and Blackadder Back and Forth. It is essential watching for the "How to be British" curriculum and I will expect 2000 words on it by Monday.


Lorraine said...

I've never seen the film, although I was familiar with it. I'll have to put it on Netflix. Is it appropriate for a 12 year old or strictly grownups?

Viola said...

As far as I remember, it has verbal references to sex, some bedroom scenes that don't show much, little to no bad language and little to no violence. I think that it probably is OK for a 12 year old.