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The Americanization of Emily

October 27, 2013

by John Farr

John Farr discusses Julie Andrews’ war film, directed by Arthur Hiller.

The Americanization of Emily (1964)

What It’s About:
Officer Charlie Madison (James Garner) has a dream job in World War II catering to the luxurious needs of a two-star admiral (Melvyn Douglas). He advocates for cowardice and survival, but when he meets Emily Barham (Julie Andrews), a principled English war widow, she challenges his self-serving outlook. The two still fall helplessly in love, but will the war keep them together or split them up?

Why I Love It:
Written by the gifted Paddy Chayefsky, this is one of the sharper anti-war satires out there. Both leads are solid, with Andrews particularly impressive in her first non-singing role. Veterans Douglas and James Coburn (as Charlie’s womanizing fellow officer) almost steal the movie, however. Fall in love with “Emily”, a touching and engrossing film with something to say.

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