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The Group (1966) Poster

(1966)

Trivia

Joan Hackett's film debut.
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Hal Holbrook's first film.
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Candice Bergen's first film.
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The college scenes were shot at Connecticut College for Women in New London Connecticut. The book was somewhat autobiographical about Mary McCarthy and her friends who went to Vassar College. In 1969 both colleges went coed and began to admit men.
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As the most professionally established of the young actresses cast in the film, Shirley Knight was offered her choice between the two largest roles, those of Polly and Kay.
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Baruch Lumet (Mr. Schneider) was the father of the director Sidney Lumet.
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Julie Christie turned down the role of Lakey.
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Producer Charles K Feldman reputedly spent $500k for the film rights.
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This was Polly Rowles's last film until Power (1986), which was likewise directed by Sidney Lumet, 20 years later.
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Dottie Renfrew was born in 1910.
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Kay Strong and Harald Peterson were married on June 10, 1933.
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Stephen Crockett was born on December 26, 1936.
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Joan Hackett (Dottie Renfrew Latham) and Richard Mulligan (Dick Brown) were married in real life from 1966 to 1973.
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In 1933, Dottie Renfrew (Joan Hackett) tells Dick Brown (Richard Mulligan) that she is the oldest member of the group at 23. In reality, Hackett was the oldest of the eight actresses to play one of the members of the titular group, having been born in 1934.
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The film takes place from June 1933 to May 1940.
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George Gaynes' first film.
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Joanna Pettet's first film.
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Longstanding rumor has suggested that producer Charles Feldman, having already bought the film rights to Mary McCarthy's novel in advance of publication, made sure it would be a best-seller by sending employees to bookstores all over America to buy up numerous copies of it. The prestige accruing to the book allowed him and Sidney Lumet to make the film with unknown actors and without too much interference.
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With a budget of $2,600,000, this was the most expensive film to be made in New York to that time.
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The making of this film was the subject of a notorious long article written by the critic Pauline Kael, who was present throughout the shooting and who attacked almost every aspect of the film, accusing the leading actresses of being pretentious and snobbish, the director of being incompetent and a fool and the screenplay of being a travesty of what Mary McCarthy had written about. At no point did she address the obvious question arising from her remarks (how good was the finished film?), perhaps because she (years later) conceded that it had turned out quite well and that she had enjoyed it. The essay is included in her collection, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang".
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Sidney Lumet accepted to directed the film purely on the basis of Sidney Buchman's screenplay, which he praised highly and to which (so he claimed) he made no alterations. He did not read Mary McCarthy's novel until later and was dismissive of it, saying the screenplay had improved upon it.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Although her death was an accident, the authorities erroneously believe that Kay Strong Latham (Joanna Pettet) killed herself by jumping out the window of her apartment. On June 10, 1987, Elizabeth Hartman (Priss Hartshorn Crockett) committed suicide in this fashion.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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