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From "Pentimento," the memoirs of late playwright Lillian Hellman, JULIA covers those years in the 1930s when Lillian attained fame with the production of her first play "The Children's Hour" on Broadway. Not surprisingly, it centers on Lillian's relationship with her lifelong friend, Julia. It is a relationship that goes beyond mere acquaintance and one for which the word "love" seems appropriate. While Julia attends the University in Vienna, studying with such luminaries as Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein, Lillian suffers through revisions of her play with her mentor and sometimes lover Dashiell Hammett at a New England beach house. After becoming a celebrated playwright, Lillian is invited to a writers' conference in Russia. Julia, having taken up the battle against fascism, enlists Lillian to smuggle money through Nazi Germany which will assist in the Anti-Fascist cause. It is a dangerous mission especially for a Jewish intellectual on her way to communist Russia. During a brief... Written by
Mark Fleetwood <email@example.com>
Fred Zinnemann's last great movie. Based on part of Lillian Hellman's memoir, the film stars Jane Fonda as Hellman as she recounts her friendship with the enigmatic JULIA, played by Vanessa Redgrave. Fonda is a bit too pretty to be entirely convincing as the homely Hellman, but she gives a gutsy performance, playing well with Redgrave and, to a greater degree, Jason Robards, who plays Dashell Hammett. Alvin Sargent's screenplay cleverly bends time, jumping back and forth as the story of Hellman's friendship with Julia is told. Zinnemann creates a melancholy feel that's sustained throughout. The movie has a deliberate pace not usually allowed in Hollywood. The excellent music by Georges Delerue is haunting and the cinematography by the under-appreciated Douglas Slocombe is beautiful. The supporting cast features Maximillian Schell, Cathleen Nesbitt as Julia's grandmother, Meryl Streep, Rosemary Murphy as Dorothy Parker and Hal Holbrook as Parker's husband Alan Campbell. They're all terrific with the exception of Holbrook, who tries to convey a witty raconteur, but only makes Campbell out to be a real jerk.
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