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This Oscar-winning drama, based on the writing of Lillian Hellman, depicts the relationship between two friends and its unexpected consequences. After Lillian, a renowned playwright, reunites in Russia with her childhood playmate Julia, the writer is recruited to smuggle funds into Germany to aid the anti-Nazi movement. Waiting in the wings is Lillian's lover and mentor, Dashiell Hammett, who is unaware of her dangerous assignment.Written by
During the casting process, both Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave's names were mentioned as possible stars for the film. The producers initially vetoed both actresses on the advice of the publicity department, fearing that the absolute worst option would be to cast Fonda and Redgrave, both of whom were known for their outspoken political beliefs, in a film together. In the end, of course, both actresses were cast and the film went on to great critical and box office success. See more »
June 1934 began on a Friday, not a Monday. See more »
Just cast an eye at the credits (Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Robards, Maximillian Schell, Hal Holbroke, Meryl Streep, John Glover and others directed by Fred Zinneman in a story by Lillian Hellman) and you know this film is worth seeing. It delivers fabulous performances by some of the best actors of our time, in a carefully -- yeah, sumptuously -- produced film directed by one of Hollywood's most respected veterans, based on a narrative by a gifted dramatist and tale-spinner.
The screenplay blends the two longest episodes in Lillian Hellman's PENTIMENTO, the third, most engaging, and most imaginative of her memoirs. It traces the (largely factual) struggle of Hellman to develop her talents as a playwright under the tutelage of her long-time lover, Dashiell Hammett, and the (largely fictional) course of her friendship with an anti-Nazi activist. The character of Julia seems to be part fantasy, part composite of women Hellman admired.
The film suffers from this blend of fact and fiction and even more from the episodic nature of the intermixed stories. In addition (and to its credit), it does not minimize Hellman's famously abrasive personality. But the characters are so compelling, the performances so outstanding, and the pacing so canny that it holds the viewer's interest for a full two hours.
A flawed but fascinating flick!
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