The Americanization of Emily - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Americanization of Emily Reviews

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½ March 3, 2019
4.5/5
This one of the most startlingly cynical films about war imaginable, more than I would have ever expected from 1964. But I shouldn't be surprised - there was far less mythmaking then. The country had millions of WW II veterans, who not only knew about war, but knew about the bullshit associated with war and military service. They made a bestseller out of this novel, and made this a hit movie. My dad was one of them, and he loved films that belittled the glories of war. This film could never be made today. A dramedy about a sailor who believes in the church of cowardice? Who blames war on ordinary people who insist on hero-worship, thus inspiring generation after generation to aspire to martyrdom? Absolutely unthinkable.
Francois Truffaut allegedly claimed that there could never be a true anti-war film. This movie stands as a testament against that notion. There's a scene early on where Lt. Cmdr Madison (James Garner, in his favorite role) is having tea with his new girlfriend Emily (Julie Andrews) and her mother (Joyce Grenfell). It's brutal, and left my jaw hanging. When it starts, the mother is still delusional, believing her husband, son and son-in-law are still alive, when they've all been killed by the war in some fashion. By the end, Garner has destroyed her protective self-deception with spectacular speech making, as only the brilliant Paddy Chayefsky could have written. A mere portion:
"I don't trust people who make bitter reflections about war, Mrs. Barham. It's always the general with the bloodiest records who are the first to shout what a hell it is. It's always the war widows who lead the Memorial Day parades...We shall never end wars, Mrs. Barham, by blaming it on the ministers and generals, or warmongering imperialists, or all the other banal bogeys. It's the rest of us who build statues to those generals and name boulevards after those ministers. The rest of us who make heroes of our dead and shrines of our battlefields. We wear our widow's weeds like nuns, Mrs. Barham, and perpetuate war by exalting its sacrifices."
Julie Andrews eventually adopts much of his attitude, and later in the film there is this exchange:
Mrs. Barham: ...They're going to put up a monument on his grave.
Emily Barham: What on earth for? All he did was die. Dear me, we shall be celebrating cancer and automobile smash-ups next.
Lt. Cmdr. 'Bus' Cummings: [fervently] He didn't just die, Emily. He sacrificed his life.
Mrs. Barham: That was very pagan of him.
Lt. Cmdr. 'Bus' Cummings: He was the first American to die on Omaha Beach.
Emily Barham: Was there a contest?
Try to present that kind of dialogue today in a movie. Not happening, even though WW II was a far more righteous fight than any conflict since then. If we don't stop glorifying military service after thousands of veteran suicides, we never will. But don't forget to stand and applaud during the Memorial Day parade when the veterans march by, in between the Shriner clowns and the local girl's dance ballet troupe. You'll put a smile on the face of whoever is planning the next war.
January 26, 2019
The best comedy romance movie ever made!
December 8, 2018
I just find the descriptive blurb used for this film on the site's using the word's "somehow distasteful" to be just...wrong. It is an adult's film with an adult viewpoint. Is it distasteful in is clear-eyed view of f
the hypocrisies we somehow, all of us, maintain and hold up, as we make our way in a world that we often have little control of except for our little corner in time and space, and sometimes not even that?

It's a sharp film, shatply directed, sharply performed.
½ July 10, 2018
A dark screwball comedy about the absudity of "dying for your country". Several good little speeches mixed into farcical situations.
June 9, 2018
An all-time great. Paddy Chayefsky at his best. Script based "loosely" on the novel of the same name.
½ September 10, 2016
"It's the VIRTUE of war that's the fraud, not war itself." A unique little lost gem about legacy, war and death. The way language and sexuality are utilized to portray seemingly modern ideas on the effects of warfare must've been fairly controversial at the time. However, the dialogue and performances from Andrews to Garner to Coburn pop off the screen in fully old-fashioned screwball fashion. "I want you to remember that the last time you ever saw me, I was unregenerately eating a Hershey bar."
August 30, 2016
Did not seem to know what kind of movie it wanted to be, romantic, comedy, drama, war flick?
July 26, 2016
One of my all time favorite movies. Outstanding characters and plot so well crafted, it got completely stolen for the beginning of Edge Of Tomorrow. A Brilliant film that "introduced" Julie Andrews (and an incredible cast to boot).
March 4, 2016
Wonderful movie with an incredible cast and unbelievable screenplay
½ February 16, 2016
A fun and entertaining romantic comedy.
August 13, 2015
Despite the title the film really has little to do with the love story or Julie Andrew's Emily. It's mostly James Garner's film as his cowardly aid does everything in his power to avoid seeing combat. The broad topic of this film seems more like the sort of thing you'd expect from the '60s or '70s counter-culture movement as we're expected to sympathize with the idea that war is immensely stupid and celebrating heroes a travesty. It would have fitted better if it had been in Korea or Vietnam and could easily have stood alongside MASH or Good Morning Vietnam. As it stands it's their older, slightly frizzier big brother.
April 26, 2015
Awful, awful, awful, a lousy movie that takes it's self much to seriously garner and Andrews must be totally regret that they were a part of this mess
March 12, 2015
Interesting and cynical movie about war. Reminds me a little of Billy Wilder, specifically the characters of Stalag 17. Good script.
½ February 17, 2015
Great politics for its time. This is a real ass movie, buncha truth bombs about war, politics, glory and sentimentality. The only downside is that Charlie's the only real 3D character in the film. Even Emily is pretty flat... Though she gets better by the end.
November 15, 2014
James Garner's favorite film that he made. James Garner was a real life Korean War Veteran and Purple Heart Winner and this was in it's own way an Anti-War Film. A strong statement from a generation of men who served in war.
July 31, 2014
An excellent sort of dark comedy set in the days leading up to and during D-Day. Garner is totally perfect as the wise cracking, sarcastic laid back naval officer. He is more interested in finding hard to find commodities and taking care of the Admiral than fighting any war. The writing is excellent, Julie Andrews is great as Garner's love interest and Coburn and Douglas are also great in supporting roles. The last thirty minutes are wonderfully ironic and just perfect.
July 28, 2014
James Garner gives his best speeches and Julie Andrews falls in love. What a great film.
July 28, 2014
James Garner and Julie Andrews are great in this satire about WWII. It gave a different perspective to what war is. Great acting, screen play, and photography. Wish it had been in color since it was made in 1964.
½ July 26, 2014
When you think of movie genres "anti-war comedy's" rarely comes to mind. I believe it's the only one I have ever seen and I surprised to see this kind of movie from this time period. This film is intensely philosophical and not subtle about it at all. Direct and frank conversations about the value of war and the solder are plentiful along with longwinded monologues. This can be a tricky thing to pull off in a film without sounding preachy or coming off unrealistic, but this movie makes it work within the context of the story. It stars James Garner as Lt. Cmdr. Charles Edward Madison who took a job as a kind of navy publicist when he realized how hard fighting actually was. Weather he came up with his anti-war rationalization out of cowardice or if he actually believes his own rap is left up to the viewer to decide. This is one of Julie Andrews first films and only black and white film. I always found her to be too matronly to be attractive but in this movie I found her very beautiful. There are also a few elements of this film that reminded me of Casablanca, a man who is only out for himself who has his selfish believes tested for a greater good. James Codburn plays Lt. Cmdr. Paul 'Bus' Cummings, Garners eventual counterpoint, a man whose face could be a star trek alien without any prosthetics. I think the biggest problem with this film is the title, look past it because it's very misleading and has nothing to do with "Americanization".
July 20, 2014
Maybe the best peace movie ever made highlighted by soliloquies by Garner about war and love. Original footage spliced in ingenious ways to show the folly of the pursuit of war.
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